try try again…

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Last night, as Robert and I polished off the last of the homemade chocolate chip cookies, he complimented me on my baking prowess.  I am not a professional baker by any means but I have mastered a handful of recipes through the years.  I’m not always successful in the kitchen.  In fact, I had three recipes fail in one weekend not too long ago.  But I try to learn from my mistakes and move on.  My skills have improved drastically since we first married.  In thinking about this, I decided to share a few of my favorite failure stories. These are not necessarily in chronological order but they all occurred sometime during the first year of our marriage.

Cornbread.  My mother often makes cornbread.  She shared her recipe with me and it is very simple.  I had even practiced with her a few times.  I failed to notice that the cornmeal in her recipe is self-rising.  The cornmeal I bought was not.  The finished product was not fluffy and light.  It was about a quarter of an inch thick and had the consistency of a gum eraser.  My precious new husband about chewed himself to death but he ate it anyway.  I had a similar experience with my Dad’s biscuits…he forgot to tell me to add the shortening.  More erasers…it took years before I tried bread again.

Pork chops.  I had another simple recipe for pan sauteed pork chops.  You brown the pork chops on both sides and add a few ingredients to make a sauce.  I didn’t even notice that I grabbed the soy sauce out of the refrigerator door instead of the Worcestershire.  The pork was so salty it made our lips pucker.  Once again Robert cleaned his plate without a word of complaint.

Cake.  The third major mishap occurred on Robert’s first birthday as a married man.  I got out our fancy new china, silver and table linens.  I invited our entire families and set out to make a yellow cake with chocolate icing.  The first mistake I made was waiting until the day of the party to make anything.  Then, I’m not sure what happened but, the cake stuck to the pan.  And not just a little bit – it ALL stuck.  I was flabbergasted.  Determined not to fail, I dug the cake out of the pan and glued it together with icing and toothpicks.  It looked great.  I thought I had made it out of the jungle.  That is, I thought I had made it until my new mother-in-law came to the table to help me serve the cake.  What a disaster.  The heaps of yellow and brown did taste good though!

My sweet husband was determined not to make me feel bad.  He ate some crap that first year.  Twelve and a half years later, there is no more pretending.  There is no meanness but there is no consumption of the inedible either!  Thanks to some good cookbooks and good advice I have become a decent cook.  Between the two of us, we fare pretty well.  I’m also happy to report that we ate cornbread for dinner tonight – this time it was perfect!