Monday, December 28, 2009

the "there and then" moment

We all know about the "there and then" moment in relationships.
He breaks up with you, tells you that you should go out with his friend for a while and then you all can revisit the decision in a few months, he admits to cheating on you but says that the Neil Young song, Helpless ran through his head the entire time, your first trip away together, you get in a fight and he doesn't talk to you for 3 days, not a word. For each of those, There and Then, you should have known.
Well the same applies to cooking. When the pie crust was awash in melted butter and setting off the fire alarm, there and then, I should have known. The moment I realized that I hadn't added leavening to the cobbler dough, when the dog whimpered and backed away from the Cornish game hen, when the expiration date was 3 dogs ago, half way into making gingerbread and I discovered I didn't have any ginger and convinced myself that cloves and cardamom were a perfectly acceptable substitute, 3/4 of the way into making gingerbread and I realized I had used dried mustard in place of the ground ginger.
The only time I actually recognized the there and then moment was one of my first cakes. I was at my grandmother's house and baking a cake from a box mix. The directions called for 1 1/2 cups of water. I read this as 11 and 2 and added 13 cups of water. (I was probably 8 and it was surely my the first time I solo baked.)
I showed the watery soup to my mother and explained that I had just followed the directions. She explained how to read fractions. I wanted to know how we could salvage it. Could I strain it, add 6 more boxes of mix? "No, you'll just have to pour it down the drain."
Maybe it is easier to recognize another person's There and Then.

No comments: