Saturday, August 27, 2011

If at first you don't succeed, have the good sense to know when to call it quits for hell's sake.

I have this friend.  I call him Napa Paul.  I call him that because he's from Napa, California, his first name is Paul and because I'm clever and witty.  Yes.  My nicknames for people have always sucked.

Napa Paul is actually who first started calling me Ginja Ninja.  I liked it, or rather, it's one of the few names I've been called that I didn't hate.  So I kept it.

He sometimes reads my blog.  He apparently read my posts where I failed miserably at baking cookies and then again with baking a cake.  He decided he would help by sending me a package in the mail.  He thinks he's funny.  He is not.

Containing my enthusiasm.  Can't wait to try them out. 
 After my previous failures in the kitchen, I had decided it just wasn't for me.  I would go ahead and scratch that off my list of things that make me awesome.  But then Napa Paul had to go and send me these cookbooks which basically obligated me to try again.  Damn you Napa Paul.  Damn you to hell. 

Fine.  FINE!  I decided to give it another shot.  I'd picked up a few tips and thought I had a pretty good idea of what I'd done wrong.  Actually I'd picked up A tip.  Singular.

The Real Housewife of H20Ville held a contest with the chance to win an adorable apron.  I didn't win.  But that's when it hit me what I'd been doing wrong.  I was improperly attired.  Well, I wasn't about to make that mistake again.  Only problem.  I don't own an apron.  However, if that's all that's standing between me and phenomenal baking glory, I would improvise.  In the form of lingerie.

I feel I should mention I was slightly inebriated when thinking this was a good idea.
And yeah.  I was wearing the thong.  Over the jeans.  The outfit needed to be complete and I was not taking any chances this time.  I was ready to bake!

I skimmed over the recipes and settled on lemon bars.  Simply because I recognized all the ingredients.  Butter, flour, sugar, eggs, lemon zest.  Whoa.  Wait, what?  What the hell is lemon zest?  Quick google search, uh huh, sure, grate the peel, got it.  Need cheese grater.  I was making these at E2's place while he was out and after much clanging and bashing of pots and pans, I came to the conclusion the boy does not own a cheese grater.  No big deal.  Clearly I'm a pro at improvisation so I grabbed the potato peeler and went to work.  Now.  As I mentioned, I was a little tipsy but even in my less than coherent state I realized this couldn't be right.

Here, have a lemon bar.  Those chunks you're biting into?  Delicious lemon zest.  Duh!

Okay, skip the zest.  How crucial could it be anyway?  Lets see.  Mix sugar, flour and softened butter.  I look down at the sticks of rock hard butter I just pulled out of the freezer.  Calls for 1 cup which is two sticks.  Why would they package them as half sticks of butter?  If they were stuck together 2 of them would make 1 stick so that means I need 4 sticks of butter to equal 1 cup.  Made sense at the time.  But clearly they were not soft and clearly I was not about to wait for them to soften up.  Two minutes in the microwave should do it.  Vino refill, check the butter.  Oh crap!  It's butter soup.  Just extra softened.  I'm sure it will be fine.

Pat the mixture into bottom of pan.  Pat?  That can't be right, I think as I POUR the mixture in.
I eventually get it all in the oven and wait for my lemon bar delights to bake to perfection.  Timer dings.  Out comes...

What's with the tumor?
Ummm...other than the misshapen lump, it looks totally edible.  I let it cool for an hour and try to cut into it.  It doesn't cut.  It crumbles into a soggy heartbreak.  Right about then E2 called and asked how it was going.  I told him.  He suggested putting it back in the oven and asked how long ago I had taken it out. 
Me: "An hour ago".
E2: "Oh.  Never mind.  It's too late".

I suppose this is what's to be expected when you use twice as much microwaved butter as you're meant to.

It really doesn't look as horribly wretched as it was.  E2 got home and actually ate a spoonful.  From the other room, I heard him immediately gag and spit it into the garbage.  The whole pan got dumped.

Then I got pissed.  How can this possibly be SO difficult??  Hundreds, probably thousands of people bake something delicious every day.  How can I be so incredibly inept?

 I was determined to try again.  E2 suggested I give it a couple of days.  He didn't think my ego was ready for another failure so soon.  I called him a mean name.  Then gave it a couple of days.

I tried yet again.  This time sober.  Mostly.  There was no microwaving, there was no pouring when there should have been patting, there was no mention of zest.  But there WAS success.

Booyah Bitches!!!!!
VICTORY IS MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Ooh I am seriously impressed!! I've had many experiences like your first one, except I wasn't drunk (*hangs head in shame*). Some of us just don't have that cooking/baking gene.

