This weekend had its highs and lows of domestic engineering. In some ways, I felt like Martha herself — twirling about in an apron, cooking, knitting, cleaning, sewing, singing along to the radio. I crave weekends like this — when they are simply all about me. I eat what I want, when I want. I laze around the house watching foreign films, with subtitles in full effect. I listen to ridiculous amounts of NPR. And I can do all of this naked if I want to an no one is the wiser. Ha!
Last week I received a surprise gift from Jessica — a new cupcake cookbook. (Love it!) I spent much of Saturday morning watching “The Motorcycle Diaries” while reading it and picking out my Sunday baking selection. Carrot orange raisin cupcakes it was. Perfect! Then I picked up other new cookbook — vegetarian wonder — The Moosewood Cookbook. I selected sweet potato pancakes to serve for brunch the following day. They would be a lot of effort, but they sounded wonderful. Paired with a nice fruit salad and the wonder cucpakes, my neighbor’s would be pleased with the invitation to an afternoon meal.
At first, all was well in the world. I made the cupcakes, minus the frosting, and they are delicious. I substituted apple sauce for half the oil and was pleased with the choice. They are dense, and the golden raisins give them a touch of sweetness that is just right. I will make these again. While baking, I enjoyed, “The Girl from Paris.” It is a sweet story.
Alas, it was three hours into my Sunday morning cooking when my guests arrived and I realized something had gone very, very wrong. While I followed the sweet potato recipe somewhat, I apparently do not have the knack for pan frying. I first tried margarine — big mistake. My small kitchen filled with angry, stinky smoke. When I switched to canola oil, I thought I was doing well. Yes, they were a bit burned on the edges, but they were golden and seemed crispy, per the recipe’s instructions.
Wrong again. They were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Gah! The looked gross. The smelled gross. They tasted notsogood. With two guests standing in my kitchen ready to be fed, I wondered, “What would Martha do?” I loaded up a plate of fruit and cupcakes for my neighbors and asked them to take it home and return in five minutes — giving me a second to pull myself together. I was so disappointed that all this effort was in vain. The sweet potato concoction when straight in the trash. I threw the rest of the food in the fridge and grabbed my pocketbook. Mexican food at a local burrito joint it was. I brought the rest of the food into the office today for my coworkers.
It wasn’t a complete loss, but nonetheless, it was a lot of work only to end up eating chips and salsa. Next time, smaller pancakes and plan on recipes well tested when inviting over guests.