May 15, 2017
On April 2, I set out to make a three course meal from scratch: appetizer, dinner, and dessert. I haven’t done a lot of cooking before, but I thought some ham and cheese pinwheels, pasta primavera, and chocolate cake with caramel icing would be simple enough. I could not have been more wrong.
I started with the chocolate cake. I know what you’re all thinking. Take a cake mix from a box, add water and eggs, and bake it. Easy, right? Wrong. I decided I was going to make the cake and icing from scratch. So I mixed all the ingredients (while spilling most of the cocoa powder on the counter), and put the cake in the oven.
Then, I started the icing. The directions told me that I had to caramelize the sugar, meaning heat until the sugar melted. I had never caramelized anything before, but the recipe explained everything, so I figured I could do it.
Ten minutes later, the sugar STILL hadn’t melted, so I realized I was doing something wrong. Even more dismaying was when I found that the cake, upon removal from the oven, was completely stuck to the pan. What exactly did the directions say? Grease the pan with butter AND flour before baking? Needless to say, I was upset, but I quickly recovered. Plan B: Take the scraps that I was able to remove from the pan (albeit decimated) and turn them into a chocolate trifle. Yes, you read that right, a chocolate trifle. Vanilla pudding, then cake scraps, then whipped cream, then fruit. And, for what it’s worth, the trifle actually tasted good.
Next, I made the appetizer, which turned out better than anything else in the meal. I put the ham and cheese on top of pizza dough, rolled them up, and baked them. I ate one after it came out of the oven. It was delicious; I loved it!
Finally, I made the pasta primavera, which is basically pasta and vegetables all mixed together. I did a lot of chopping. A LOT of chopping. Carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes; you name it, I chopped it. It was very difficult. Then, I baked the vegetables and made the pasta. When it came out, I poured everything in a serving bowl. Finally, FINALLY, I was ready to serve the meal.
I began the process at 2:00pm and served dinner just before 7:00. I worked harder than I have ever worked on anything in my life. I was so tired that I couldn’t even eat. My parents sang my praises; I was very proud of myself.
I learned a lot of lessons in this adventure. For starters, I will always read the recipe carefully and completely before I begin cooking. I would’ve saved myself a lot of headaches if I had. Second, I should’ve started with something much simpler. I had no way of knowing, though, that the entrée and dessert I picked would soon be the most complicated thing I have ever made. Next time I make a cake, I’m sticking with a mix. And as far as the pasta primavera goes, I might just make pasta next time. Still, I applaud myself for trying my best, even if I hit a few bumps on the way.