A recipe for disaster

February 14th 2007

I have long since railed against the commercialism of ‘celebration days’. I am convinced most of these days were invented by the greetings card companies to increase their profits so my wife has had to get used to not receiving a card on her birthday, christmas day or Valentines day. I always use the argument that I don’t need a commercial company to dictate to me when and how I can show affection to my wife and that even if I did buy a card or flowers it didn’t really show any affection because I was obliged by the customs of the society I live in to do so anyway. Surely it would be genuine affection if any gift came apropos of nothing.

She doesn’t buy this argument anymore largely because I don’t unexpectedly produce gifts arbitrarily throughout the year. So this year I made an exception, but instead of simply buying her something which only requires a trip to the shops I decided to do something far more personal and meaningful – cook her a meal.

This I did. I scoured the recipe books, chose the dishes, went into town to buy the ingredients and set about making the meal. Unfortunately I hadn’t read the method part closely enough for the sticky almond cake and was dismayed to discover that I had to leave the dough for a total of four hours before I baked it. That particular dessert will have to wait until tomorrow which is probably for the best because the home made mayonnaise I whipped up was a lot more filling (and tasty) than any shop bought one.

It was interesting to do and one or two lessons were learnt.

For example, the recipe for the almond cake called for three cardamon pods. I hadn’t a clue what they were, I just found them in the supermarket and bought them. The method then instructed thus; ‘Remove the seeds from the cardamon and crush. Add to the bowl with the almonds…’ So I carefully removed the seeds from the pods and crushed the pods which I then placed in the bowl. It was only common sense which made me consider the texture of the pods and decide that they lacked any appetizing qualities or aromatic scents and that maybe I had misinterpreted the instruction.

The instruction is probably grammatically correct, but who knows grammar these days? I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and relied totally on the instructions. The list of ingredients called for cardamon pods, not seeds, presumably because you can only get hold of the pods. The instruction then should have read, ‘Remove the seeds from the cardamon and crush the seeds. Add the crushed seeds to the bowl…’ and no confusion could have arisen.

Such a simple addition but the clarification is improved one hundred percent.

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