Live Real. Eat Real.

Embarrass Me This

This week’s Spin Cycle is “most embarrassing moments.”

Good gawd, how much time do you have…

I once had a blog buddy tell me that I have self-deprecating humor down to an art.  I’ll accept that – when you’re as prone to gaffs, goofs and faux pas as I am you either learn to laugh at yourself or you attempt to follow up three martinis with a large glass of Guinness and a supreme pizza before you realize your new acquaintance is going to be cleaning the contents of your stomach off of the side of his car for days this isn’t going to end well.

Ahem.

Do I talk about my Greatest Talent – the ability to say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person in the wrong social setting?  Okay, maybe not; I would like this post to be published, like, today.  Ummmm…the time I attended a party, thrown by an actor and attended exclusively by the same (with the exception of yours truly), where the price of admission was a performance of your talent?  (No, Beloved, I didn’t do THAT…I brought a cake I’d decorated.) (In all fairness to myself, the most talented person at the party was a drag queen.) (I’m sure in more ways than one.)

I really ought to quit while I’m ahead (see: Greatest Talent above).

Oh – how about cooking screw ups?  Ahhhhh.

Well, of course I have them.  I post an average of 3 recipes a week here, but cook 21 meals – you get to see the best.  We (sometimes reluctantly) eat the rest, where they pass from our stomachs and memories (and we’re often grateful for both).  And while it would take me every bit as long to list my cooking disasters as it would for me to recount every stupid thing I’ve ever said, I can give you a couple of the most recent.

A few months ago, we took one of our weekend jaunts to Cincinnati to visit Jolly and The G Man.  Knowing I always cook when we would visit, Jolly requested Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner.  I make a pretty decent Alfredo sauce, so we ran over to the grocery store and grabbed various Italian cheeses, half and half and pasta.  Back at her place I’m grating and slicing and pouring and stirring and boiling and draining and just about to pour a smooth, creamy and luscious sauce over the noodles when I spy the half and half container I’d left sitting on the counter.  And I really and truly read the label, and understand why it was on sale.

Yup – I am the official inventor of the Sweet Hazelnut Alfredo Sauce™.

You can tell everyone you knew me when.

(And Kroger?  Sweetened hazelnut-flavored half and half?  Really??)

But it didn’t end there.

Fast forward to last weekend, and Jolly and The G Man are staying with us while she starts her new job and looks for an apartment or rental house.  I’ve decided to make Eggs Benedict; this is Beloved’s favorite breakfast and Jolly enjoys it too, and since I didn’t get to make them for Be’s birthday, I figured I’d do it for Sunday brunch.

I’m shifting things around in the cabinet where I keep my pots and pans and am about to pull out my trusty, but very large, double boiler when I spy something in the very back I’d forgotten I have – another double boiler.  A smaller double boiler that does not require a vat of simmering water.

“Ooooohhhh,” I say to myself, setting it on the stove.  I melt four ounces of butter in it.  I whisk in 6 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of water.  I whisk in 2 more ounces of butter, the juice of a lemon, a little Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt and a couple of shakes of Tabasco.  Whisk, whisk, whisk, and in no time at all I was looking at a pot of buttery, lemony…

Scrambled eggs.

Yup, it curdled.

And I remembered why I’d shoved this particular double boiler waaaaay back in the back – it’s not pure stainless steel; it must have some aluminum in it.  (For the record: eggs, lemon juice and aluminum don’t play well together.)

About that time, Jolly comes downstairs and sees me staring into a pot of what was supposed to be Hollandaise sauce.

“What’s that?”

“It’s supposed to be Hollandaise sauce, but it’s buttery, lemony scrambled eggs.”

“Oh.” She paused for a moment.  “I bet it would have gone really well with the hazelnut alfredo.”

Kids.  They have looooooooong memories.


11 comments

It’s usually the greatest cooks that make the greatest mistakes. :-)

Lisa says:

I’m amazed you cook 21 meals a week. Of course one or two are going to be less than perfect. And I’m still thinking, “21? Wow.”

Gretchen says:

Okay, I agree with Sprite’s K that this makes me feel much better. I must say, though, that it is only through bold endeavor that we have monumental screw ups. So really, only the bravest and most confident people make the really massive, boneheaded mistakes. I mean this as a compliment.

You are linked!!

Be says:

Okay. Listen up all y’all. You know me for my brash honesty (or so I think). But trust me in one thing and one thing only. This woman’s screw ups are rare and most usually comparable to my better meals (I only have complete control of my kitchen when I am out of town). I only wish I was such a F*ck up!

On the other hand..I can’t wait to hear about supreme pizzas and Guinness. WTH are you doing while I am 40,000 feet in the air anyhow?

@Lisa – Yep – she is an animal! Woof baby!

I was hesitant to visit you today. I’m not allowed to eat for a few days and I’m STARVING! Even ruined hollaindaise sauce sounds good right now …!

Patty says:

This is great! It reminds me of the first cake I made. I didn’t know what confectioner’s sugar was, so just imagine the granulated mess of frosting I made. My dad said it tasted fine, so I ruined the whole cake with that darn frosting. Now one would eat it.

I love the hazelnut alfredo, though. So funny!

Alex says:

Hazelnut alfredo! That is amazing! I’m sure someone could get inspired from that little mix-up and come up with a tasty and creative treat.

Michele says:

Oh honey, a kitchen screw up is nothing. I’m pretty sure your food mess ups are few and far between. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d tell some of my alcohol induced stories. They are certainly embarrassing.

Yeah, I’m with Lisa. 21, really? I think you spoil those guys.

Oh! Oh! Oh! Awesome! You wanna talk about screw ups? Try cooking for a living. LOL

I DO love the hazelnut alfredo though… I laughed at that one.

Here’s a story I like to repeat every once in a while when some cook comes off… well – I’ll leave that unsaid and all.

I struggle with ego. All us chefs do. Here I was, finishing up my apprentiship, on my own time in the Garde Manger Kitchen.

I came in on my day off, sick as a dog, to show my chef I could make a pate. It was made with ground chicken breasts, of course…

Now, being this was in the middle of the mountains, you have to understand, we didn’t get food all the time like in a city… a week could go by without the supply truck coming.

So, mr Bigshot apprentice, showing off to the rest of the cooks making this pate from scratch… couldn’t figure out why everyone was wriggling their noses when I was making it. “Something smells off, dude!”

“No – what are you talking about?” I took a HUGE fingerful of the raw chicken pate mixture and popped it into my mouth. I can’t taste anything wrong? Maybe a little more salt?”

(See, I was being a big shot – who the hell tastes RAW chicken? But, I would have had to cook it first… to hell with that – I was a big shot – I’ll taste it RAW, like REAL MEN DO.)

Over comes my supervisor… he grabs the bin with mixture and gives it a sniff… and chuffs into the garbage can.

Turns out the chicken was rotten… but my stuffed up nose didn’t know the difference…

To this day, can’t look at chicken pate the same… LOL

JoAnn P says:

Blech- the hazlenut h&h! I’ve gotten all the way to the cash register before realizing that’s what I had in my hand. Reminds me of introducing a friend of mine to dirty (vodka) martinis. She called me up after making one at home for the first time, saying it just tasted WRONG! Turns out she’d bought vanilla-infused vodka. Not a good combo with olive juice. Thanks for the grins.

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