Thursday, January 26, 2012

b-e- aggressive

I hope the title of this post got that horribly uncreative cheerleading chant stuck in your head. That was pretty much exactly my evil plan, because it's been in MY head ever since I made ginger spiced molasses sugar cookies last night. It all started when I realized I hadn't been nearly aggressive enough at the "roll balls of dough in granulated sugar" point in the recipe, which brought me to a larger culinary "ah ha" moment. 

But somewhere in all of that, it also brought me back to the memory of not making the cheerleading squad in middle school. All my girlfriends tried out, and, as far as I remember, made it. I, with my knobby knees and shy demeanor, did not. It was horribly embarrassing, and led to a torrent of tears. My mom took an inconsolable little Jenny to the mall, and let me buy whatever I wanted (within reason, I'm sure). "Whatever I wanted" was a Precious Moments figurine, the likes of which I collected at that age. (No, I do not wonder, in retrospect, why I didn't make the squad then, nor why I am single now). I suppose the shopping trip, and the eventual realization that I would look ridiculous in the gray and orange uniforms chanting things like "B-E- AGGRESSIVE" mollified my sixth grade angst in due time.

But the chant came back to me last night, when I realized I needed to advise anyone who intended to make said ginger spiced molasses sugar cookies to really b-e- aggressive with the sugar thing in order to get a nice sugary crisp on the exterior of the crinkly treats. And it made me realize that, in general, I'm a bit of a tentative person in the kitchen, which tends to be to the detriment of me and the dishes I'm attempting to craft.

When I cook, especially new and unfamiliar dishes, it tends to be with this skeptical air of "they don't really mean over HIGH heat, right?" And so then I err on the side of caution and saute over a safe, if boring, medium heat and then get impatient when things take longer than the recipe says they should. 

Obviously, though, the unspoken answer to my frequent culinary question is "well of course they mean it, you idiot, they're the experts." And so I've decided to tack on an additional resolution in 2012. I'm going to be a little more aggressive in the kitchen. I know, I'm a real wild child.

ps-I like to think I got a subconscious jump on the new resolution this past Monday, when I cooked on the fly, and totally without a recipe, and the product was actually edible. But, more on that later.

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