Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I never make a mistake in the kitchen. Everything I try comes out perfectly. Bunnies and birdies perch nearby to admire everything I do. World famous chefs have me on speed-dial so that they can beg for my assistance (Heidi, PLEASE, you have to tell me how you made that lovely soup!). And if you believe all of this, I have some lovely waterfront property to sell you.
In reality, I am a largely self-taught cook, challenging myself to learn and try new things. Astonishingly often things work out, and I bask in the joy of my friends and family as they enjoy what I cook. But then there are the other times, those times when I wish I could order out, or cry, or both. You know what I mean if you have ever tried to learn anything new, or even if you have done something perfectly nine hundred ninety nine times, only to have the thousandth time flop. I would like nothing better than to enroll my failures in the witness protection program, but then this wouldn’t be a blog, and would instead be a brag.
Today was one of those days when things didn’t go according to plan. I have been baking scratch cakes for a few months, with homemade chocolate butter-cream icing. The cakes have been received with raves, as they are all-natural, moist, etc. Tonight we have a friend coming over for her birthday cake (her Birthday was earlier this week, but this was the night we could get together). I am serving homemade lasagna, home-baked bread/garlic toast, iced tea, and cake. Everything seems to be rolling along, until. I ran out of powdered sugar and was just a bit short for the icing. I panic, breath, then go to my friend the internet. I found and followed the instructions to powder sugar in your blender, and there is where things go a little bit wrong.
Most of what I have in my kitchen fall in to three categories.
1. Spectacular items that we have managed to purchase.
2. Items that are not intended for the uses that they are called upon to fulfill, but somehow we muddle through (I often refer to this as MacGyver-ing).
3. Absolute crap. Something that was supposed to be wonderful, but is not.

My blender falls under that third description. There is no love lost on either side. For one thing it is loud... seriously loud. I literally wear a pair of foam ear plugs and a set of gun range ear protection to use this thing. It also doesn’t really work that well. I have to tilt the entire blender back and forth to get it to actually pull ingredients into the blades. (If anyone ever makes a video of me using this thing, I will probably have to apply for Canadian citizenship, but I am sure it is quite a picture.) Anyway, I gave it a go, and it seemed to be okay. That is of course until I tried the icing. Imagine fine grain beach sand, if that sand could actually melt to taste good. That is this icing. I am hoping that the moisture from the icing will reduce the grainy texture, given enough time. To this end, I am hoping to stall dessert for a while, LOL.
I actually didn’t have to work to stall dessert. The lasagna and fresh bread garlic toast (firsts and seconds) gave the icing some time to improve. It did, but it was still not as smooth as usual. That said, everyone seemed to enjoy it anyway, but my pride still took a small hit. (I am often told that I am my own worst critic, but I always want to give my very best for friends and family.) Ah well, lessons learned:
1. Don’t run out of powdered sugar (or whatever ingredient is needed at the moment).
2. If I do run out, figure out a way to use a small appliance that cooperates more than the blender (or acquire a more cooperative blender).


stimpsonjcat said...

My advice, and this is really secondhand advice from my wife, is to not point out any perceived errors on your part until after the meal. My experience has been with stuff I've made in the forge, I see all sorts of warts and mistakes. But Jill convinced me finally to let other folks decide if it is 'good' or not.

Afterwards you can ask leading questions and see if your 'mistake' was detected or not.

Thistle said...

Good advice, and noted. It does seem to be easier said than done, no? I guess that it isn't all bad, though, since that little voice that wants perfection will always keep us pushing to do our best.