No one is born a master. Cooking is one of the things that requires practice, sometimes through trial and error. Doubt any chef has been able to avoid making at least some mistakes while learning their trade, while some of us have managed to make a series of unfortunate events in the kitchen.
Many stories worth telling have been long forgotten, but I still have few in my mind that are worth sharing. The opening picture of the blog has a story behind it too. When you have several same looking spice containers sitting on the shelf next to each other, sometimes you might just take the wrong one… Once – actually not that long ago, I was making smetana sauce for potato wedges. The sauce requires quite a bit of paprika seasoning, and only tiny pinch of chili. Just this time I ended up taking the chili can from the shelf and sprinkling it in the sauce as if it was paprika. As you can probably guess, the sauce ended up being rather spicy, but we were brave enough to eat it anyway, despite almost breathing fire during the dinner.
Baking sweet buns
I’ve loved baking sweet buns since I was child, and luckily I had a mom who let us practice both cooking and baking from a very young age. This one time I had just finished kneading big 2 kilo dough and I was quite happy with the result. Until I suddenly realised (can’t quite remember how, maybe I tasted it..) that I had forgot to but salt in the dough. First there was doubt, then almost felt like crying, until I was mostly just very angry. So I took the giant dough out of the bowl and threw it in the air as hard as I could, that’s how angry I was.
And there it was, hanging from the ceiling, slowly stretching down towards the floor. The sight of it was so amusing that I couldn’t help but laugh. With a big smile on my face, I stood under the dough and catched it on my arms when it finally dropped from the ceiling. So I put it back into the bowl, added salt and kneaded the dough some more. In the end, we got a nice batch of tasty buns. And still to this day, I thank god my mom wasn’t at home when all this happened – I doubt her sense of humour would have stretched far enough to laugh at a dough stretching down from the ceiling..
Lunch for dad
One of my childhood summers my mom and my little sister went to Sweden to visit our relatives. Or could have been both of my little sisters, can’t quite remember if the youngest one traveled with them, or if she was spending the time with our grandparents. Either way, I stayed at home making sure my dad and older brother were properly fed during the week my mom was away.
Back then, my dad used to come home from work on his lunch break, and would do so on the week when I was in charge of the kitchen as well. On the first day I made some sort of grilled sandwich, with mustard and some other sauces in it. Dad ate his lunch and said: “Thank you, it was good.”
I was of course very proud of myself and happy that I had managed to make a proper lunch for my dad. So on the next day, I made another grilled sandwich – this time with a bit more mustard and other sauces. Again my dad ate his lunch and said: “Thank you, it was good.” On the third day, I made yet another grilled sandwich, with even more mustard and other sauces in it. Dad ate it, said thank you, but didn’t get any compliments this day. Next day there was no more grilled sandwiches – I had figured out that as much as he must have loved them, maybe he just got bored having same lunch every day…
First roast out of the oven
Any good housewife will at some point in their life reach the point where they might feel that they should add beef roast to their cooking repertoire – or at least I did. So I went and bought 1kg roast beef, seasoned it and threw it in the oven. Back then I didn’t even own a roasting thermometer, so I decided to simply estimate the time the beef needed to roast.
And how accurate was that estimation? I let the meat roast in the oven for a while, and then took it out. And it smelled delicious! …Except that it was the only good thing that can be said about the result. I tried to slice it with a knife, but after a moment of hard work the meat was still intact. So I gave up on even trying to slice the meat and just out of curiosity threw the beef on the floor.. just to witness it bounce right back up like a rubber ball. That day we had takeaway pizza for dinner.