This weekend I was reminded of the cook's most invaluable tool: flexibility. It's very hard to be OCD and enjoy cooking; there are just too many variables beyond your control. If you're a novice cook and intimidated by forays into the kitchen, figuring that you're going to mess something up or do it wrong somehow, let me just say now that 1. it happens to the best of us sometimes, and 2. really, no cooking mistake is so serious that you can't just throw it in the trash and order some pizza. Oh, and also, cooking misadventures can make for highly entertaining experiences - as long as you can keep your sense of humor about you.
For example, this weekend I flew to DC to throw my dear friend a baby shower. We decided to make several easy recipes, including the spinach-artichoke dip mentioned in the previous post. I chose to include the dip because it requires so little thought and effort; you can make it in about 30 minutes or less.
Assuming you have a working food processor, that is.
Can you see the writing on the wall? First I made a couple other dishes, saving the spinach dip for last because - say it with me - it was so easy. And quick, did I mention quick? Yah. So I prep all the ingredients, throw them into my friend's combo blender/food processor, and hit the button. ...Not much happens. A lot of noise, but not a lot of results. I decide there must be too many ingredients in there, and dump half of it into a bowl. I hit puree again. ...Not much happens. Then I experiment with every button the processor possesses. Still not much. So I dump the rest of the ingredients out, including - at the very, very bottom - a puree that looks a lot like baby food, and look at the machine.
'Those look a lot like blender blades,' I think to myself. I ask my friend if there are other blades that come with this thing, and she replies that she did indeed notice other parts in the box. At this point, she also says they received this thing as a wedding gift and have used it all of twice, but it worked fine those times. We retrieve the other parts, which turns out to be the food processor bowl and blades, all of which still have the original packaging on them. Now I'm figuring we have resolved the problem. I remove the packaging, wash off the stuff and attach it to the base. I dump half the ingredients into the processor. I hit the button. ...Not much happens. Still making a lot of noise, but to no avail.
I'll spare you the rest of the painful details, but eventually, we figure out that the food processor blades aren't even turning, reattach the blender, puree it in small batches as best we can, and finally take a hand-held electric beater to it in a final attempt to achieve dip. Finally, a scant TWO HOURS after beginning this recipe, I say while laughing not-quite-hysterically, "It's just going to be a chunky dip," and carry it to the table. I was gratified to see that despite the chunkiness, it was very well received.
So remember, when you're beset on all sides by uncooperative kitchen equipment, just keep your chin up and keep laughing!