Saturday, June 11, 2011
Today was a day of "Well, now I know".
Today, I tried something new. Lots of new somethings, actually. I gave in to Alex's pleading and tried my hand at cake pops. I borrowed my mother in law's smoker and smoked the salmon my Dad bought me. I made a pot roast. I woke up at 6am. On a Saturday.
Most people would think this is too much "new" in one day. Most people, however, are more or less sane. I don't think I've ever made that claim.
We were up early because Dusty had to get to his test- which he passed with flying colors by the way! (I knew he would- my dream said so.) This left Alex and I in a strange state of mind. By 7:30am, we felt like we should do something. But it was too early to play outside and, frankly, too early to do much of anything. So I cleaned the fish tank while Alex yelled at the Wii about how "UNFAAAAIIIIIRRRRR" that last play was. At this point, the fish was the only member of our household grateful for the early rising.
Finally we got dressed and headed for the farmer's market and the library. We decided to do the library first, because Alex said so. You should have seen the look on Alex's face and mine when we realized that the library wasn't open yet. WE made it to the library BEFORE it opened? On a SATURDAY? Clearly, the stars were not aligned.
To kill some time- because Alex was determined to go to the library before the market, even though the market was in full swing just 1/2 block away- we went in search of cake pop sticks. We went to the fabric store and the craft store. If you've ever been in one of these stores, you probably know the general attitude that seems to be required of craft store employees: screw you. At least in my experience, "Hi! Can I help you?" is out of the question. Probably eye contact is as well. And if you have the nerve to walk up to an employee and politely inquire about the location of whatever you're looking for, you will likely get a look that says "If you have to ask, clearly you aren't crafty enough to know", accompanied by a finger pointing vaguely at the other end of the store. Needless to say, we didn't find the Wilton brand paper pop sticks that I wanted. I settled for some wooden dowels, assumed Dusty would cut them, and hoped for the best.
After a morning that passed by v e r y s l o w l y, we were back at home and ready to tackle projects. Isn't "projects" just the general term for "stuff that will make you wonder what you're thinking"? Here are some very important things I learned today:
-Too much frosting when making cake balls is bad. It makes them mushy. If they are mushy, they don't hold up on the stick, which means they will become "cake balls speared with a wooden dowel". Not cute "cake pops".
-For smoking salmon, you need a meat thermometer. I won't mention why I don't own a functioning meat thermometer anymore. *cough* (Dusty) *cough*
-Wood chips only last for about an hour. I learned this approximately 3 hours into the smoking process.
-Those cute, perfectly rounded cake pops on Bakerella's blog? Yeah...they aren't easy. I started out intending to make cute globe-shaped cakes on paper sticks. What did I end up with? Haystack shaped lumps on wooden dowels. That could sink to the bottom of the dowel at any moment, just to keep you on your toes.
-I also learned that the above lesson bugs the crap out of me, to the point where I may need to reevaluate my life's priorities. Somehow it seems that over the course of one day, "Perfect Cake Pops" has become Priority #1. I understand this isn't logical. I'm working on it.
-Pot roast needs way more spices than I put in it. And even then, it'll probably never taste as good as my Mom's. Probably I should shelf that dish and invite myself over to dinner at her place more often. (For the record, she'll tell you I'm a better cook than she is. She lies.)
-My Dad is way too nice to just come out and say "Your pot roast sucks, Brianna".
-Alex is way too nice to say "the cake pops aren't working, Mommy." He waited all day (because they were so screwed up that they took about 9 HOURS!) with an optimism that could literally insipre a nation to end hunger.
-When it comes down to optimism vs. exhaustion, sometimes you fall asleep. See pictures for proof.
So, the good news is I learned a lot today. I may have made haystack shaped, falling down and generally not Birthday Party Quality cake pops- but I think I know how to fix them next time. And I made a crappy pot roast, but...well, forget that one. I wasn't kidding about just going to Mom's next time. And the salmon may have taken hours and left me only *mostly* sure that it's edible, but now I know to buy a meat thermometer and change the wood chips.
After all, knowing is half the battle.