Let’s be honest. We all like to think that the stuff we produce in our kitchens will overwhelm our loved ones. We may even imagine accolades like “This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten!” or “You’re so talented!” or “Wow, how did you come up with this recipe?!” All wonderful, right?
Well, since I started writing MyDeliciousBlog I’ve received lots of great feedback and compliments, and I appreciate it all. One follower even said “Everything you cook comes out great.” Such a fantastic thing to hear! But as nice as that would be, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just ask my husband who, for the past ten years of our marriage has heard countless screams, crashes and “oh no!” proclamations from the kitchen. So, when it comes to kitchen disasters, I’m not immune. As a matter of fact, my list of disastrous results is long. Here are just a few that happened last month:
1) I forgot to put baking powder in a cake batter so it only rose one inch. I cringe thinking of the wasted eggs and butter!
2) I accidentally set an oven timer to 1.5 hours when it should have been 15 minutes. As I went about other tasks, I wondered why I was smelling burned cookies. . .
3) Thinking I was being smart and health conscious, I substituted wheat flour for all-purpose flour in a muffin recipe, without adjusting fat and liquid proportions. Those horrible balls of sawdust could have been used as baseballs in a pinch. Not surprising, my husband asked me never to make them again.
Usually, my husband is there to console or to coax me off the ledge. He usually says something like “It’s ok. No one died. You don’t have a terminal illness. You still have a happy life with a husband, family, friends and pets who love you, and the world won’t stop spinning just because this turkey didn’t turn out perfectly. And don’t forget that you’re doing something you love, so don’t take it so seriously.” Isn’t he great?
Truth be told, I do feel an immense sense of failure when a recipe doesn’t turn out as I had hoped. I’m sure I’m not alone. Julia Child once said “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” I still struggle with that but I’ve gotten better about acknowledging that I can’t have success without disasters, too. We all learn. We move on. It’s kind of like kissing a lot of frogs until you find a prince. Plus, as I regularly remind myself, cooking really is fun and it’s a way to express love for special people around us.
So, for those of you who have had lousy results in the kitchen lately, take solace. It’s just a blip in your culinary chapter and you’ll move on to bigger and better things, armed with a new tool in your toolkit.
And even if your dish isn’t perfect to serve (like a flat cake) AND you don’t like to throw away food (like me), maybe you can salvage the poor, pitiful thing. Consider chopping it up and slapping a label on it like “Emergency Only” and putting it in the freezer. “Emergency” could be defined as the moment you crave something sweet but there’s absolutely nothing available so you’re willing to eat a sub-standard cake! Pictured above is one such pitiful cake of mine, nestled between frozen peas and chicken. I know it will come in handy one of these days 🙂