Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Joy of Miserable Failure

For reasons that elude me, my ability to made enchiladas totally evaporated this past weekend. It's as if a small lump of my brain secretly escaped from my head, with all the directions for making enchiladas. The circumstances were admittedly pinched. I made the tortillas in a fit of boredom, without really knowing what I would do with them. I pulled out the tortilla press and thought, "I've never seen this before in my life!" What happened to my old tortilla press? And what do I do with this thing? It took me a while until I remembered, AH, plastic! The dough must have been too dry too, because the edges were all cracked. Am I supposed to use lard? Like I said, it just escaped me. But I persevered as only the maniacally driven can do.

And then the lights went out. Totally. So put the tortillas in the fridge, hoping everything in there wouldn't spoil. And went out for Thai food.

Then the next day I had work to do in the morning, hurried and harried. And a superbowl party to go to that afternoon. And I think, ah, I'll just whip up some enchiladas out of these and voila. I have some black beans, tomatoes, cheese, some nice pasillas to roast into a sauce. I have absolutely no idea what next transpired, because I whipped myself into a frenzy, chucked all this stuff together, cursed the tortillas for falling apart, threw in handfuls of whatever I could find. Haven't I done this before? And it wasn't it luscious?

Well, what ever I did, this malformed enchilada casserole sucked.

So what did I learn from this lesson? 1. Think first, cook later. 2. Find a recipe if you're not sure how to do it, as loathe as you might be to actually following directions in a cookbook. 3. Never make something complicated in a hurry. 4. And here's the most important thing:EVERYTHING NEED NOT BE MADE FROM SCRATCH! No one bloddy cares if you made the tortillas yourself, burnt your fingers chopping chilies, and even rubbed your eyes with spicy fingers. I could have bought some tortillas, dumped in salsa and cheese and a few beans and it would have been lovely, even edible.

Instead I got baked on corn stoge to scrape out of the casserole yesterday. It's still soaking in the damned sink. But I will have my revenge. I will download that enchilada file in my brain again, cookwith patience and show the Gods of Discord that once I wielded the tortilla press with unquestioned acumen. Bring it on....


Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...


This reminds me of a cooking disaster a few weeks ago, in which I was baking bread on the top shelf of the oven, and decided to steam squash on the bottom (both to cook squash for soup and to produce steam for the bread). Without thinking, I poured cold water into my pre-heated glass baking dish, and stepped back from the oven just in time to avoid the explosion that sent burning hot shards of glass flying through my kitchen.

At least these disasters make for entertaining blog stories, no?

emily said...

I have a similar penchant for relying only on creativity/experience/memory when teaching classes at dept stores, cooking shops, anywhere the public will watch enthralled while I produce miraculous food w aplomb.

I'll make up a grand menu when asked to do the class, months before, then forget all about it until the night before (or so) when I ask myself, omygod-what did I mean by "Pepper Souffles with Brazil Nut Coulis"??

Pressure breeds creativity, for sure, but every once in a while it just brings on drama. Perhaps we rely on the truth that when food must be made, sometimes it is glorious and forget that it might border on tragic. So far, I've managed to fool the folks, with sweaty palms and confident smiles. Invariably, someone from the class will email asking for a part of the process she/he forgot, saying it was the best thing they'd ever et! Oy

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