Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cooking Disasters

Jennifer Rose commented that maybe I should write about some culinary disasters I've seen. Actually I haven't seen many disasters but sometimes I think that the same food could be better....even my own cooking. She mentioned that some people might be afraid to try a dinner party. Whoa, just stop. Don't you just love it when someone invites you to a dinner party. They are going to so much trouble....For YOU! How can you not be flattered. Maybe the food could have a little more of this or that but the important thing is that someone is honoring you by inviting you to sit down in their home for a dinner. What a special time.

I was giving a dinner party several years ago in Houston and I had made a shrimp dish from a new recipe. It was so bland, make that dull. I was in a panic. Guests were arriving and I didn't know what to do to rescue my party. I have to admit that I have an ace-in-the-hole....a son who is a chef. I made an emergency call. Help! He told me to add a jalapeno, some lime juice, and I don't remember what else. It brightened the dish enough so that it wasn't an embarrassment but I can assure you that that recipe will never see the light of day again.

Recently, I tried a new recipe for a carrot salad with a group of foodies. I thought it would be crunchy and fresh tasting. It wasn't bad but it wasn't very exciting. I wanted this recipe to work so I tried it again at home with some variations. It still wasn't exciting. I'm done with that recipe.

I've been cooking a long time. I started before my teens. I've cooked through three children and over 50 years of marriage. I've always liked trying new recipes. I've cooked when there wasn't much money and I've cooked when I could afford some speciality foods. I like cooking. Baking to a large extent is a science but most cooking has a big creative component. It is more art than science. It is about finding ways to make the elements sing. I think that practice makes a huge difference. So just do it. Cook!


Rooster said...

Billie - You have a refreshingly great attitude about "disaster"! Some people would spill the beans on their friends' bad cooking but you focus on your friends going to the trouble of cooking for you, period. That's great!

When Sergio and I were still dating, I invited him to my apartment one night for dinner. I had a recipe that I thought (very, very wrongly) sounded great for fish tacos. Hot fish tacos. With mayo. I had candles lit, nice table cloth, just me and my boyfriend. The food was HORRIBLE!!! He kindly had several tacos... then he proposed to me. The first thing I thought was how awful that now I would always have to remember my fish taco failure!!!

Steve Cotton said...

I have stopped giving dinner parties -- not because of the food, but because most of my guests started turning into 8 year-olds.

When I would call to invite people, I would get questions (and polemics) like: "Is there any shrimp? Bill and I are boycotting harvesting methods that destroy the planet." Or "Are you going to use any olive oil? I think I have a sensitivity to it?" Then there was the young woman who insisted on bringing her own food and utensils because she wanted to be certain of cleanliness.

Maybe I am not a Guy of the Twenty-First Century. I simply like food and company. If the comapny does not want to eat my food (or if they are not willing to live adult lives), I can eat it alone.

Billie said...

Steve, I think you are going to find a lot more appreciative audience here in Mexico.

glorv1 said...

We all have mishaps when it comes to cooking. I have a recipe called "Cabbage A La Spanish" and it is very simple. All it takes is:

cabbage (whole if making a lot)
3/4 yellow chili's
2 tomatoes
white shredded cheese, 1/2 to a cup
1 onion
Chicken broth or water

It's good if you have some white rice cooking while you are cooking this because it is spooned over white rice.

You shred the cabbage. Slice up the chili's, the onion, the tomatoes and saute till soft. Add the cabbage and a little chicken broth so that it can steam. You add the cheese last of all, put the lid on and let it melt and then spoon over white rice. It's very good abd spicy and meatless.

Try it Billie, you'll like it. Take care and have a great evening.It seems to taste better the next day.

Islagringo said...

My whole life was dedicated to hating to cook. I was not good at it and could never "time" stuff to be done at the same time. Then I met you. You inspired me to get into the kitchen and try again! I am having much more success these days and, while not going all gaga about it, I am enjoying it more. I also found a great Mexican cookbook and that helps a lot.
(1000 Mexican Recipes - Marge Poore)