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Wednesday Food: Flops and Failures

Not every meal made is triumphant.  There is plenty of mediocrity in my kitchen, especially under time and financial constraint.  But absolute disaster is more difficult to move past.  The hours I spent in the kitchen last night were exactly that.

I should have known something was awry when I awoke to find there was no coffee left.  Needless to say even an overly steeped cup of Earl Grey was insufficient.  From that point the day pretty much continued downhill until I resolutely decided to spend my evening in the kitchen.  First, I would recreate a favorite bistro appetizer– celery root rémoulade with diced beet.  Then I would effortlessly assemble pumpkin ravioli, the filling for which I could make up on the fly.  I’d then grill some chicken and fire my pumpkin soufflé, all in enough time to sit down and watch The Howling.  How very foolish indeed.

The mayonnaise I began with was the correct consistency but tasted only of cheap olive oil, and the lemon and salt I added for balance just made it worse.  I then julienned my knuckle.  My ravioli filling of pumpkin and goat cheese was below average and halfway through assembly it occurred to me that I was mistakenly doubling the sheets of wonton wrapper.  These, when submerged in water, immediately tore in the middle while the outside stayed rubbery, an event which coincided with my burning the piss out of the chicken.  The immediate sobs I broke into were fairly embarrassing and the pitching of food regrettable, but there’s something to be said for a good cry.

I know a lot of people who avoid the kitchen altogether because more often than not, the night ends in ringing smoke alarms and bitter disappointment.  For as much as the kitchen is a place of exploration, escape, and creativity it can also be a sweaty, unrelenting bitch.  These instances must be overcome if for no other reason than to make culinary success simply taste better.  Not to mention the greater the error, the more certain you can be of avoiding it in the future.  The best chefs know not just how to execute a perfect dish, but can anticipate in what way it will fail.

Plus you can always order pizza.

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October 14, 2009 - Posted by | Wednesday Food

1 Comment

  1. Doing ANYTHING without coffee is ill-advised. But what a great relief it is to know that even a Bolden has a bad day in the kitchen! Hope you give this amazing sounding meal another go soon!

    Comment by Sarah | October 14, 2009


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