The other day, I was reading one of the more respectable food blogs and the blogger mentioned that she very rarely ever has to throw away anything that she cooks. You read that right, she has a near-perfect record of kitchen successes.
After giving my computer monitor a rousing standing ovation, I started to reflect on my own record in the kitchen. Somehow, my numbers weren’t looking quite as good, by comparison. And I came to the conclusion that she is the inverse of me. Or I am the inverse of her. Whatever. The point is that for every success she enjoys, I endure a miserable failure. And if she should happen to fail, well, isn’t it about time that I finally succeeded?
Such is my relationship with INVERSE ME.
Not that it’s a competition or anything, but let’s face it, it really is. And so upon hearing of her latest particularly good cookie batch that she just whipped up without a recipe, I had to remember the last time I made cookies. Actually, it was the time before last because those ginger cookies I made over the weekend were awesome, and I hope whatever she was making came out like crap.
Anyway, I was trying to duplicate an old family recipe for lemon cookies that had the amounts of lemon oil and baker’s ammonia in U.S. cents circa 1940 instead of the usual spoon or cup measurements. It also didn’t include the amount of flour. And while I made a pretty good estimate of the first two ingredients utilizing my trusty slide rule, my heavy-handed approach to adding the flour resulted in something more like elastic pizza dough, only disturbingly more lemony.
My flops are legendary in my household, each with a shelf life far longer than all of my triumphs combined. Like the time I poured coffee grounds into my ganache instead of instant coffee crystals (why aren’t they dissolving?). My recipe for upside-down chicken (self-explanatory). And my personal favorite, when I shucked a whole bucket full of oysters with a brand new paring knife, bending the blade and almost severing my arm, and it wasn’t nearly as funny as I thought it would be.
I’m sure INVERSE ME has all kinds of coffee– and crepe–related tricks up her sleeve. I’m sure all of her limbs are firmly attached. Which is good because I need a role model. But I can’t offer that kind of perfection. What I can provide is a kind of comradery of failure with the occasional bright glimmer of hope. A lesson in character-building that you can walk away from and think, “Hey, I can do better than that!”
In other words, if a moron like me can cook, so can you.