By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Culinary Therapy
Thanks to Paula Deen everyone thinks if you are from the South, you can cook. If you can't make the Southern Sacred Sweet (pecan pie) than you are immediately suspected of being a transplant, an alien, or worse…a Yankee!
I don't know why I keep trying to cook except for fear that my five-year-old will be the new poster child to End World Hunger and I might have to relocate up North! I simply can't cook, or maybe I can't read, or maybe I can't read and cook. It is even difficult to type this, not because of any emotional feelings of inadequacy or failure, but because I burned my finger and I didn't even burn it on the pecan pie I was trying to make. I burned my finger on the syrup that got on the hot pad while I was trying to remove the pie from the oven before the smoke alarm detonated.
Let me back up a bit. I left the house alone this morning at 7:30 for a three hour trip to see my mother to try and convince her that her refrigerator was not trying to kill her, and to make sure she was really alright after the doors to both her freezer and refrigerator fell off their hinges a few days ago knocking her on her ninety-year old behind. That's another story; see previous blog.
The new 46 inch TV my sister and I had gotten her for Christmas and given her early had her mind off the Attack Refrigerator. She was feeling well enough to have me haul her ninety-year-old self to CiCi's Pizza for lunch, Wal-Mart for house shoes, icy hot patches, aspirin, Christmas toys for her great-grandchildren, then to another grocery store to cash a check, then back to her apartment. Each stop necessitated me hauling out the mini-step, flipping down the legs, helping her out of the car, de-flipping the legs, putting the mini-step back in the car, and repeating it when we got back into the car. When I arrived back home at 4:30 my head and back felt like a refrigerator door had fallen on me.
While I was gone, my hubby came across the old screw type pecan cracker that he and his grandmother had used when he was a child. The children were not only fascinated with the machine but were even more motivated to shell the five gallon bucket of pecans (he just happen to have) when he told them I would bake them a pecan pie when I got back.
The nine-year-old has developed a strong desire to cook, probably out of hunger and desperation. I traded her twenty minutes of violin practice in exchange for helping me with the pies. I would make one while she was practicing, and then I would help her bake another one when she finished.
Ok, I am one of those people who failed the Follow Directions Test in college, the one that starts "Read all questions first". Yes, I was standing up shouting "Bullfrogs" to question #3, patting my head while whistling "Dixie" to question # 9 and totally embarrassed when the last question read "Now go back to question number one and sign your name." I read the list of ingredients for pie #1 and dumped everything in the bowl. Only when I turned the page did it give instructions as to the specific order. Also, at no place in the recipe did it say "deep dish pie pan". Fortunately, from my many cooking disasters in the past, I knew to spray the cookie sheet with Pam before placing the full-past-the-brim pecan pie in the oven.
Pecan Pie #2 followed a different recipe. I figured I would claim the better tasting pie. The nine-year-old did a better job of following directions than I did, and she's dyslexic. My pie had to cook for an hour; her's fifty minutes or "until firm." Now if they had just left that last phrase out all might have been well. Exactly what is "firm" and firm compared to what?
After twenty additional minutes of cooking pie #2 trying to determine firm and bandaging my burned finger, I removed the pie from the oven. Firm can be like cheesecake, or pound cake, or Jell-O, or it can be something else.
Anybody ever taste Pecan Pie Jerky?
Curse you, Paula Deen!