Monday, May 9, 2011

Make Mistakes

Oops. No more lamb jus...
A friend of mine once told me she sends her kids off to school with this farewell: "Make mistakes!" NOt so they can fail, but so they can learn.

Same goes for getting into the kitchen: Come on in. Grab an apron, bring your recipe and cook away. Oh, and on the way? Make a mistake or two. Lord knows I do.

For whatever reason, many people think I cook in a kitchen and never have mistakes. Ahahaha. Picture me wiping tears from my eyes. Not so.

But I will say this: I approach every recipe with my attitude of "how hard can it be?" We are not, after all, talking about brain surgery which, I'll concede, requires more than a list of ingredients and instructions. But that is ALL cooking requires. That, a little confidence and the knowledge that cooking for family and friends should be fun, not a chore.

Case in point? Oh, how about that photo above. That's from Easter Sunday. We had friends over, but we also managed to go visiting during the afternoon, so everything was kind of prepped ahead of time. When I got home, all I had to do was get things going. Lamb was trimmed, layered with fresh herbs, then rolled and tied. Into the oven it went. Potato gratin was mostly cooked and it just had to re-heat. ditto on roasted asparagus, then friends were bringing dessert.

All was going relatively well (okay, I admit, it would have been nice if our dining room table wasn't a desk/woodworking surface, school work catchall, but that is a different argument...er, story, I mean story.)

Then my brain shut down. "Hey, I have an idea: let's just put this ceramic dish directly onto the burner to reduce the juices!" I am brilliant.

A few minutes into it, one simple: CRACK. Then: sizzle sizzle sizzle sizzle....drip drip drip. Ikea ceramics are NOT stove top (or oven top, but that's a different dish) proof.

But here's the moral: It. Did. Not. Matter. I took a photo (duh. It's what I do.), finished getting the rest of the dinner onto the table.
1. It was the best lamb I've ever made (Costco boneless, but I trimmed it to be very lean before spreading it with herbs and rolling it.)
1a. No lamb jus/gravy whatsoever.
2.Awesome potato gratin. Well, you know, if you like your potatoes undercooked (my guests were gracious).
3. Great asparagus (thank you NC Farmers!!)
4. Fabulous chocolate mousse (oh, and Callaloo at the start of the dinner that I just could NOT get enough of, thanks to Nic and Theresa...Nic made the callaloo and coached Theresa in the dessert category. AWESOMENESS.)

And the most important ingredient of the evening? The friends. No one cared we didn't have the jus. The dish sat there until folks went home. And I saved the photo just to say this. Start every day by choosing to makes some mistakes. Life is more fun that way.

5 comments:

Anjuli said...

What a great outlook- and it definitely help us to do more things in life if we weren't afraid of making mistakes! Loved that you took the picture!

Unknown said...

Ha! I am glad I took the photo...made a good blog for the day!

Lisa Carter said...

Oh, good for you for remembering what truly makes a great meal: friends. While I would know that inside, I know I'd be fuming at losing that jus. Must stop, take a breath and remind myself of this post. Love your blog!

Merut said...

Why is it that disasters always happen when there is company over? Ugh. I like your "how hard can it be?" attitude. I try to be that way too.

Lisa said...

I like that: make mistakes. Perfect thing to say, it takes the pressure off everyone.