Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kitchen Failures and Getting Back on the Horse

It was everywhere -- the counter tops, my hands, my adorable white J. Crew fleece-lined hoodie, and the gobs of paper towels that were piled next to the stove. I felt like crying.

How could this liquefied blueberry mess be the same syrup I made three days ago? I thought as I helplessly watched the watery syrup soak through my whole grain pancakes. Hoping that my rapid-fire movements might prevent the syrup from spreading further, I began forking soggy bites of pancake into my mouth as quickly as possible. It was a futile quest. My chompers were no match for osmosis -- my dinner was ruined.

Of course, that didn't stop me from finishing it. And then a handful of almonds and small frozen chunk of the William's Sonoma "Blissful Brownies" I'd put in the freezer this past December.

By the time I made it over to my friend's apartment to watch "Friday Night Lights" at 9:15 pm, I felt completely disgusted. This was not how the night was supposed to happen. We were supposed to order in Indian food -- large containers of Tikka chicken masala, Saag chicken, naan, and Basmati rice -- and park ourselves on his black leather couch with forks and bowls. We would drink root beer, sop up the fragrant saucy chicken with excessive amounts of hot naan, and develop stomach aches when we ate too much.

Instead, he got stuck at work, and I got too hungry to wait for him to get home and decided to just make my whole grain pancakes again. It was an ugly start to the weekend. (And not just because of the stained white sweatshirt).

Curling up in bed last night, my stomach angry at me for feeding it such a lackluster dinner, I cringed at the thought of cooking again today. I wanted to make a croque monsieur for lunch and try a new recipe for dinner, but after the syrup disaster felt reluctant to go near the kitchen. I wanted to give up -- to just go buy a sandwich, or call a friend to go to an over-priced restaurant for dinner. Yet, this morning, after a cleansing run outside in the still-damp air from last night's rain storm, I was ready to get back to the stove.

The sandwich (more on that later) was a success, and I am feeling positive about the recipes I've picked out for tonight's affair. In a way, my kitchen failure was invigorating -- a reminder that cooking isn't always easy, and when a dish turns out well, it really is an achievement. Like an artist painting a picture or a writer composing a poem, I get to take some raw ingredients and make them into something delicious and, hopefully, beautiful. It is a privilege that I often take for granted. Tonight, I know I won't.


Esi said...

Sorry the second syrup attempt was a fail :( Can't wait to see the sandwich and other recipes though. I made the orzo soup today, and I think I'm in love :)

Hari said...

Sorry that your second try at the pancake+blueberry dinner didn't turn out well. But more importantly, you have taken it int the right spirit and moved on :)

Btw, I made your orzo soup with one change - I boiled along some lentils instead of using broth to obtain the thicker and flavorful consistency. It turned out well and was a good comfort food for a recovering-from-fever person!