Gentle Readers, lean in close, it’s confession time. The Practical Cook is not the perfect cook with very good reason. This week, I made an incredible amount of food. I was tired. I messed a couple of things up. Simple things that could easily be corrected (undercooking one tray of cookies, using soy instead of terriyaki but catching it before the dish went further), and massive failures (no sugar in a double batch of banana bread, anyone anyone?).
In the words of Kenny Rogers, you have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. After the banana bread incident, I went to bed. Even tonight, this blog was meant to be about Buffalo Spiced Pecans. But I’m not happy with the recipe yet. So please hold while I work on that.
Sometimes, you can salvage what you have, sometimes you need to stop. Ironically, I produced the best ever Date Nut Cookies and Twice-Baked Potatoes of my cooking career. I know these recipes, I’ve erred with them both before. I nailed it. Peanut Butter Cookies, same thing.
I made a new recipe, Spiced Biscotti, and it blew everyone away, perhaps because no one else in the family had made these before. They were perfectly balanced (the secret was white pepper). There was a disaster there as well, but a recovery.
Why am I confessing to you Gentle Readers? I am owning it because I hope you’ll keep cooking no matter what. It’s almost time to firm up those New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve got a couple in mind, including a constant: don’t let fear guide choice. Cook conservatively 4 nights a week if you must, or use shortcuts (I often do myself, life demands it), but never stop experimenting.
The sugar fail came in the midst of a lesson on fractions with TPCs Junior. They learned a second lesson: how to face frustration without throwing the mixing bowl out the window. So I doctored the banana bread with caramel sauce, admitted the mistake and asked for feedback, and enlisted the Juniors going forward to review the ingredient list.
A new day dawns. What’s your score for success in the kitchen this holiday season? Post your confessions in the comment box below, or Tweet with #TPCscore. Happy holidays, and back to the test kitchen for me.
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Next time, on Friday, Happy China Restaurant Review!