  2. Um...those look delish!! Could you send some over this way?!


  3. Who doesn't love a good pictorial blog post?

  4. Yay! Your lemon bars look delish!

    I've had more than my share of horribly embarrassing cooking/baking adventures, so I can totally sympathize. But for what it's worth, I think the lingerie apron (thong included) makes all the difference :-)

  5. Your posts about being terrible at cooking have inspired me to do my own blog post. Booya!

    Also, I love lemon bars. And that first foray into making them looks like squash casserole.

  6. I love lemon bars!

    I can't believe you put money into a hobby you clearly hate(d) (re: the apron). But it looks like in your case, it worked out.

  7. Ixy- And I'm starting to come to terms with my lack of the gene. One of these days I'll know when to give up.

    Working Mommy- I WOULD but my coworkers ate every last one of them. And I'm NOT making them again.

    Phil- Pictures are easier than reading. :)

    Amanda- Now you'll know to don the thong next time. Don the thong? Huh.

    Andrew- Heading over to read it!

    Mandy-Fish- The lingerie was actually a marriage remnant that hadn't seen the light of day in years. I figured I might as well get some use out of it.

  8. Good for you for taking on the challenge and succeeding. Your Booyah is well deserved.

  9. "If you're here you're awsome". Yep, I am. Particulaly after reading you comment on my blog. You loved my picture! Thank you!

    Now YOU made me smile! :P

    Hey, don't bother trying too hard. Cooking is really, really off-the-scale supah complicated. I can solve difficult math equations with many variables and still.. I can't cook. I've tried. Many times. No success.

    And hey.. you seem like a nice girl with a great sense of humor. I'm your newest follower!!

  10. My kids yelled at me for heating things up too much and not cooking enough. So I have to step it up. But I really don't want to live with anyone again, so I don't know what to do. :)

  11. stop by and leave a witty jazz hands comment and slink away. What? No follower love? I'm crushed. I'm now like a scorned girlfriend who will follow you and drive back and forth in front of your house hoping you'll notice me. (was that sad, follow back)

  12. i am laughing too hard reading this :)) (i've only had one beer) love your blog! i am now following and would love if you followed back :)))

  13. LOL! I really wish you would've won my apron! (Thanks for the shout out!) But I like your improvisation with the lingerie!! *Including thong over jeans! HA! :)
    Your final product looked really good!

  14. What you need to remember about cooking is: Put ingedrients in a bowl.
    Set on fire.
    Run away.
    How hard can it be?

  15. Congratulations on your success - I hate cooking and find no enjoyment what so ever. Without kids I would subsist on cereal and pizza. Wait. That's what my kids subsist on. Good for you for trying, bound to be a step in the right direction

  16. Actually, I think it's all in the zest!...I kid!
    I'm on a low carb diet. I would have happily eaten your first pan, raw dough or not!

  17. Yay! While I hate lemon bars,..kudos on your success!

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Woot Woot!!!! Cups Up Darling, you did it! xoxo

  20. Looks tasty and im sure taste great warm. Richard from Amish Stories

  21. I want lemon bars and nice French Press.

  22. So you are saying it is better to not be drunk when cooking? Duly noted.

  23. You make me smile.what a lovely post

    Thanks for visiting me,comment & flowing .Would love to hear more from you.

    Definitely following you.

  24. I would still eat it.

    The bars. I'm talking about the bars!!


  25. That's why I don't cook when I've been drinking. The second batch looks professional though.

  26. Kimberly Montgomery- Booyahs all around!!! They're on me!

    Luisa Rodriguez- I'm glad I'm not the only one but honestly, I don't think we're missing out on much. After all, good take-out is just a phone call away.

    Wow- Really? REALLY? And I thought I was bad.

  27. Mrs. Tuna- After a lifetime of poor life choices, slinking away has become second nature. To alleviate any boiled bunnies showing up on my doorstop, I'll be right over with a finger poised above the follow button. How can I possibly say no after that?

    Humanity is Beautiful- Sometimes, one beer is all it takes for me to be amused by myself. And sometimes, there's not enough beer in the state.

    KSK- I wish I would have too. It was adorable! Ah well, you lose lose some. What?

  28. Tony Van Helsing- The very moment you come out with this cookbook, I'm buying it!

    Big D and Me- A step in the right direction? Oh I think you misunderstand. I've reached my cooking destination. This was it for me. And I see absolutely no problem with cereal and pizza. One out of four food groups ain't bad. Wait, are there more than 4 food groups? I honestly can't remember now.

    Sandra- It better not be, otherwise I'm screwed. I'll keep in mind to save my next catastrophe for you to clean up. Carbs and all. :)

  29. Middle Child- They're not my favorite either but thanks!

    Rate of Dissent- It's those little details that get ya. Like ingredients. Seem so irrelevant and yet...

