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Friday, May 13, 2016

the epic Pinterest fail

This is NOT chicken, gravy and biscuits

Last night I failed. I wanted to be a model of Pinterest creativity and what I made was so bad that L and I went all the way past thinking it was awful to laughing/crying (while eating it!) because it was so terrible. Awful. Disgusting. Truly.

This is the story of when a potential Pinterest cooking victory goes bad.

I had strawberries. As it turns out a lot of strawberries. Typically I would be happy to run a handful of these bursting red berries under water and sit outside with my head tilted up to the sun while thinking "Eating strawberries in the sunshine is pretty much the perfect moment."

But I had strawberries and shortbread biscuits and it was sunny and warm. I decided to make strawberry shortbread. I washed and macerated the berries. Being early May, they weren't very sweet so I added some confectioner's sugar. It needed some liquid and I knew that orange juice brightens the flavor of strawberries but I had pineapple juice and that seemed like it could bring a bright tropical flavor to this dessert.

I didn't have dairy cream but I did have a can of Trader Joe's coconut cream. I remembered reading that coconut cream (different than coconut milk) could be whipped into a whipped cream topping. So I started to make that. Unfortunately, for some reason I could only find one hand blender blade. That was OK, though. How hard could it be to whisk it into topping? It turns out hard.

I used a whisk and tried to whip the thick cream into whipping cream. Nope. It was just thick coconut cream which is not sweetened so I added a 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar. Terrible. Then another 1/4 cup and another until it tasted sweet and coconutty. I blended it into the strawberry mash and whisked it all together vigorously for five minutes then placed it in the refrigerator to cool while we ate dinner. I had envisioned it thickening up into a fluffy strawberry mousse.

After dinner, I cleared the table, warmed a biscuit, sliced it in half and added the strawberry mixture which poured like pale pink chunky milk. It looked so disgusting right then that I started laughing. L looked up from his phone at me from across the kitchen.

"What is it?" he asked. "This can't be good."

"It looks disgusting but I think you'll like it."

"Well that's comforting," L said.

I added some dried coconut chips as a crunchy topping and placed it on the kitchen table in front of L. I sat down across from him, smiled and handed him a fork.

"What is it exactly?" he asked as he leaned in closer to get a better look.

"Well," I said. "It's macerated strawberries with coconut cream on a biscuit."

L asked "What are those things on top?"

"Coconut chips. Try it." I smiled at him and looked down at the plate and then back at him.

L was staring intently at the dessert, then he looked up at me and said in barely above a whisper "Is it safe?"

"Yes! It's safe. I think it works if you don't look at it." I dug my fork in. "Look, I'm eating it."

He picked up his phone and took a picture of it.

I said "Of all the meals I make, THIS is what you want to take a picture of?"

L "Well, look at it." He was right.

L dug in with his fork and brought the fork towards his nose and took a whiff. "It smells OK." We both tried it at the same time.  Both of us winced. "This is awful," I said while I started laughing. "No, this is really really awful," L said as he took another bite. I was now crying and laughing because I had failed so epically, because it looked like sorority girl coagulated vomit, and because he was gamely taking another bite.

"No!" I said. "Don't eat it!"

"I have to," L replied as he took his third bite. "This tastes like something. Like cereal."

I took another small bite and he was right.

"It's like Fruity Pebbles but with a taste of coconut," I suggested.

Musing, L said "Maybe you should have added some sugar. It isn't sweet and it doesn't taste like strawberries. It's just kind of like soggy cereal milk. The texture is kind of weird. It's sort of like cold, chunky, liquidy pudding." I explained why it tasted like this, about the coconut cream and the pineapple and the lack of a blender. He gingerly tried scraping the strawberry topping off the biscuit. Then he stopped and asked "Would it be OK if we didn't have this again? Ever?" He looked at me. He had that worried/scared/unsure look that guys get when they've said something to their girls and they weren't sure if they would get into trouble for it.

I started laughing again. "This is truly the worst dessert I have ever made. I promise I will never make this again. Please stop eating it. Seriously. I'm getting sick watching you eat that.  Thanks for trying to eat it though. You're sweet but please. Stop."

"Yow know what I love about you?" L asked.


"You tried something new. Things went wrong and you powered through, sure that you could make something good out of it. That's what's cool about you."

And that is the story of the epic dessert fail turned into an epic marriage win. A strawberry-coconut-pineapple flavored marriage win.

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