If you missed it the first two days of this week, it’s Cooking Up Romance’s first blogiversary! I’m celebrating by giving away a $50 Amazon Giftcard, which you can enter to win here.
If you’ve ever looked at one of my photos and thought, “Aw, how come my food doesn’t look that good?!?” this post is for you. Because not everything works for me either. I just tend not to publish my failures. Although if you follow me on Twitter, you probably have a sense of how often I burn myself doing something stupid. It’s…a lot.
Not every oops involves injury though and there has been a bloggy learning curve. For instance, whenever I open up the folder where I store all my Cooking Up Romance photos, right in the upper right hand corner–the first thing I see–is a folder entitled “all the f*cking tarts”. You can probably guess how I was feeling by the time I finally published my review of Laura Florand’s book The Chocolate Thief. Those sexy French pastry chefs sure set a high standard! But the main problem was that I hadn’t figured out the settings on my camera yet and got, well, this.
In case you can’t tell, that’s out of focus, the color balance is wrong, the composition is terrible and the wrinkled placemat was a particularly nice touch, I thought. But I didn’t look at the photos until we’d eaten all the tarts. I had to make them all over again in order to get better photos. I’ve gotten better, thank goodness! And lesson learned. Look at the photos BEFORE eating the food.
Then there are the recipes I love and everyone else hates.
Aren’t those adorable little petit fours? When Alexis Hall’s Liberty and Other Stories came out at the beginning of the year, I made three batches of what I thought were going to be the perfect quirky petit fours. Unfortunately, I sent them to work with my husband and they were…well…just a little too quirky. Turns out nobody else liked the combination of Lapsang Souchong (a smoky flavored tea) and vanilla buttercream as much as I did.
Still pretty though.
Here’s a fun one. I was super inspired by Jackie Ashenden’s hero in Living in Shadow. He’s from West Africa originally and I thought it might be interesting to try making some traditional West African cuisine. I was drawn to a recipe on an ex-pat site that suggested making pepper sauce for plantain fritters out of 20 Scotch bonnet peppers. Not 2, but 20. Two. Zero. That’s a shit ton of EXTREMELY HOT PEPPERS.
Um. I thought I was going to die. Or permanently kill off all my taste buds or something. I’ve got a pretty good tolerance for spice, but that one? Well, let’s just say it exceeded it. The final recipe ended up with ONE Scotch bonnet pepper. And it was still pretty hot. OUCH.
Then there are the recipes that are delicious and perfect…and resemble a scene from Sweeney Todd. There have actually been several of these, the most egregious of which was the duck with citrus cherry port sauce I made for my review of 1960s romance Nurse Janice Calling. Once you see the bloody pulp and blood splatters, you can’t unsee it. Go ahead, thank me.
*insert horror movie sound effects here*
Finally, there was the time I dropped my phone onto a tray of just-piped meringue dessert cups. I didn’t take a photo of that one though. You’ll just have to take my word for it. My vast and creative vocabulary of four-letter and other not-for-polite-company words.
What about your impressive kitchen disasters? Come on–tell me about the time you set the stove on fire. (I’ve totally done it, just not in the past year.)