Oops I did it again

First published 18/5/07

It’s becoming a bit of a specialty of mine. Part way into cooking dinner I realise that I don’t have a particular ingredient. Sometimes it’s kind of major – like spaghetti when I’m making spaghetti bol. Last night it was merely the chutney for the curried sausages. I am trying to think of other examples. There are many – like starting to prepare tacos, and I find I have no taco sauce. Or a salad and I’m out of lettuce. Sometimes I discover early enough to make a mercy dash the 400m to the corner store. It doesn’t carry a lot – and certainly nothing much in fruit and veg. And you also need to discover this before their winter season closing time of 6pm, or summer time of 7pm. Last night I lucked out (UK vernacular) with the time factor.

I don’t know.. I’m sure at some point I had chutney on a shopping list, but that was probably one of the times I forgot/lost the list, or didn’t even think to take it out of my bag. (Yep, I do that too!) I would have wandered through the supermarket in my usual daze, using the ‘trigger’ method of shopping. [ie. Much like a flow chart, it goes something like this: Notice salad dressings -> do we need salad dressing? -> if yes, select a salad dressing and place in shopping trolley. If no -> continue pushing trolley down aisle -> Notice sauces -> Do we need sauce? …. etc etc.]

So last night I managed to substitute some spread and a bit of tomato paste, and the children pronounced the sausages ‘different but still ok’. Phew. Gourmet (hah) meal crisis averted.

There’s the flipside to this of course. Sometimes I end up overstocking. A glitch in The supermarket trigger approach, much like cracked record: “Oh yes, that’s right – I’m out of Chinese 5 spice powder. “…. … “Oh yes, that’s right – I’m out of Chinese 5 spice powder.”… … “Oh yes, that’s right – I’m out of Chinese 5 spice powder.” I now have about 3 jars of Chinese 5 spice powder in my pantry, and given the rate at which I use it I will never need to buy it again until I am about 90. Either that, or when the children finally move out of home, I will be able to set them up with a jar of Chinese 5 spice powder each for their pantries.

It must have been the night for Misadventures in Cooking. It’s a bit discombobulating to see that ‘vague’ genes can be so easily passed on to the next generation. Ms 11¾ decided to make a cake last night. One of our family favourites – a quick mix lemon delicious cake. Warning bells should have started ringing when she asked me to help her spoon the mixture into the pan, and then just as I started doing so, said “Oops, I haven’t greased the pan yet!”. [I slop the mixture back into bowl, casually thinking that it looks very smooth and less yellow than normal. Kid washes pan. Sprays pan. Start again.] When I take it out of the oven later, it looks different to normal.. and despite the greased pan, it is sticking. When I try to tip it out, it falls out in pieces. Hmmm – she’s forgotten some ingredient….

This morning I ask her what she might have left out of the cake mix. Oh duh! .. she says. The eggs.

Himself is about to have a bit of a rant [he is still not quite over her banana smoothie spillage the night before – all over the bench, trickling down the cupboard doors, and a big lake of it on the kitchen floor] when I fix him with a ‘look’. Forgetting the eggs?! Pffft. Been there done that. “Remember the time….?” Hmmm, yes, I won’t forget that one. I was making someone’s birthday cake the night before a party – a double batch of my tried and true butter cake mix so as to make a ‘slab’ to then cut or shape into a novelty cake – when, at about 10.30pm it comes out of the oven and it is a complete flop. Literally. That time I realised I had neglected to double the quantity of eggs when I doubled the rest of the ingredients. Who would have thought that only using half the number of eggs in a recipe would have such an effect! At least Ali’s ‘no-eggs’ mishap last night is an education as to the role eggs play in a cake!

I’m sure we are not the only ones to do ‘vague’ so well when it comes to shopping and cooking. Go on, make me feel better, and let me know that you do it too.


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