Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kitchen Blunders, The Sequel

I'll have to admit that making mistakes, wherever you make them, has the potential to teach you something. It should, anyway. And I suppose that I have learned a few things as I've blundered along in the kitchen for 20+ years.

I have learned that omitting the seasoning in the homemade pizza sauce and then sprinkling dried oregano, garlic and basil on top (before the cheese) is a sacrilege. It doesn't work. You may as well scrape the pizza sauce off into a bowl and then mix in the seasonings. Trust me on this (Todd agrees, whole-heartedly).

A recipe printed on a box or package seldom goes well. Forget it. Betty Crocker is best for most things. The first meal I cooked for Todd was on the back of a pepperoni package and involved some kind of pasta. We both still shudder when this is spoken of. I am surprised he proposed to me, after this nightmare.

I completely forgot about the yearly pumpkin pie episodes! I know of at least two times I have forgotten to put eggs in the custard. One year (or two, maybe), I actually removed them from the oven, poured the too-thin batter back into a bowl, mixed in the eggs, poured the batter back into the pie tins and rushed them back into the oven. They survived. Then there was the time I went a bit heavy on the cloves - whew! Way too spicy. Another time, I put the pies in and Todd wanted to go driving, to look at the Christmas lights (we make our pumpkin pies for Christmas dinner). I thought it would be o.k. as long as we were back in half an hour. As we were driving, I started getting anxious about the pies and we finally returned home. The timer had plenty of time left on it but the pies were way too brown. Um, oh, yeah ... I was suppose to turn down the oven temp after 15 minutes. We foiled the pies and they turned out o.k. - once again. I don't think I've actually ever ruined my pies but I really don't want to push my luck. Someday, I may not fare so well.

I will say one thing in my defense - my pies usually do taste good. They often don't look very pretty but I do know how to crimp and, armed with Todd's paternal grandmother's recipe, my crust nearly always tastes good. I say this now but I just found out that I am expected to make the pies for Thanksgiving dinner at my mother-in-law's. My sister-in-law usually makes them but things have changed this year. I need to pray.

Let's see - when I was single, used to broil steak whenever I had to cook for someone, as most of my friends couldn't afford steak so it was a treat (I worked full-time while my friends all went to college). I nearly always caught the steak on fire. That was before the days of required smoke alarms in apartments. Good thing.

I know I've caught at least a few things on fire in our married life but I can't remember right now. Scary isn't it? Oh, and then there are the times that are completely out of my control. When we first moved to Oregon, we lived in a little old house built in 1949, with an oven to match. I swear it had a place to put wood in to heat with, it was so huge. Anyway, that old oven gave out on me right in the middle of baking Christmas cookies, either the first or second Christmas we lived here. I finished baking the cookies in our toaster oven. Fortunately, we were just about to head home to see family and Todd's grandmother had an oven she didn't need anymore. What a blessing that was. Another time, I was experimenting with baking scones (I sometimes crave scones) but I don't think I had made them before. Anyway, the oven element decided to fail, right in the middle of baking my scones. Bummer. I can't remember if it burned the scones or if we finished baking them after we went and got another element. I guess I subconsciously try to forget these things, small wonder why.

There are many more stories but I'm sure you've had enough (I know I have). Tonight, I watched my husband skillfully make perfect steak and sauteed mushrooms. Watching him cook is like watching a ballet. He is so confident. He makes it look so effortless. I used to be jealous of his kitchen ability but I am over that. Now I just appreciate it and thank God that I have Todd to rescue me in the kitchen.


Cate said...

Haha - my back up is a husband who can BBQ anything beautifully at the drop of a hat. Guess what we tend to eat most these days???

jugglingpaynes said...

I do think that cooking and baking is a talent just like anything else. I'm very good a baking and cooking but I stick to simple for the most part. Marina and Chase have been more daring lately. I had my first homemade scones courtesy of Marina and Chase and she have made crepes. These are things I was never tried because I figured they were too involved. And yet I can whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies without even measuring while Marina is still nervous about trying to make them!

A couple of good books to look for for the kids:
Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen
Disney's Ratatouille:What's Cooking?
I've also found many good recipes in the backs of picture books. If you are interested I'll send you the names of some. :o)

Peace and Laughter,

Mama Self said...

Oh- I constantly make mistakes in the kitchen which sometimes result in the inedible...but I keep trying. And Lee does all the grilling for our fam, as it looks a little daunting to me. :)

jugglingpaynes said...

Thanks for your comment! I wanted to answer your son's questions while they were fresh in my mind.

I have always drawn for as long as I can remember. The best way to learn to draw people is to practice, practice, practice. I remember Marina would take the department store catalogs and practice drawing the models. Use your pencil or finger to measure the head and see how that measurement relates to the width of the shoulders, arms, body length etc. When you look at people and things, try to observe the little details, like the shapes of eyes and hands. Work on separate parts as well as the whole image.

And don't feel discouraged if it doesn't come out exactly the way you picture it in your mind. Learn from what you did and decide what you would do different next time.

Kate, better buy a lot of pencils and paper. :o)

Hope I helped! If you have any more questions, feel free to email me!

Peace and Laughter,