Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Written Account of Failure

As presented to you by me, author of the blog "To Thine Own Self, Be Food."

Herein lies the truth, and hopefully it will set me (and you, maybe) free.

I joined Pinterest several months ago because it seemed like the vogue, trendy thing to do.  I didn't pin very much, mostly because I was intimidated.  Pictures everywhere of gorgeous dishes, cleverly plated entre├ęs, and cuteasallgetout desserts.  Obviously, the message was this: cooking and baking alone is not enough...to be successful here at Pinterest, you must also be a decent food stylist and photographer.

And the message was received.  My boards have been neglected for some time.  But it's okay, because I still have you beautiful people, my dear readers.

I'll admit, though, it's difficult to read other food blogs.  Not only do they make amazing food and have clever ideas, but the final product manages to look perfect, in just the right light, on just the right shape of plate.

If any of you are like any of me, you'll oooh and aaah and fawn over such blogs.  And then, over a glass of Riesling (or a gin and tonic or whatever) later that night, you wonder why hardly anybody documents and broadcasts their failures for the world to see.  Not to mention their poor photography skills too.

Huzzah, readers!  Let's not wonder anymore.  Today, you are going to see failure at its finest.  Along with crappy photography!  Let the good times begin!

I told you a few days ago I would attempt macaroons...a notoriously fussy confection.  I used the measurements and directions from Gwen's Kitchen Creations, because she seemed very interested in taking the time to provide tips and suggestions so that I too could make the perfect macaroon (or, in France, macaron).  Everybody else just told you how damn hard they were to get right before giving you the straight instructions.

Things started off rather well, I thought.  I was able to assemble all my ingredients in a capable, confident manner.

And due to my bakery education, even this step of whipping the egg whites, cream of tartar and red food coloring was not daunting.  I eventually came up with a batter that resembled, as Gwen recommended, "magma".  Pink magma.

This might have been where things started to head south. Click on the picture for a bigger view, but you'll see that I didn't pipe them very well onto the cookie sheet.  I should spaced them out more, so that the cookies wouldn't touch at all.  But, lesson learned.  Moving on.

Removal from the oven here, and you'll see the cracked tops, the lack of feet, and well, just a general sad silly-looking little cookie.  But, I'm made of stronger stuff, so we forge on.

There are approximately two cookies on the sheet above that are perfect.  Good enough for me.

A little dab of strawberry preserves piped in the middle and sandwiched between the macaroons for the finished product.  They definitely aren't perfect, but the taste was fine.  Macaroons are interesting things...crispy and chewy at the same time.  And to my family and friends' credit, there wasn't a single confection left the next morning.

So, today, we celebrate failure.  Because it's real, and you can taste it.

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