Monday, June 22, 2015

Successes, Mistakes, and Salmon Cakes

People who read this blog, or come to the house for a nice lunch or dinner, ask if we eat like this all of the time. No. We probably do most of the time, and by most, I mean about 75%. The other 25% is made up of BLTs, scrambled eggs, fruit and cheese plates, or carryout from the local barbecue joint.

Another thing I'm asked is if I have any failures. Oh, yeah! I just don't tell you about those. (Here is one exception that eventually worked out favorably.) Last week, in fact, when I made a recipe for jambalaya, but mistakenly halved the first part of the recipe without halving the second part, it resulted in a sticky, gloppy, rice-filled disaster. Hello peanut butter and saltines!

I've also had successes that turned into failures, which brings to mind this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that ran a few years back, and that I happened upon recently in my files. (It was actually in the file that holds the owner's manuals for small kitchen appliances; don't ask me how it got there.)

I have no idea how the food editor of the Post got my name, or learned of my blog, but when the offer came to be a featured cook in the Food Section of the paper, I reluctantly accepted. I say reluctantly because, largely, well, entirely, I am not a seeker of publicity; I am the queen of the low profile, and I like it that way.
Choosing a recipe for the feature was no easy task (and I still regret taking my own picture for this, which resulted in my looking like a stern science teacher). I wanted something simple, make ahead, that would plate attractively, and have a wide appeal, so chose my salmon cakes. I had made these so many times that absolutely nothing go possibly go wrong. Nothing! By the time the photographer arrived to photograph the food (and, really, I think I could have taken the picture myself), I had them ready, cooled, plated, and waiting for their photography session. I'd made the sauce ahead of time and, as I do, had poured it into an icing bottle for easy and even dispersal on top of the cakes. What I did not realize, in my rather jittery state, was that I had put the wrong top on the icing bottle. Instead of the top with the wide opening, used to accommodate thicker sauces, I used the pointed top that is used for icings and glazes.
As the photographer stood by, I pulled out the bottle to dress the salmon cakes. I squeezed gently, ready to drizzle the sauce back and forth with great aplomb. Nothing happened. So I squeezed again. Nothing. Once more, and kaPOW! The lid blew off, sprayed glops of sauce onto the salmon cakes, spattering both the photographer and me in the going. I can still see bits of it hanging from her hair. Needless to say, I was mortified. I had to rinse and dry the salmon cakes, re-plate them, and scrape up what remained of the sauce to then apply with a small spoon.
I don't think the photographer, a young woman half my age, was at all amused, but we thought it was screamingly funny, still laughing after her departure while removing bits of sauce from the walls.

The lesson here of course, is to not let little upsets deter you. Embrace your uniqueness and press on!

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Linda said...

You are one fascinating gal! Great article about you, but your back story is hilarious. I love your photo - no stern scientist, you look pretty!

Jackie McGuinness said...

What a fun story!

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

Pattie, your post is both funny and horrifying. I have been cooking for a long time and it still upsets me when I have a failure. I need to adopt your attitude.

Ivy and Elephants said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe and story. I can't say which I enjoyed more!You are featured this week at Ivy and Elephants. Feel free to grab a featured button!