Sunday, October 5, 2008

Betty Crocker I'm Not

If you had asked me a decade ago if I would ever say that I like to cook, the answer would have been a resounding NO! Yet, I've discovered over the past few years that I actually do. I love trying new recipes, using spices I've never tasted before, getting a reaction from my family about whether they like it. (And by my family, I mean Josh. Ethan likes pretty much nothing except cheese and quesadillas, Lauren's unpredictable, and David likes exactly 2 things I make. Yes, Joshua is my favorite.)

Lately my cooking has been going quite well; I have a batch of yeast dough rising in the fridge at the moment . . . my second in three days. As I was making the dough tonight, I was remembering some of my culinary attempts that went slightly awry, including my first attempt at said dough.

1. My first batch of yeast dough. When I was in law school my sister-in-law agreed to teach me how to make homemade dough. You'd think she would have learned after the disastrous attempt to teach me to sew when I was in college, but she's apparently pretty tenacious. So, she gave me the recipes with step-by-step instructions, one of which is to put the dough in the fridge to rise overnight in a large bowl covered with a dishtowel. I did exactly that. However, when I opened the fridge a little while later, the dishtowel no longer covered the massively expanding ball of dough. Dough was overflowing the bowl in every direction like a size 20 woman spilling out of a size 2 bathing suit. It kept growing . . . and growing . . . and growing. Turns out I left out the salt, which is apparently responsible for counter-acting the yeast so that the dough doesn't rise . . . and rise . . . and rise. It was useless for baking bread, but it was pretty fun as the world's larges glob of silly putty.

2. When I was in college I decided to bake a red velvet cake for a friend. The last step in making a red velvet cake is to add an entire 1 oz bottle of red food coloring. Unfortunately, food coloring and extracts come in very similar looking bottles. I poured into my cake batter an entire bottle of vanilla extract. I thought Vanilla Velvet Cake seemed like a brilliant idea what with the alliteration and all, but everyone else, not so much.

3. Another law school fiasco. Some family friends were in Va Beach with their son checking out the law school I attended. I invited them over for dinner and told them I was making some delicious vegetable soup. I think I built it up quite a bit telling them how good it would be. And then I served it. Oops. Forgot to put in ANY of the spices. Zip. Nada. None. Suffice it to say it was a little on the bland side. How does a person forget ALL of the spices?!

4. I can't tell you how many times I have cooked chicken, intending to make chicken soup and have accidentally drained the chicken by pouring all of the broth right down the drain . . . just before remembering it was supposed to be SOUP! Yes, many times.

5. David's one cooking attempt during our 8 years of marriage takes the cake. He was attempting mac-n-cheese . . . no, not the homemade kind, the Kraft in a blue box kind. He somehow neglected to notice the very crucial word "drain" in the instructions and proceeded to put the milk, butter, and cheese sauce in without draining the noodles! What's worse is that he INSISTED the instructions did not say drain. I had to dig the box out of the freakin' trash can to show him that it did. For some reason mac-n-cheese soup does not seem to have taken off as a culinary idea.

What about you? Any cooking fiascos to share with the world?

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