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Failure
Sep 16th, 2004

It's all well and good to report the successes you have in the kitchen - the recipes that turn out yummy, the jam that actually sets, the idea that makes it on to your dinner plate. But it's the failures that people really want to hear about. They want to know about the 'perfect recipe' for rice that came out perfectly crunchy and inedible, or the expensive ingredients you buy only to learn that you hate them and leave them to mold in the fridge. Just the other day I was thinking about this site and realized I wanted a good failure to post about. Luckily, I got one as ordered.

Unfortunately it wasn't a spectacular failure, no cookware exploded, and there were no poisonings. But the recipe looked good on the page, all the ingredients were good going in, and the resulting dish totally sucked. So I think that counts as a failure.

The recipe was for Cabbage and Asian Pear Slaw with a gingery lime vinaigrette. It still sounds good, but it ain't. I got it from Kathleen Daelemans' Getting Thin and Loving Food, a cookbook that has given me mixed results. And I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that she and I part ways when it comes to salads, as both the recipes I have not liked from her book are salads.

Anyway, the recipe calls for shredding/julienning some cabbage and asian pear and then dressing it with lime juice, fresh ginger, scallions, and Vietnamese chili paste. I may be leaving something out but I think that was it. It sounds so simple and tastes so nasty. I think the problem with it is that the tastes are too spiky - there's no oil or neutral ingredient rounding them all out. It tasted raw in a flavors-not-melding sense.

I served the slaw with dinner one night and we each took an obligatory mouthful and then politely ignored it. I carried it back and forth to work for a few days trying to make myself eat it for lunch but that plan failed too. Last night I threw it out. Tonight I'm making spaghetti with a roasted tomato sauce, and I'm hoping for a success, because a failure every now and then is sort of fun, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.


Comments

Failures, now this is something I can get into.

I'm excited to cook with Priya, and I know people who already cook with even younger kids, but I haven't tried much. I always let her try and crack and stir eggs, and occassionally she does a little more. But for the most part, she doesn't like to get messy, and I don't cook much anyway, so we do other things.

Several weeks ago, I got a box of brownie mix. Emptying the box and cracking eggs went well. The proceedings started to go south at the stirring stage. She doesn'tlike to get messy, as I said, and she decided I couldn't get messy, and the spoon couldn't get messy. Now you try explaining basic laws of physics to a 2 yr old. Then she refuses to lick the spoon. Well before the lumps areout, her 10 minute attn span has been maxed, and she gets distracted. I pop the stuff in the oven, which doesn't have a temperature setting or timer, so I just turned the dial 3/4 of the way around, and tried to look at the clock. Then my 15 minute attn span gets maxed, andI get distracted. The brownies gain my attn again only through persuasive use of their friend the fire alarm, which terrifies Priya, wakes anjali, and refuses to shut off. Aack. For all the drama, the brownies were only half-burned. I managed to srape up tasty pieces, but Priya refused to touch 'em. Kevin pretended to be interested in them, and very generously cleaned the pan 2 days later once I admitted that half-burned brownies weren't as appetizing as one might think.

-posted by Hetal on Mar 13th, 2006
Hee! I think cooking failures that involve fire alarms are the best ones. I still remember waking up half of Billings House when Jim and I decided to make french fries at 1 AM using grease we saved from a previous frying. I don't think I've fried a potato since.


-posted by Kymm on Mar 13th, 2006
© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com