Don’t worry, I don’t have some delusion that I’m going to work my way through a Julia Child cookbook and end up with a movie deal. However, I do fancy the notion that if I can read a recipe; I should be able to eke out a semi-presentable meal. Note how I say fancy. I’m not sure I believe it – I’m an excellent reader, a damn good cook, but I still have my share of epic food fails.
What’s my point? I decided to make a fancy meal for the Husband’s birthday. Mainly because he spent his actual birthday at the end of an exhausting family holiday and catching the Little’s serious stomach bug. Partially because I’d been wanting to revisit the hardest dish I’ve ever made: Boeuf Bourguignon. You can’t get much further away from traditional Indian food than beef stewed in red wine. The one other time I made it (with Julia Child, duh) it took almost 2 days! So it only makes sense to do it on a weekend, for a special occasion, and with friends to make it worthwhile.
Anywhooo, this time I chose the The New Best Recipe version. Here’s what I like about this cookbook and ATK in general. The amount of ‘homework’ they do appeals to the nerd in me – I like that they’ve tested all the variations (cream vs milk, buttermilk vs yogurt, oil vs butter, etc.) and figured out what works best. I don’t always love the outcome (shout out to the Husband’s pancakes), but I still learn something from every recipe.
I spent a week reading the recipe and collecting ingredients. I even read that some of the steps could be done in advance. Not that I did that. I just kept stalling. Finally, when there was no time left to procrastinate, I set to work. All the while, I keep rereading the recipe and texting with Gina.
At one point she said if I’m stressed, just don’t make it. I love this girl for her honesty, and even more for the permission to stop. But still, it begs the question, why do I do this to myself? I don’t know! It’s just what I do. I get in my head that I need to do something. It’s usually outside my wheelhouse – and that’s scary. So I stall. I procrastinate, even while I’m dead set against stopping. If I stop, I’ve failed. Failed who? Not Gina. Certainly not the Husband. He’d be fine with a candle in my mac n’ cheese. But I can’t stop; it’s not allowed. Can you picture the eye roll here?
Long story short, bit by painful bit, I got through the steps of the recipe. Drinking a bit of the Pinot (at 11 am no less) as I worked sure made things more relaxed! In the end it all got done. Nothing burned, my house smelled divine, and the meal was delicious. All that stress? I did it to myself. And probably not for the last time. Definitely not making Boeuf Bourguignon again for a looooong while. 🙂