Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My First Culinary Disaster

I so enjoyed the dip into my first cook book I hope you will bear with me and allow me a bit of nostalgia. After posting my first blog I decided to take a really good look through the book. The first thing that surprised me was that it was written in 1972, I received it in 1974, could it really have been so long ago? As I made my way through the pages I came across a recipe for "Curried Shrimp in Half Pineapple". Memories came flooding back. This was one of the first "posh" foods I ever tried to make and if my memory serves me right it turned out not too bad. In those early days wasn't always the case. I remember my first attempt at making Mac and cheese. From scratch. This was not something my mum had ever made but my mother-in-law always made it from scratch. I so wanted to prove to my new husband that anything his mother could do.........well I guess all you married women out there know where I am going with this, and can relate! How hard could this be. There are only 3 or 4 main ingredients, I could read instructions. No problem, or so I thought. Off I went and bought what I needed, macaroni, cheese, cornstarch & milk. I was now ready to go. Pasta, not so different from rice, guessed it would swell up to twice the amount. First mistake. White sauce recipe. I would copy the one on the packet of cornstarch. Easy. Sugar? Mmm. Seemed odd but my inexperience told me there must be a reason for it, I had not yet accumulated enough knowledge to know when something is not quite right. I boiled the macaroni, and to my surprise it remained the same amount as I had started with. I had a pint of white sauce, made with sugar, and to this I added the cheese! What I now had was a pool of what I can only describe as a disgusting sweet & cheesy sauce. Not to be beaten I added the pasta to it, I still had the disgusting sauce, only this time it was covering a barely visible amount of pasta. If you took a spoonful there would be no guarantee you would even find the pasta. Now close to tears but determined this would not be a total disaster I strained off some of the sauce, put it in a new dish, a very small one, sprinkled more cheese over it and stood back and admired my handy work. It looked good but I knew in my heart of hearts this wasn't going to be the dish that would make my husband promise to love me for ever & ever. Now the dilemma. Do I serve it to him and wait for a reaction. Is he so much in love with me that he won't say anything? Can't take that chance and I decide to confess. He didn't pack up and go back to his Mum, and 34 years later he is still here. I must be doing something right and have to say fortunately I quickly learned to make mac & cheese properly, and still make it today, it is still one of his favourite comfort foods. The moral of this story always taste your food and secondly always own up to failure, makes us all human.
I have diversified away from my musings on my first cook book, but I will come back to it in my next blog.

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