Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Love/Hate Relationship

Writing, I love it and I hate it. Cooking, I love it. Eating, I really love it.
      Bon Appetit is one of the few magazines that pile up everywhere. I love the pictures, I read and re-read the recipes, I respect the writing and the editing. Sometimes, I even try the recipes.
      I’m not a dessert eater. I don’t love cake or pie. I can’t eat ice cream. I love crème brulee and bread pudding, but can’t eat them because anything based on milk gives me migraines. Shortbread cookies are another story. I love them. I’ll eat Lorna Doones by the handfuls. The Scottish ones by Walker in the red plaid tins are my passion. 
I came across this recipe when I was re-reading an old Bon Appetit that was hidden behind the old Architectural Digest, Vogue, and New Times on the magazine rack in the head of the motor home. My granddaughter was engaged in an old episode of “The Simpsons,” probably appropriate to the humor I found in the instructions for the shortbread cookies. 
I’ve been working diligently trying to edit recipes for my book proposal, trying to figure out whether the instructions sound reasonable, trying to picture a cook following a recipe for the first time. If Marge Simpson wanted to bake these shortbread cookies, she would have followed the instructions to the letter.
What would have happened if she had whisked the flour, sugar, and baking powder? How high would the cloud have risen? Did the editors really think the dust bowl created by whisking a dry flour mixture in a bowl could have been worth saving another implement, like a spoon?  Or did one of their usually really good editors miss this one?
I now feel better about the errors I make all the time, about the edits my daughter, husband and daughter in law make to my writing. Even if Marge Simpson wouldn’t have made a big mess of the shortbread cookies, Lucille Ball certainly would have. Can’t you just picture her bright red hair covered in flour dust?

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