gut, and other ignored things

It’s a terrible thing to ignore your gut instincts, though I’m sad to say this wasn’t my first time. There was the otherwise-engaged record store Rastafarian, a pair of overpriced, excruciatingly uncomfortable shoes I never wear (fine, several), and now there is this, too.

Bypassing your cooking intuition is a torturous affair. On one hand, what are all of your hours in the kitchen for if not to understand your recipes on a more base level, to inherently comprehend that creaming butter with the sugar, not over-mixing your flours, getting your ingredients to room temperature make for the best cake foundations. Yet, on the other hand, we want to learn new things; who really knows everything there is to know about kitchen-crafting? Maybe the cake will be improved with more salt or baking powder, maybe three cups of sugar in a batch of cupcakes isn’t too much, maybe this recipe makes the kind of cake that doesn’t rise very much, so filling the paper cups to the top as the recipe clearly dictates is a good idea.

this one's almost pretty

And then what? Where do you go from your realization that you knew better than this, you just didn’t follow through with your own gumption? After these cooled, I trimmed them down to their approximate, rightful shapes only to learn that to add insult to injury, I should have left the massive cupcake blob in the oven a little longer – they’re a little sticky. The second batch, which I filled to the more traditional 2/3-level looked lovely. Then, I ran out of mini-muffin liners and had to make the last 9 full-sized. Was this expedition cursed? I loathe inconsistency.

The scraps, which of course we tested again and again, were mighty tasty but excessively sweet. I knew 3 cups of sugar was too much! But their texture and flavor had all of the awesomeness I initially anticipated. I can’t give up on Ina (though I’m starting to believe it might be good for us to spend some time apart) just yet, so I think I’ll make a more discerning, insightful batch before Saturday and hide the imperfect and mix-sized ones in the freezer until I’ve long forgotten about them.

In fact, when tucking them away in the freezer, I found a pizza dough I’d made which I found too salty, pork dumplings which hadn’t met my approval and pesto I hadn’t put enough oil in, all of which I dutifully dumped to make room for my most recent misfortune.


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18 comments on gut, and other ignored things

  1. Oh, kitchen disasters. I feel your pain. I just blogged about my own misbegotten dinner from last night! Don’t you hate it when your better judgement tries to prevail, but the recipe authority makes you tamp that little voice down, and then you end up being RIGHT? grr…

  2. DO these taste bad? Maybe you could use them in some sort of trifle or pudding. Too bad. I just made some pizza dough…the first batch went in the trash can and we had to wait 10 extra minutes for our dinner.

  3. Jezzie

    y’know what I did many years ago when this happened to me with a cheese cake that wouldn’t, couldn’t, was …break it up and make a parfait…parfait hides all sins :)
    ps. I’ll eat your beautiful mistakes anytime!

  4. It always hurts me to have to throw away my creations even if I don’t like the taste or texture or appearance, or they’re burnt beyond belief…. I always shed a tear when I finally manage to put them to rest.

  5. deb

    Luisa – I just left you a comment that it always makes me want to throw a foot-stomping temper tantrum (something I was apparently famous for many, mnay years ago) when things go wrong in the kitchen. But I did what you said! However, I’m just crazy enough to go at this one again today, with my hard-learned lessons in tow. Wish me luck.

    Claire – They don’t taste bad at all (except for the sweetness), which is why I am trying to salvage the good parts. With a dollop of icing, how bad could they be? The only thing they really offend is my inner perfectionist, but I guess that goes without saying.

    As for pizza doughs, a few months back, I bought a special bread flour and tried to make pizza with it. The thing turned into GUM, nasty brown gum, in my food processor. Turns out, in a massive case of RTFM, I was only supposed to use one TABLESPOON of this additive for each cup of flour to bump up the gluten content. But, like you, at least it only set us back 10 minutes or so!

    Jezzie – Cheesecake parfait sounds amazing.

    Brilynn – Yes. Which is why I just throw them in the freezer. “I’ll use them ONE DAY,” I say, though we all know I’m lying. Alleves the guilt, though!

  6. Ruby

    Any suggestions for dry, overbaked brownie? Could I use the crumbs to make a crust for a cheesecake (never made cheesecake before but need to for a friend’s bday)?

  7. Michelle S.

    I’m sure this is two months too late, Ruby… but overbaked brownies and cookies make great ice cream sandwiches. Soften your favorite flavor and sandwich between extra crisp cookies/brownies then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and re-freeze. After a day or three in the freezer, the cookies will be nice and chewy with some crispiness!

  8. Vicki Ann Barr

    I love the fact that you admit your mistakes and even show photos, well done. It happens to all of us. Loooooove your website, have tried quite a few of your recipes already, keep them coming

  9. lisa

    COOKING FLOPS !!! you do not know what cooking flops REALLY ARE! Wait until you have cooked a million rushed meals with the troops looking over your shoulder while DROOLING YOU were late “the boys” are STARVING while laying on the kitchen floor winning the famous phrase… ARE WE GOING TO EAT SOON? They just ate in silence because mom was watching as they smiled. All the while were retching in silence. We do our best,BUT….. Lisa

  10. Sandy

    I don’t remember watching my mother use measuring spoons so when I made my first chocolate pie from scratch it was a bit salty 😵 That didn’t stop my Dad from feeling proud of his daughter and willingly ate a piece of his favorite pie. I learned to use measuring spoons and have also learned by now to measure some ingredients by eye. I think we test, try and learn with every recipe we make. It’s called wisdom.

  11. Jackie

    Sadly I thought of this post AFTER I ignored my gut and the chocolate coconut pound cake I was making overflowed the recipe (not yours) specified sized pan-at least I listened to my gut and put a cookie sheet underneath, just in case.