    C OC M- Thank you dear!!

    Amish Stories- I need to convince someone to make me that scrambled egg recipe you posted. THAT sounds delish.

    Joshua- Ooo good call! Didn't think to have one with coffee.

  30. Tonya- Wellll....I wouldn't say better. Just another option.

    A Beer For The Shower- Think Dresdon Dolls Coin Operated Boy. Shower scene. Actually, it may have been a spoon, not a spatula and this sounds much more ribald than it is.

    Lzdiher- Lovely? Well, thanks.

    Pearl- Whew, thanks for clarifying. I was feeling rather awkward for a moment there.

    George- You may be on to something there. Key word being MAY. :)

  31. OK, if I were there?

    I'd say, "step away, let me help you."

    You need to SEE someone do this.


    There are cooking classes all over the place.

    Worth every penny.

    You poor thing.

  32. Napa Paul was wrong. Suck it, Napa Paul! (Although his name and his book-sending cracked me up . Just a little.)

  33. Please post more about your cooking adventures. They make me LOL.

  34. The Empress- It's true. I do need help. But it's gonna take a lot more than cooking classes for the kinda help I need. :)

    Dawn- Yeah!!! Suck it Napa Paul!! Although I did get a chuckle out of it as well. But don't tell him that.

    Brandy- I actually really like it. It's just too bad you're supposed to be mostly naked when wearing it.

    Natalie- Yeahhh...I'm sure it won't be my last kitchen horror. Unfortunately.

  35. Way to go! See what you can accomplish when you try and friends encourage you? :)

  36. LOL. You're awesome. The lingerapron is classic. Glad the baking met with success in the end.

  37. Now that's determination at its best! Very admirable!!

    I totally get the lemon zest thing. I once looked for it in a bottle with the other spices at the grocery store.

    I finally put in an emergency call to my BFF who guided me gently to the produce section while explaining what I needed to do to the lemon.

    BTW - Pickleope sent me! (I think that serves as sufficient warning.)

  38. Marie- Or see what you can do when enough people make fun of you? The ego can only take so much. ;)

    Trinista- The lingerapron. Love it! I think you should start a new line. I'll totally buy!

    Damon- Thanks? Assuming you actually read it.

    The Minute Man's Wife- Lemon zest. What a stupid idea. It honestly makes me feel better I'm not the clueless gal out there. And thanks for the pickelope heads up. I was both honored and appalled to see what he'd done to me. Okay, I love it!

  39. ok ok ok, fun cooking question from one dummy to another... think of it like 'tree falling in the woods' zen shit. not meant to be answered, just meant to make you think...

    If you bake cookies, and not cook them... why aren't they called bake-ies?

    Mind? Yeah, it's blown. BOOM!

  40. Thanks for the update! Followed!

  41. Wear that apron and whoever you bake for will forget the ruined brownies. I'd like to write a book for dummies called "The Dummies Guide to Not Being A Dummy." It would be about how to not be a moron. It would rule. Your apron photo would go in there and the caption would read "Smart use of available items."

  42. HAHA, awesome entry!! :D

    Baking is TRICKY. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You mess up one little thing and the whole dish might end up having to be scrapped. It's not the easiest thing in the world to learn.

    Anyway, the end result looks yummy. I want to eat them.

  43. haha lingerie apron! fabulous! and lemon bars are gross anyway. bake something with chocolate. it's sure to be a success :p love the blog. you have a new follower!

  44. Haha! Your approach to cooking is the same as mine was for a very long time! I still love food, though, and I'm determined to learn to cook. Maybe I pick up those dummies books... They might be useful for both me and my boyfriend :)

    Thank you for that sweet comment on Moments of a Libra! Every little comment means so much.

  45. Lost in Idaho- And boom goes the dynamite. My mind has been blown!

    D22 Zone- Huh?

    Janice- Put me down for one of the first copies. There's an extra $2 in it for you if it's signed. :)

    Ronni- Yes! I'm glad you agree! And it's always a little heartbreaking watching all those ingredients getting scraped into the trash.

    Taylor and Scott- You may be onto something. It's hard to go wrong with anything chocolate...although I'm sure I could find a way. :)

    Halina- That's my issue. I LOVE food so of course I can't give up. I'll just keep my fingers crossed no one ends up with food poisoning.

  46. HI- LOVE your site! New follower here from the Tuesday Hop. I am following you on GFC and Networked Blogs. Please stop by and follow me back at I look forward to reading more of your posts :)

  47. Hi, I loved the blog.
    What do you think of following each other?
    Kisses! Vanessa.