Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Messes and Successes

I am not great at a lot of things. I have always wondered (especially when I'm in the middle of a pity party) why God blesses some people with a seemingly endless list of gifts. We all know those people. They are beautiful, athletic, out-going, the center of the party. Their world always looks put together. They have the best clothes. They have the best time!

I am not athletic, musical, artistic. I was sort of a wallflower in middle and high school, preferring my friends to be the standouts. I wanted to fit in with the popular group without having to do anything to  get there.

After we got married, it became one of my jobs to cook supper every night. I was home earlier than Eddie by several hours (school got out at around 2pm) so it was just logical. Prior to this, I didn't have a ton of interest in cooking. I cooked on the weekends when Eddie was in Athens because it was cheaper than eating out every meal.

But I found what I'm not bad at. I hate to say that I'm good at cooking, but I think that I might be.

Until I met a dish called "Shrimp and Grits."

Shrimp and Grits is probably on Eddie's top-ten list of foods he hopes are in Heaven. If we're ever out and Shrimp and Grits is on the menu, he orders it. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's just ok, but he's on a mission to find who does it best.

And it became my goal to be the best.

Let's face it. If you've made Shrimp and Grits before, you know that it's not a beginner's dish. My recipe is not anyway. The grits require water, butter, and chicken broth. The pan in which the shrimp is cooked must be deglazed with white wine. It's just challenging. (And then there's the fact that you need to wear long sleeves and gloves with all of the popping and splattering from the grits and the bacon grease!)

Tonight I set out making this dish for the second time in my life. The first attempt went ok. It wasn't extraordinary. It would not have won any awards. It was ok. Tonight resulted in an epic failure. And by epic failure, I mean that tears, slammed cabinets, and several choice words were involved.

First, I decided to half the grits recipe since it's one that I've made to feed 10 people before. Eddie and I are just two. They don't reheat well. It's still too much, but at least halving would make it better! I measured the correct amount of butter and chicken broth and then went to add the cream and that is where it all began to fall apart. I put the correct amount of cream according to the recipe. Which is obviously double what I needed. After that, I was out of chicken broth and cream. The meltdown began, but I soon thought I might turn it around by using a bouillon cube and half-and-half. I started the bacon in the pan, went to add in my grits, and before I knew it my spoon had melted to the pan. MELTED. I knew that would happen because I've SEEN it happen before, but I have never been the one to actually melt a stupid spoon onto a pan. Obviously, it was all downhill after that. There is absolutely no way to come back from a melted-spoon-and-bacon combination.

It is a little more laughable now than it was twenty minutes ago. I am so glad that I am not being graded on how well I can cook. Or do anything for that matter! The fact that my house needs to be swept, my child is still in his pajamas, and I haven't had a shower today are going to mean nothing in the long run. It is so much more than that.

I am still learning. I am still trying to figure this world around me out. I will always have failures. But I know that the things that matter are my successes. Am I able to feed my family? Yes. Is my child happy and healthy? Yes. Do we usually look clean and presentable? Yes.

Oh, the messes and successes of life!!!

I'm trying to pick myself up while Eddie and James go to the grocery store to replace the ruined items and then run through Chick-fil-A so that we'll have supper tonight.

I WILL have a success later in the week and I will post pictures and a recipe to prove it!

What messes have you learned from?


pcb said...

Bless your heart! Your tale made me flash back to an ill-fated pie. We hadn't been married long and I was going to make something SPECIAL. I'll spare you the details, but after all the trauma involved with making the pie (including a from-scratch crust), I took it out of the oven and set it onto the top to cool, where the glass pie plate immediately exploded into a zillion pieces. I had forgotten that I'd just turned the burner off. Oh yes, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth...and a huge mess!

Anna Catherine said...

Just last weekend I made Lance pancakes and sausage balls at his house. You've used that oven/stove combo before in that house. It wasn't pretty. The sausage balls were still edible, but the smoke detector went off 3 times until Lance just pulled it off the wall. Then, he opened the doors to let some of the smell out (no smoke, just smoky smell) and a bunch of flies got in.
He still thought it was good, but dang it was not fun to make!

Anonymous said...

woah.......our posts do coincide. Personally, I'm impressed you even attempted Shrimp & Grits. That is nowhere on the list of dishes I care to know anything about preparing. I am saying a little prayer now that one day I marry a man that only likes to eat the things I can already cook :) I will share a little story with you though......in college I was trying to empress some silly BF at the time & wanted to make a chicken dish that seemed easy, yummy & boy friendly. Well....after several not so fun trips to the bathroom later he came to the realization that I hadnt cooked the chicken all the way. Oops! Looking back now he kind of deserved it in the end.....but, hey(!)...at least you didnt hurt anyone!!!! hahaa.... third time has got to be the charm w/ those Shrimp & Grits!