If you read the book “Like Water for Chocolate” you’ll totally understand what this blog post is all about. Your emotions are intrinsically tied to what you create, whether on the computer, in the art studio, and most importantly to those of us who cook, in the kitchen.
If you’re angry, don’t cook. If you’re sad, don’t cook. If you’re overwhelmed by what life has dealt you at the moment, don’t cook. The only thing you’ll get for your efforts is disaster!
A dear friend had asked if I’d sign a copy of my new cookbook “COOKING: IT AIN’T ROCKET SCIENCE” and I gratefully agreed to stop by her office, pen in hand. As a gesture, I made a batch of profiteroles, filled with crème patisserie. Well, that bombed!
The choux pastry was delightful. Light, fluffy, with space inside to pipe the filling. But the custardy crème pat just didn’t hold together. I followed a new recipe that READ good, but hesitated over the amount of cornstarch it called for. Following my mantra of heeding the written recipe the first time, I dumped the cornstarch in. I got cornstarch balls floating in my eggy mix.
The custard process had too many complicated steps that no other custard I had ever made required. When I whipped the heavy cream, it wasn’t whipped enough — my mistake. The result: cream syrup, not cream patisserie. Disaster.
After delivering my soupy profiteroles and offering apologies to my friends as they bit into their messy treat, I came home and decided not to let one disaster foil me. I had three egg whites sitting on my counter and they beckoned. Macarons were calling.
Dismiss the fact that I’d never made an Italian meringue before. I pushed on, not letting one kitchen disaster deter me. Dismiss the fact that the phone rang five times while the sugar was turning into syrup and the thermometer was inching closer to the 110C mark. Dismiss the fact that — well, just dismiss the whole process!
Yes, the batter turned out well. But the finishing instructions of leaving them in the turned-off oven for an hour after baking got my instincts in a twist. But, my credo won out and I followed the instructions
What came out of the oven? Hockey pucks!
One more addition to the garbage pail.
The lesson? Unless you’re in a really good mood, don’t go into the kitchen! Read a book. Bathe the dog. Watch a good cooking show on television until the kitchen goddess returns and you’re ready to cook again. It’ll happen. But until then, be prepared for disasters!