May 24, 2009

Glitch in the Kitchen

There are some days when I feel a little bit talented. Yesterday, for example, I wrote and performed a beat poem for a dear friend's 30th birthday. Alisha seemed to love her lyrical tribute, and the crowd laughed along as well.

But then just when I'm starting to get a little self-confident, events conspire against me. Like today, when I decided... to bake.

We were expecting a bunch of my Impro Mafia cohorts in the evening for a rehearsal. The show, which is  coming up on Sunday 7 June at the Brisbane Arts Theatre, is called Agatha Holmes, and it's a parody of Agatha Christie/Sherlock Holmes style detective stories.

"Pikelets!" I exclaimed to The Wah in the early afternoon. "Pikelets are lovely and English, high tea stuff! I'll make some, and it will help set the tone for the rehearsal!"

The Wah took this - wisely - as a cue to sequester himself away in his Bat Cave, while I set about making some fresh pikelet batter. Through a comedy of errors, we'd ended up with six litres of milk in the fridge, and since neither of us drink huge amounts of moo juice, I thought it would be a good way to use up some of it.

Things got off on the wrong foot when I found out I didn't have a recipe. Mistake number two was combining a few recipes off the net to make use of the ingredients I had in the cupboard. It didn't taste too bad, but suffered a sort of structural collapse on entry to the hot pan.

"Never fear," I thought, trying not to let my first disastrous attempt get me down. "There's a pancake shaker mix in the cupboard. I'll forget the milk, just add a little less water, and use that!"

Five minutes later:

Despondent, I wandered through the seven layers of fortification into the Bat Cave to inform The Wah that would we not be having pikelets after all. It had been a double-batter epic failure.

But then, it struck me.

"Scones!" I cried. "Scones are far more British than pikelets! I'll make them instead!"

Now my lack of self-raising flour, a stone-cutter, or any previous experience at making scones failed to deter me from this idea. Nor my already poor record in the kitchen. A few minutes later, I had found a recipe online that used plain flour, and started mixing. Everything looked good - I kneaded the mix into a fine ball, and used a glass to cut out the scones.

The first error was forgetting that my "hot oven" seems to be a lot hotter than most people's hot ovens. Before I knew it, the scones were more like toast:

Still, I let them cool, and proudly told my fellow improvisers when they arrived that although they were a little burned, we would still be enjoying Proper. English. Scones a bit later - with whipped cream and everything.

But when the time came for scones - absolute catastrophic disaster.

I cut a bit off one scone and popped it into my mouth. A bitter, acidic taste filled my senses - what was this? I tasted another part - my tongue sizzled again. I tried a third part with a bit of cream, but it didn't help.

Something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

I was forced to declare to the group that we would not be having scones after all, as they were not fit for human consumption. This only piqued the interest of Wade, who nibbled on a piece only to screw his face up in pain and exclaim "Oh God, it just gets worse and worse!" Mike Skillz and Luke grabbed a bit, only to suffer similar reactions. The others kept well away.

I went back online to discover what I'd done wrong. "I'm sure that recipe said four teaspoons of baking soda with the two cups of flour... oh, wait."

It was supposed to be four teaspoons of baking powder.

So not only do I failure - spectacularly - at being any kind of Proper Baking-Type of Woman, but it's apparent my eyesight and language comprension skills are also on the way out.

Sometimes I really do think I exist solely to give comfort to others that there is someone out there far, far more incompetent than they could ever be.


  1. Oh, this made me laugh a lot.

    I once used bread-mix in my pikelets instead of flower. It wasn't too bad, but they definately weren't "pikelets".

    Another time my brother wanted chocolate pikelets, and added grave-ox to the mix rather than cocoa powder. Wade probably would have loved them.

    I am rather proud to say that my own pikelet and pancake making endeavours mostly result in success.

  2. Oh bollocks, and I meant "flour" rather than "flower". I'm not sure that any baking endeavour has succeeded in using flowers rather than flour.

  3. you screwed up pikelet mix?
    really? But even bachelors can't screw up pikelet mix. thats um. strange.

    my mother once used dishwashing detergent instead of vegetable oil once - they come in similar bottles. That was an interesting meal.

  4. Crepes are one of the few foods I can cook! I have even, in the past, made slight alterations to the recipe. I'm pretty much an iron chef.

  5. I successfully made jelly on the weekend, so I am feeling particularly smug today.

    **Note: Yes is was packet jelly and I just added water a stirred, but dammit I am still pretty pleased with myself.

  6. This is why I have dogs. A cooking disaster never goes to waste, cos my hounds will woof down anything at all.

  7. I laughed myself stupid on this one, and kept thinking "I bet she forgot the fracking eggs again," alah an upside down cake that you posted a while ago (maybe it wasn't a cake, but I'm pathetically lazy with researching it right now).

    I love how you still ran for the camera to take a picture.

  8. Now, please everyone, don't all rush to make me feel better all at once.

  9. You know what's really tragic? The moment you described the taste, I knew what had gone wrong.

    I fear for my manliness. I must go outside and sharpen the chainsaw again.

  10. try making sweet bread with salt in place of the suger or possible baking soda. your friends will be worried for months every time you show up with baked goods. (goods is a colliquoal term not an adjective.

  11. My Grandmother once used washing up detergent instead of salt in a recipe. So it could be worse.

  12. Dear, the scones my Gran and Ma made, absolute Heaven. Mother Dearest cannot bake scones, inspite of having the recipes. Just point out that the scone gene wasn't turned on, it's not your fault. I'd say that's my excuse but I haven't tested my scone gene yet gathering my courage Bangar.

  13. I've done the same thing with recipes!
    Out of one thing and substitute something else, or misreading the ingredient list.

    It's like adding tumeric instead of cinnamon to a coffeecake recipe! Yarghhh...

  14. Look at the went down with food poisoning.. But next time I'm in town we'll all go out for a meal eh? I'll even treat you!

  15. Chaz - just not a French patissierie, please?

    It's bad enough being a Failure at WomanHood without you taking the patiss.