Here's how my Easter went for me this year:
- The strata: two loaves of bread barely covered it. Next year, I'm going to buy three loaves of bread. I'll give what's left over to the birds. (I've already changed the shopping list, so if you had the same experience and went back to check the list, no, you're not crazy. Well, maybe you are, but this isn't one of the symptoms);
- The potatoes could have cooked longer. The package directions on the ham said to put it in at 300 degrees, which I did. What the package directions didn't know was that the ham had to share the oven with the potatoes, and potatoes take a LONG time to cook at 300 degrees. Next year, I'm going to put the potatoes in an hour earlier than the ham;
- The biggest problem is always the oven logistics. I have an oven and a microwave. I hate cooking anything in the microwave, so it's always a challenge to coordinate cooking times for all the stuff that has to go in the oven. When I moved into my husband Anthony's apartment as his bride, we had an oven with another little oven over it. That was great. It could be the reason why I married him;
- It took freaking FOREVER to whip the cream. Like 45 minutes. Maybe because I was using fancy organic heavy whipping cream, which - truthfully - didn't look all that heavy to me. I'm not saying it wasn't worth it, I'm just saying that today my wrist hurts;
- The stab wound produced no bloodshed, and therefore did not require stitches.
For once, I didn't do it to myself. I'm a great one for self-injury doing normal, everyday activities that everyone else has no problem with. I fall down a lot. I don't wear high heels unless somebody else is driving me door-to-door. I once pulled a ligament in my ribcage putting on my tights. You might think I'm kidding when I say that I don't drink while I cook. I do, sometimes. A little. But I'm very careful to wait until I'm done working with sharp objects. What I hadn't considered, up until yesterday, was that I should probably wait until everybody is done working with sharp objects because I may need to defend myself.
Here's what happened: Dinner was ready, all our guests were sitting down at the table in the dining room. Anthony was in the kitchen, with his back to me. I'm walking through the kitchen, to join our guests, when - suddenly - Anthony turns around and wham! I get a butcher knife in the thigh. (I told you before that this man was passive/aggressive. Well, apparently, he's graduated.)
There was a collective gasp from the dining room. "Are you all right?" asked Anthony, for once looking worried about something besides the temperature of his soup. Well, not ever having been stabbed before, I couldn't tell. "Oh, yeah, fine," I answered, and then thought better of it. I have a high threshold of pain.
"Are you sure?" Anthony asked again, showing the depth of his concern.
"Uh...maybe. I'll be back in a minute." I rushed into the bathroom to check for blood. And to make sure my skirt was all right. No punctures. The skirt would live to see another Easter. Lucky for Anthony - a good skirt is hard to come by.
Back to the food. No meal is ever perfect, and every time you cook you're going to learn a little something, and maybe make a little tweak. That's how recipes evolve and how they eventually become your own.
It's like your kid's piano recital, you know? The kid notices the mistakes; YOU notice the mistakes, but nobody else does. Really. Trust me.
Cooking, math, geography. People think these things are magic. If you demonstrate the smallest ability in any of them, you're a genius.
Even if the potatoes are a little undercooked.