Tuesday, June 30, 2009

True Blue Trial and Error

Sometimes I wonder if I talk about my mistakes enough here.

Ok, I don't really talk about anything enough here lately but this is something I've been thinking about.

When I say "mistakes," I'm not talking about an extra glass of wine or three, an extra snooze button pounce or the odd typo when I've rushed something out. I mean the cook-and-eat variety. I mean that as someone who loves to cook and rarely repeats a recipe, it is inevitable that there be some doozies that I manage to just glaze over with a nutty brown butter. One time I think I mentioned the hand pie FAIL that brought me to midnight kitchen tears but that's been about it. I'm really flattered that some of you seem to think I'm mana-producing MENSA material...mais non.

I just love food.

I'm not terribly exact with measurements, my grandfather cannot even stand to watch the ugly way in which I peel potatoes, I still have a hard time getting all of a meal's components to finish at the same time and holy-dreams-of-sheba I am a MESS. A mess who HATES dishes and then becomes a mess with fruit flies.

A couple exceptions for your TKTC-deprecating pleasure:

Jacob Have I Loved Peppermint Bark
I was in a rush. I didn't let the dark chocolate cool in a thick enough layer and it made this unholy mess. Esau on the left and younger brother Jacob on the right, wherein I corrected my mistake. Only in this case vs the Biblical one, they both got the inheritance. If by "inheritance" you mean they were brought to a Christmas Cookie Exchange and eaten greedily. As mom says, "It all goes to the same place."

Banana Bread Canyon
Brand new loaf pans. A gift from Brother for Christmas. They are the nice ones. Insulated. Heavy. But my oven? It has an inferiority complex. It is an old and crusty oven that only likes other old and crusty things. Luckily many a phoenix has risen from those flames but this loaf of Bourbon Spiked Banana Bread? With the 70% bittersweet chocolate nibs? Not one of them. And since I couldn't gift this loaf as a gift and was out of flour? I ate the cooked bits around the corners with a JUMBO glass of milk. Sometimes mistakes are delicious and require a combination of sweat therapy and lettuce-mongering in penance.

Fully Dressed
Sometimes cooking mistakes are as simple as making sure the lid is on tight. The blender lid...the splash guard...the salad dressing tupperware top. That said, I wear it well, no?

Birthday Bubbly
Not all slip-ups happen in the privacy of Wicked Park. No, some are public. And almost fatal. On my 26th birthday I had the good fortune of being taken on a field trip for my birthday dinner. Molly and I headed to Avondale to try Urban Belly- a most buzzed about Korean haunt with communal seating, duck/foie gras dumplings and a generous BYO policy. It's my birthday and I get to drink whatever I want?! Kir Royale. That's what I want. So Mols pulls out a bottle of kirsch and I pull out a bottle of warm bubbly because my birthday doesn't mean I wasn't too busy to chill the champers. No matter- they gave us ice and the equivalent of juice glasses.

I've opened champagne. I've even opened champagne with some grace. I have lovely flutes to drink it out of. I'm a class act and it comes with the territory. Nothing says class like warm champagne cocktails over ice in plastic juice cups, n'est ce pas?

So I go to open the champagne and I wrap napkins around the top about seven layers deep. Then I twist and eaaasssyyyy....KABOOOOOOM! Shreds of paper napkin fly like confetti. Cork narrowly misses the head of an adolescent boy in the exact opposite corner of the restaurant. Opa.

Everyone was a wonderful sport. Even got some "Happy Birthday" salutations out of it. And the boy bestowed the cork on me with a pride not dissimilar to what I see in HoneyCat's eyes when she brings me one of my earrings.

Butter Blitzen
I know this looks like a nice enough picture. This is from my coworker Lauren's June baby shower with the lady herself and the divine Suzanne in the middle. Lauren is my first friend who I've seen regularly all the way through a pregnancy. In my hand you will see the item I make that is the single most requested recipe/contribution/bounty that I've produced. The brie cup.

Astoundingly simple, addictive to a fault and inciting riots at cocktail parties if you don't plan for double what you're currently thinking. I do wonder if this photo could somehow have been cuter. I'd worn a floor-length green cotton dress ot work with my cardigan that day and was feeling very sassy. Having prepped a pie and half of the cups the night before, I just needed to run home quickly to make the sauce before heading to the shower pictured above. I've done it easily a hundred times, this one was no different. Until, in my rush, I set the saucepan of honey-butter-garlic-parsley-walnut goodness on the kitchen table. Halfway. And it slowly but surely tumbled to the ground leaving me speechlessly COVERED in the glory. Whoops.

What brought this on?
The whole reason I started thinking about this was actually thanks to Lauren. Rather Lauren and Barrett, her now 5 day old golden boy of 8.5 pound perfection whom she brought into this world most heroically in my opinion. This is her first baby and it's got me thinking about the whole mom thing- I was fascinated by her entire pregnancy.

I know lots of moms. In fact, that number appears to increase by the hour these days. From what I understand, the first time is pretty much trial and error. Maybe the whole thing is that way but particularly the first one. I'm the oldest and I can confirm this at least from a reared perspective- first children are screamy little guinea pigs.

Bodily fluids will be places that organized society discourages, the undulations of simple breathing amplified to 11. What sounds like screaming to most of us, turns a new mom into a living, breathing Rosetta Stone capable of discerning every whimper into a communicated want or need. The blogosphere is loaded with tales of desperate times and desperate measures (OMG we are out of diapers and are left with nothing but trashbags and dried spaghetti). It's make it up as you go a lot of the time but mistakes are expected and often hilarious after the fact. I think it sounds like fun. I'm pretty content to keep to my side of the metaphor* for the moment but I'm excited for their little family. For the stories and the laughing...with Lauren in charge I know there will be both.


Bayjb said...

I'm always terrified about the blender top not being on tight enough. Seriously, I back away when I start it up, with my hand still firmly on it.

Molly McGuffin said...

GREAT POST! Cheers to the triumphant (slash intermittent) return of TKTC!!! A plus :)

Cheryl said...

Those mistakes must be why I don't cook or bake more...right that's it :) Congrats to Lauren. Whether cooking or child rearing, you always have to improvise.

Anonymous said...

OMG. I love this post. I forget to take pictures of my disasters, but in retrospect they're the funniest.

lbs said...

OMG!! You are so cute -- I just love you to pieces. Thanks for the shout out, it's so funny when I read "true blue" I thought how funny...since I'm obviously obsessed with blue. I love the bloopers, it makes me feel so much better about myself as I'm not a great cook. That's one of my goals in the next few weeks is to start making dinner for John. I'll def. let you kno whow it goes! THanks again for cheering me on. You are quite possibly the most fun cheerleader of my pregnancy/new-mom-hood EVER!!! Barrett and I give our love. PS I'll be planning a trip to the office in August so I'll make sure to check with you on your schedule when I do!