cooking follies

It’s Saturday morning and time for another story. I was waffling about whether to write about my most spectacular cooking fiascos or “why cats” from Ally. But it’s Saturday morning and this story is all about Saturday mornings. Plus, I’m making banana, candied walnuts and bacon pancakes for breakfast this morning. Well, brunch. It’s a little too early to eat yet – maybe by the time I’m done writing.

When I was a kid – like 6 or 7 – I used to get up very early on Saturday mornings to make a surprise breakfast for my folks. Funny, I don’t remember Mom ever coming out to see what the hell I was doing. I’m sure she figured it out after the first time and she had the grace to play along.

You see, I was a Brownie. That’s a kind of Girl Scout for little kids. And a big part of the Brownies was the Brownie Story. Brownies were magical creatures who helped around the house – out of love, not because they were being paid for doing chores. Kinda of like random acts of kindness, I suppose. I remember the little ceremony we did, listening to the Brownie story and then

Twist me and turn me and show me the elf
I looked in the water and saw myself!

So, for me, I tried to be a good Brownie by making surprise breakfasts. The folks drank instant coffee at that time and I imagine mine was either brown water or mud, but they drank it. I probably made toast or something simple like that most of the time. Hard to remember, really. But I do remember the time that I decided to make shortbread. I didn’t know what shortbread was but it had bread right there in the name so I thought it was a breakfast food.

You know, shortbread is not that hard to make. The classic recipe is pretty much just butter, flour and sugar. I was cooking with my mom from the time I could stand on a chair and reach the counter. Maybe that shortbread was the first time I tried to follow a recipe all on my own. I can’t really remember what happened except that I made a hell of a mess. There was shortbread dough inside the kitchen drawers. My mom claimed she was still finding bits of shortbread dough fifteen years later when they moved out of that house.

There’s something in my pocket
it belongs across my face
so I keep it very close at hand
in a most convenient place.
I know you couldn’t guess it
if you guessed a long, long while.
So I’ll take it out and put it on
it’s a great big Brownie smile!

That was the beginning of my cooking escapades. Fiasco? Maybe. There was the time I decided to make cream puffs (as a surprise of course) when no one else was home and I managed to lock myself out of the house while they were baking. Or the time I made biscuits for supper while Mom was in the hospital and I wound up in tears calling Mom because my biscuit dough was soup. I swear the recipe said one quart of milk! I’ve had things that didn’t turn out well – like croissant shaped rocks – and things that burned or substitutions I tried that I probably shouldn’t have. I’m a much calmer cook now. I rarely make a huge mess and almost all the time my food is edible. I still can’t make instant coffee, though.


10 thoughts on “cooking follies”

  1. I haven’t had anywhere near as many cooking disasters as you! 😉 I did put granulated instead of powdered sugar in the first Russian teacakes I made. How was I supposed to know what confectioners sugar was? They were a LITTLE crunchy!


    1. Oh, I’ve definitely had my share of cooking failures. It’s an adventure! I have tried subbing regular sugar for confectioner’s at times. Kind of depends on the recipe whether you can make it work. The one I don’t understand is subbing salt for sugar and I know several people who have really done it. I store them in totally different containers.


  2. Great story. Nothing like good intentions going awry. Have you ever tried to make shortbread since then?

    Love the Brownie saying. I remember that I knew it at one time, but I don’t remember it from memory. Wasn’t there a pledge, too?


    1. Oh sure, shortbread is easy. I wish mine tasted like Walker’s. Someone needs to do a fake out for those cookies.

      I had to look up the Brownie story though I still remember that silly song. I looked up the pledge and it’s pretty much the same as Boy Scouts. On my honor, I will try….


    1. Hi Nicole. 🙂 Because you were a Brownie or because you’ve had your own funny kitchen fails? Of course, they’re only funny when you look back on them years and years later.


  3. In fact I was a Brownie. I was lamenting just the other day about how I can recall the little oath we took but can’t remember to take home bread after work.

    “I promise to do my best, to love God and my country, to help other people every day, especially those at home.”


    1. Amazing how our memories work. I make detailed lists for shopping – and when I’m smart, I mark down why I’m buying an item. Otherwise, I get to the store and say Lemons? Why do I need lemons? And walk out without some vital ingredient.


  4. I hope my Girl Scouts remember as fondly their time as Brownies and learning to cook as you do. I taught them all some cooking to earn a patch the first year they were in Brownies and they had a messy, but wonderful time. They made little fruit crumbles and deviled eggs. It happened to work out well with their classwork on fractions too.

    This year as Juniors they’re figuring out what they want to do and will help lead a lot of their own meetings. I’m up to 18 (*gasp*) girls in the troop with only 1 girl having left in the past 4 years. They definitely keep me on my toes 🙂

    And yes, we sang the Brownie Smile song many times. Their favorite though is Princess Pat (I’ll let you Youtube that one…)


    1. Princess Pat must be relatively new – or it’s that memory thing again. My mom was brownie leader and what I remember is a bunch of girls who didn’t even know how to use scissors. I don’t recall us ever cooking as a troop at that level. Just curious, are your girls craft ready or are you having to teach the basics?


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