Thursday, October 20, 2011

Food disasters into triumphs

So, I did this years ago, long before I set up this blog, but it's a good way to illustrate my point.  I was having some people over for dinner--it was a small party, and I was going to have several different offerings, buffet-style, for people to take.  It was pretty eclectic.  One of the dishes I was going to try and make was eggplant pesto lasagne.  (This was before I started growing herbs and freezing pesto in cubes; I had a packet of the pesto mix onhand.  Hey, I'm not proud.)

But then, drat it, the lasagne noodles didn't cook well.  Or, I should say, I did not cook them well.  The ends got stuck together, parts were uncooked and other parts were al dante.  It was a mess.  And yet I had this eggplant and pesto and a half-hour before people were supposed to come.  And it's not as if I could get away with chucking this dish; I needed this to make sure that everyone would have enough to eat.  So, I figured I'd cobble something together and if it was awful, I'd have a funny story to share.

I cut out the hard and gluey parts of the noodles and tossed them.  I cut the noodles into squares, diced the eggplant, and stirred them together in a bowl.  I took the packaged pesto mix, made the pesto, and then grabbed a handful of either pine nuts or walnuts (I can't remember which), ground them in a mortar and pestle I used to own (thanks to a gift certificate to Crate and Barrel I got one year--I was very hopeful that I would make pesto in that.  No, I never did and I ended up donating it to a white elephant fundraiser).  I mixed the ground nuts with the pesto sauce, added some garlic powder, tossed this with some grated cheese, the eggplant and the noodles, and I baked it. 

I figured no one would really like it.  I was all set to apologize for it.

To my shock, it was the most well-loved dish of the whole party.  Everyone inhaled it and wanted the recipe.  I'm not shy.  I told them it was originally a disaster in the making.

Now, I suppose if I was going to share What I Learned from That Day, I could tell you that you should make lemonade out of lemons or make the best of things.  But that's not going to be my chirpy advice (because I really hate chirpy advice, for one thing).

Nah.  I'll just tell you that if you're doing something and it looks like it's going to be a big bag of fail, to not panic.  The world won't end if it doesn't turn out well, and you'll have a funny story to tell.  (If the people around you never let you live that down or are nasty to you about it, then I'd suggest you jettison them and consider it a good tool to see who the, um, tools in your life are.)

And sometimes, it does turn out well. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen. Well said, you.

    It was a tad after my bouillabaisse debacle that I met you, but that particular phoenix rose for the ash (literal and figurative) only in the form of a funny story!

    When all is lost, laugh with the chef, help clean up, and toast to the next (hopefully successful) meal!

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