What Gifted Cooks Won’t Tell You

Dear Amy’s a wonderful and gifted cook. People from all four corners of the United States have enjoyed the pleasure of her talents through her many required moves across the country. She’s not, however, without growing pains.

Amy loves to bake and make rich goodies during the holidays, and learned fast that some recipes like candies cannot be doubled, tapioca pudding must be double-broiled and all some things just aren’t substituted, like real butter and certain name brand items.

Thank goodness for the internet this one particular holiday, as Amy always goes to the internet when she gets in a pinch, and this was definitely one of those days.

Thinking she had all she needed to make two batches of Zucchini bread, her first disaster was to discover that she didn’t have any brown sugar in the house, not even in the pantry. So, she went to the computer, looked up white sugar recipes and printed it out. She cheerfully began to pour in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Next, Amy misread the amount of cinnamon required, pouring 3 tablespoons instead of 3 teaspoons on top of the already measured baking powder, baking soda and salt. Only because it ran her out of cinnamon did it then occur to to her to re-read the recipe and have to start carefully scooping off the excess cinnamon of the top of the other ingredients, then causing her to have to triple the batch instead of double.

Then, she reached for the cooking oil and went pale as she realized she’d used a large quantity the night before frying chicken for supper. Hmmm….she thought, “Maybe I could use it,” then thought better of it, since it was already sitting out in a coffee can out in the garage and was afraid she’d make everyone, including herself sick. So, she did what most great cooks would do, she improvised with mayonnaise and a half cup of olive oil. Surely no one would notice?

Too late she realized that three batches were not going to fit in even her largest mixing bowl. She ended up using the turkey roasting pan to stir all her ingredients in. The final adjustment came from past experience that even though a recipe may call for a specific amount of flour, that sometimes some flour absorbs more moisture than others and need more liquid. Such was the case this time, but one and a half cups worth? When she got it the consistency she knew from experience it should be, she pre-heated the oven to 325 degrees, prepared her loaf pans and hoped for the best.

Amy gave a sample to her husband after he arrived home from work, because she knew before she gave them away he’d tell her the truth if they tasted bad or not, and although the brown sugar gives them a special flavor that white sugar can’t, except for that, the taste-test loaf was a little different, but it was still fine, he told her. Then she proceeded to tell him everything she’d had to do to save that batch.

Incredibly, all eight disposable pans and two glass loaf pans came out beautifully, and everyone she gave them to, thanked her and complimented her on how great they tasted.

Amy and her husband went grocery shopping the very next day and stocked up on everything she was out of after taking an astringent inventory to avoid making that mistake again.

Tips for Better Baking: Cover your mistakes and keep your lips sealed.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *