Some Thoughts from the little kitchen…

I love to eat and I love to share my cooking with my family and friends. As Emeril calls it, it's a food of love thing. I think I got the food of love thing from my Mom. When you go over to her house, she is always trying to feed you. Over the years, I have realized, I do the same thing. I remember being in college and my younger sister came over and she was pregnant. I kept pushing food on her like a drug dealer and drugs. I think I was making burgers and I tried to get her to eat more than two burgers.

Being a perfectionist is hard enough (and hard enough on the people around you) but when it comes to decorating cakes, cooking and baking…I'm a pretty big one. It's hard to tell yourself to just get over it when things aren't going right.

When I was in college, I had this master plan to bake banana bread for all of my co-workers during the holidays. First of all, I love banana bread and remember baking it in my 3rd grade class and how tasty and fun it was. We wrapped individual slices and brought them home. I bought tons of bananas and was going to quadruple the recipe. When I went to go put all of the ingredients together, I realized I didn't have baking powder. I thought I will just go ahead without it. BIG MISTAKE! When you're baking, you can't just go ahead without an ingredient. The result, I wasted a bunch of perfectly ripe bananas. The inside of the breads were uncooked and goopy and the tops were very brown and crusty.

I remember distinctly being really upset. I had this grand plan to bake this wonderful bread to give to my co-workers and it was a disaster! I remember calling my boyfriend (now my husband) and crying. I would then tell him I was fine and then proceed to call him back crying again.

Lessons learned:
Before starting any recipe, make sure you have every ingredient you'll need. When I make my grocery list, I make sure I go through every recipe I'm going to make to make sure I have it, if not, it goes on the list.

I recently had two kitchen disasters. I made enchiladas verde from America's Test Kitchen. I don't cook a lot with tomatillos so I went with the substitution the recipe suggested and made the recipe with canned tomatillos. It smelled really good and tasted good but by the end of my plate it started to not taste so good. The other thing about enchiladas verde is, it didn't look appealing. I think that might have been what it was. My husband said, you have to get over the fact that your food is a funny shade of green.

The other disaster was a garlicky shrimp pasta. My husband doesn't really like a lot of seafood but I really wanted to try this recipe. So much to his resistance, I tried it anyways. It started out fine but then I couldn't figure out how to get the sauce to thicken. The dish turned out really bland and didn't taste good at all. My dish didn't turn out as appealing looking as the picture in the recipe. Sometimes you follow the recipe exactly and it still doesn't come out right or doesn't taste appealing.

Often times, when I really want something to go well and it's not, I get really upset and really want my husband to at least try it. It's disappointing, you spent all of this money on the ingredients and have worked so hard on a meal. This is all after a long day at work, you just want the meal to go right. Sometimes I like it and he doesn't. This time, it wasn't the case, we both didn't like it and it turned into a Burger King night.

Lessons learned:

  • It's okay if it doesn't go right but just be wiling to admit it. My husband said the garlicky shrimp pasta night was a big night for me because I actually admitted that it wasn't going right.
  • Things aren't and can't always going to go perfect. Get over it and pick yourself up and try another recipe.

I think the majority of the recipes I have tried have gone well. My husband would rather me stick to a few dishes and have those over and over again. He has actually tried to discourage me from trying new recipes in the past (that is when they didn't go over very well). But I can't do that, I like to try new things.

How do I know when a dish has gone over well with my husband? He makes a second plate. How do I know a dish has gone over amazingly well? He asks me to make it again. Last night, I knew a chicken fried steak dish I recently tried to make (and I had never eaten it before) hands down went over well, he asked me to add it to the rotation of staple meals we like to have at least once a month.

I hope you'll try new things and hope you'll find inspiration when you're cooking or baking. If you have had kitchen disasters, don't let it discourage you. Try the tried and true recipes and gain confidence that way. If you know someone in your life who is a good cook, be it your mom or grandma or friend, ask them for help. And you can ask me for help!

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