I love to cook. I have been told, and I believe it to be true, that I am a very good cook. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m not doing everything else. It distracts my brain and it makes me feel like an awesome wife because my husband always says. “You’re amazing; this is perfect.” Even when it’s scrambled eggs. This year for Thanksgiving I made mashed potatoes with Kale and goat cheese to bring to my sister-in-law who is always so gracious to host the festivities. That’s all I had to do was make mashed potatoes. And I did. And they were perfect.
That is, until we were getting ready to leave for her house. I took the disposable aluminum baking dish out of the fridge and thought, oh my, they are ice cold and hard as a rock, I can’t bring these over there! I can use the excuse that I was rushed, but I wasn’t thinking about what happens to warm food when you keep it in the fridge for hours so I poured some extra milk into the finished recipe because I insisted they were too thick and hard. Stirring the liquid in, I thought, now it looks like mashed potatoes, soft and fluffy. If soft and fluffy is good, then more milk is better. (What was I thinking?) So I added even more milk. Now, the cold potatoes were silky smooth and we were on our way. Have you ever heated mashed potatoes with 3 times the amount of milk in the recipe? Three times. During dinner, I leaned over to my always-kind-hearted-last-one-to-hurt-anyone’s-feelings husband and whispered tentatively, “how are the potatoes?” “They’re okay.” He replied. Ohhhh. Crap. “They’re too mushy, aren’t they? They’re wet and mushy,” I whined back. “Yeah. They’re not great.” Oh my god. That’s when the air slowly leaked out in my proverbial balloon. In a flash, I went from chef extraordinaire to a disgraced outcast, stripped of all culinary confidence swirling in the land of “I suck.”
After obsessing way too long causing both my daughter and husband to gently ask that I “shut up about the potatoes already” I realized how easy it is, for each of us, always, no matter what the subject at hand, to want to do our best and when we fall short, to beat ourselves up. With mashed potatoes, it’s no big deal obviously, but if we don’t practice it with these things that don’t matter, we will not learn how to do it with the things that really do matter.
Lesson learned. What is the metaphorical moral of this story? When you don’t stick to the recipe, you must accept the undesirable consequences. Acceptance means letting go. Letting go is not easy. And if you think you’re alone in this, forget it. Most of us continue to work very hard on this. #Mashedpotatofail #Holidaycutcard #Seleni