Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Omnivore readers, regular and casual followers - I have a most shameful confession to make. I have never consciously lied to you. I have never attempted to mislead you, or pretended to know more (or less) about a topic than I do. All I have to offer is my experiences with food, my tastes and ideas about what does or does not make it satisfying. The main thing I hope you draw from this forum is some small amount of entertainment, and an idea of how I go about trying to eat as well as I can, whether at home or out in a restaurant or café. Please accept my apologies if I have ever put you wrong - I can only ever call it as I see it. And I reiterate - I have never lied to you.
Well, apart from that once.
Just before Anzac Day I wrote a post about how I had made the delicious Anzac biccies off the Chelsea website. I described the deliciously chewy, not too sweet, not too hard biscuits I made by simply following the recipe. Ho, ho, ho, we chortled - old dumbo finally managed to bake something half decent by following a recipe!
Except, um, I didn't. It was like this - I could either write the blog post, and have something up for you to read, or ignore, or whatever, for Monday. OR I could bake the biscuits. There simply wasn't time to do both. I decided to fudge it. I imagined, instead, a scenario where I made perfect biscuits, and shared my achievement with you. Except, like Gordon Ramsay's claims to an earlier pro football career, or someone who invents a job history and fake references to get a foot in the door of a desired job, I told a wee white lie.
Well, actually, quite a big one. One that made me feel guilty enough that come the actual Anzac Day, I thought I'd better make the bloody biscuits. Plus One would be back from a trip down south, which meant I would also have supervision, which is a good thing. A friend from Auckland was also staying - bearing witness, if you will, to my attempt to make good on something I had already laid claim to.
"Plus One?" I holler. "Have we got any coconut?"
"Have you had a look?"
"Where should I look?"
Thus begin the problems in the Omni HQ kitchen.
"Hey - are baking soda and baking powder basically the same thing?" Oops. Who knew?
I follow the recipe - ish. It looks a bit wet. Whatever - what do I know? It suggests making a dozen cookies, but I like BIG biscuits, so I just make nine, spread out on the oven tray. They go into the notoriously unreliable oven.
...for about five of their allotted 14-minute cooking time, when there is an unpleasant burning smell and a plume of smoke rising from the oven. Opening the oven door, I see my nine large biscuits have fused together into one giant uber-biscuit, and are sliding off the tray and spilling on to the element below.
And catching fire. "Umm, Plus One...?"
She comes to my aid - I take the undercooked uber-biscuit out of the oven, and concentrate on extinguishing the blazing oven - with a handful of flour (her idea - I would have probably attacked it with the watering can).
The uber-biscuit gazes back at me, forlornly. I am reluctant to throw it out, so I start picking at it. It tastes awesome - ha! Even when I screw something up, it still tastes good! But - not quite the way I had already described it in the previous blog. Between the three of us, we eat the baking mishap, as much by way of destroying the evidence of my failure, and my lie, as anything else.
The following weekend, I have another go, this time with more intensive supervision, and actually do as the recipe dictates. Well, actually, I mostly sort of "help" P1 make the biscuits, mostly by keeping out of the way. Remarkably, they do actually turn out okay, which I reckon (sort of) makes good on the earlier blog.
Phew. I hope you accept my sincere apology for the earlier fiction, and I do hereby swear - I will not do it again. Unless...
Did you have a crack at Anzac biccies this year? How did you fare? When did you last set the oven on fire, and how did you extinguish the blaze? And - can you forgive my fiction? Please?!
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