A few days later, my very first French Fridays post went up - Marie Helene's apple cake. Of course, I followed the directions for my very first recipe, right? No. Apparently, I started this venture as I meant to continue it.
Little did I know how much that copy of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table was going to impact my life. It doesn't seem possible that I've now cooked every single recipe out of that book. Sure, I expected it to bump of my cooking skills; I didn't expect the friendships that would come out of it and the opportunities it would bring.
There will be some celebration and lessons learned posts coming out over the next few weeks. I have so much to say, but no words to say them. For now, let's talk about the very last recipe - the cover recipe.
I had very grand plans for this chicken in a pot (you can find the recipe here). This is a recipe that I had made before, so I felt pretty good about a successful finish to this adventure of ours.
But, as someone once said...
"Because things don't always work out the way you thought they would - both in life & in the kitchen..."
Unfortunately, right during that window when I planned on executing this, life conspired to keep me away from the house and any semblance of daylight. By the time the chicken came out of the oven, it was after 8:00 and all I wanted to do was eat my stinking dinner.
Pretty inglorious, no?
My pretty dough ring was a flabby mess. One side of the chicken stuck to the pot while I was trying to brown it - I didn't even try to flip it and brown the other side. I was getting sick of browning vegetables, so I stopped. I had already destroyed another recipe earlier in the day. It was way too dark to take any pictures. I hadn't even eaten and I felt like I had failed already. And I was feeling a little grumpy that the series finale of Mad Men was starting in a couple of hours.
At which point I realized that I needed to stop beating myself up. This was not the time to be self-critical (life offers of plenty of other opportunities for that). It was okay that it wasn't perfect. It wasn't the first time things didn't work out the way I wanted and it certainly wouldn't be the last.
Four and a half years ago when it came to whole chickens, I. Just. Couldn't; now, roasted whole chickens are a house staple (It still skeves me out if I think about, but it's become so much easier).
Heck, I just cooked all the way through a cookbook. All. The. Way. Through. a great, big, fat cookbook, nonetheless.
It wasn't time to be miserable. It was time to celebrate!
It seems fitting that I am headed into NYC tomorrow for a Dorista meetup. Although the food has been good, it has been the people that have made this all worthwhile. I am going to stop writing before I get all misty eyed or something (besides, that is a post for another week).
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie - an online cooking group that has cooked all the way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. The book may be done, but we still have a few weeks to go! Stay tuned...