Holiday advice: Go with what you know
It’s a good thing.
Being a “foodie,” I collect recipes as though I have time to cook, and found a few I thought I’d try for Thanksgiving.
One was for cranberry relish that is baked.
“Cool,” I thought, “That will save me time tending it on the stove.”
The recipe said it was less messy because you didn’t have to worry about cranberries popping and splattering all over the place. Splattering cranberries hasn’t been a problem for me, but the idea of freeing my hands of stirring the stuff while cooking six other things at the same time was appealing. So, in the oven the cranberries went.
And when out they came, they were the same perfect round berries they were when they went in.
So, I had to get a mashing tool and smash those little berries. So much for stuff not splattering cranberries all over the place – and saving time.
I’ll stick to my own cranberry relish recipe next year.
I picked up a new cookbook in Galveston when we were there recently for a meeting. It featured a pecan pie recipe that looked gorgeous. It was baked in a springform pan, cooled, inverted, and the bottom (which would now be the top) and the sides were topped with pecan halves and sealed with a bourbon glaze.
To make a long and expensive story short, after almost two hours in the oven (it was supposed to be one hour, but it looked like soup at that point) I ended up with an inedible gelatinous glob.
I should have been tipped off when the recipe called for “1/2 quart light syrup.” Isn’t that two cups? And, isn’t that a lot of syrup for a pecan pie? I don’t know. I’m a cook, not a baker. I followed the instructions.
The authors of the cookbook have my sympathies.
As a young reporter, I cooked up an idea to get recipes from our readers and publish them. The idea went over well, until I misread a recipe for fruitcake that called for 3/4 of a cup of several kinds of dried fruits. I thought it meant 3 to 4 cups. I was on the phone a lot that week.
This story has two morals. One is to stick with tradition when it comes to holidays. The other is, trust your gut instincts, especially when it comes to food.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at email@example.com, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.