May 25, 2024

A Bad Culinary Week

Things have not gone well in the cooking department this week. Two days ago I was baking banana bread for yesterday’s coffee hour at the Clifton Springs Library. I poured the batter into three small (2 × 5 × 2¼ in.) silicone pans and placed the pans in the oven on one of the wire racks. Since baking was to take about an hour, I then went into the bathroom to take a shower.

As I was drying off from my shower, I detected a burning smell, which was not how my banana bread was supposed to smell. When I opened the oven, I discovered that the soft-sided pans had listed to the side and disgorged some of their contents. I quickly decided to write off my baking project, removed the silicone pans, and assessed the damage. Some of the batter clung to the oven racks—this was cleaned up easily enough—and some of it fell to the bottom of the oven. Unfortunately, the oven floor has wide slits on either side, and some of the batter fell into one of them. I turned off the oven and, when it cooled, removed whatever semi-baked batter was visible. Later, after regaining my composure, I got out my nut driver, removed the oven floor, and cleaned up the mess under it. I put the oven back together and attended coffee hour the next day empty-handed.

Today, I had another cooking project. I had agreed to make potato salad for the Memorial Day picnic for my apartment building. As the potatoes were boiling and later cooling, I collected the other ingredients for the dish, chopping as necessary. One of my recipe’s ingredients is chopped parsley. I have been told that this is unusual, but I haven’t researched the matter. Certainly, parsley doesn’t make my potato salad seem strange. (The apple cider vinegar is another matter, but I like the recipe.) I was midway through chopping parsley and adding it to a bowl of chopped hard-boiled egg when I realized that I wasn’t chopping parsley at all. I had mistakenly bought cilantro, an ingredient of which I am not at all fond.

Realizing that not everyone has the same aversion to cilantro that I do, I stopped chopping and substituted dried parsley for the remaining “parsley” that hadn’t yet been added to the chopped egg. The resulting potato salad tastes different from my usual effort—one can definitely taste cilantro—but my hope is that people will still find it acceptable.

I’m planning to cook as little as possible this weekend.

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