In my early teen years, I loved to bake and was pretty good at it. I took home ec and one of the fun things we learned to make was lollipops. My mom taught me how to make caramel corn. I did really well following a recipe.
Forward a bit and I’m in college. Our church did a fun event called Dinners for Eight. They had different couples go to host homes and everyone brought something to add to the dinner. There were a few couples that were just friends that partnered up so they could be a part of the event each month. I was one of those couples.
One particular month, my partner and I “hosted” the dinner at my parent’s house. There were married couples and one other couple that were just partnered up for the event.
We were having spaghetti for dinner. Like I said, I was a wonderful baker and I could follow a recipe. So my mom wrote out her recipe for her spaghetti sauce. (It’s posted on my blog, http://www.sheilaskitchen.wordpress.com) Everything was going great. I had the sauce done and had tasted it. It was ok, not quite Mom’s, but ok. But I did notice that it didn’t quite look like hers, the Italian Seasoning had little balls in it. I didn’t remember my mom’s sauce having them, but the jar said Italian Seasoning and I had followed the recipe that said Italian Seasoning.
We sat down to eat. Once I had it on my plate and eating it with the pasta, I knew something was wrong. It was the little balls. What were those things? I started scooting mine out of the sauce to the side and everyone was doing the same. I apologized. At least it was still edible without the little balls, but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
After the dinner, my parents came home. I showed my mom how it turned out and the jar of seasoning. She started to laugh.
She had put dill seasoning mix, the kind you use to make pickles in an old jar of Italian Seasoning and hadn’t changed the label. I had grabbed it instead of the one she used in the “newer” jar. The little balls were mustard. Ick! Definitely not my finest hour of cooking.
I was convinced that following the recipe exactly would help me make my mom’s sauce.
We all have cooking mishaps, thankfully, mine are few & far between now, but they still happen.
Just for the record, my partner at the dinner is now my husband and we’ve been married 18 years. I’m sure he wondered if I would learn to cook well or if I would only bake cookies and brownies.