2015 Blooper Post
I don’t have quite as many failures to post as I did a year ago.
It would be a mistake to assume that this means everything succeeded! It’s more that this year, I started experiments much more deliberately, knew that I would have failures to begin with, and so either didn’t bother to photograph the early stages at all, or have a long series of uninteresting record shots building up to (what I hope will be) a success.
I mean – how many pictures do you want to see of bread, when I’ve yet to post a recipe? (The last two loaves were worse than the previous, not better – though still significantly better than the first few! I’m going back a few steps to see where I went off track.)
Sometimes the problem was the picture, not the recipe. I include, for your amusement, an unedited picture of caramelized onion. I have no idea what color balance filters my camera used to get that neon yellow. Yes, I can fix it in the post processing, but really – it was quite startling when I downloaded the pictures! I promise you, that’s not what I saw…
And it’s astonishing how hard it is to get a good shot of whipped cream. Mounds of fluffy white on white – all the color just blows out so you don’t see the shadow… Culturally, we’re used to the stuff coming out of the nozzle on the can. I whipped my own for years, for special meals, because it’s more luxurious with heavy cream and vanilla, and now I do both for that and to avoid sugar – so mounds of cream spooned out of a bowl look “better” to me. In person. But those pictures… I may have to break down and use a pastry bag with a star nozzle just to get the pretty shapes.
Baked ziti. Tasted OK. Looked awful. Apparently I have to stop using greens in tomato sauce when I plan to write about the recipe – they do weird things to the color of the sauce. And I should take the time to grate the cheese and spread it evenly. But the only part that didn’t taste wonderful was the pasta – I was trying a new method for rice pasta and I’m not impressed – and that looks just fine… A picture really does not tell you what a dish will taste like, the popularity of Pinterest and Yummly notwithstanding.
Then there were the soggy-looking meatloaf muffins. Which actually reabsorbed all the moisture in a few minutes, and didn’t taste soggy at all. The picture I took 10 minutes later, of them unmolded on a platter, looks perfectly nice. But when I put that recipe in my roundup of most popular, I had to hunt a bit for a good shot…
OK, so I’m working on photography… I’ve improved, but I clearly still have a long way to go.
I don’t even know what this was, why I have a picture of it, what it was supposed to be, what it tasted like (if we even ate it…) Let’s just say that it would not appear to have been a glowing success.
I mentioned bread? You see why I didn’t post this? You don’t want to eat that. I didn’t want to eat it! (It wasn’t too awful as Melba toast…) It is improving…
Barbecue sauce. I thought I had a good idea. I still think I essentially do, in fact. I think I know what went wrong. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do about it. We ate it, it wasn’t awful, it was… meh. And it didn’t taste at all like barbecue sauce. Hopefully I’ll be inspired and you’ll see it next summer…
I have a wonderful recipe for cheese crackers that I got from my mom, who got it from a friend, who… And for years I used cookie cutters to form the crackers, and would bring them in to office parties and potlucks and things, so there was an option for people who for one reason or another didn’t want All Cookies and Candy All Day. (I first did it for an office Christmas party when a guy I worked with was diagnosed with diabetes. He was so happy, I continued.) I hadn’t made them for a while – but this December I found the recipe, decided to adapt it to gluten free – and forgot my previous discovery that gluten free flour does not absorb fat the same way wheat flour does. As well as not staying in pretty little cut out shapes, those things were greasy… really awful. Again I think I know the problem – and one of these days will have a version that is good.
So there you are. Experiments continue (especially as I work with gluten free versions of traditional foods.)
There will be bread. I had achieved Really Rather Good, and that’s OK for an occasional ordinary weekday meal (though I do still aim at better.) But something as fundamental as bread is not going out over my name until I can do better than that. And every time you fail, you learn something…
Or at least, I hope I do!
So, here’s to better pictures, and better food, and good bread in 2016. And thank you all for hanging out here with me through all this… being patient with my learning process, and (I hope!) enjoying the successes.
There are Plans for 2016… with much moving forward. I’m learning a lot, trying several new things (trying not to ride madly off in all directions…) and it is very exciting. I hope you enjoy it as much as I plan to!