Last night I made a new recipe. I had gotten it from one of the church cookbooks in my collection. Oh my goodness. What a disaster.
My first mistake was not following my instincts. The recipe was called Shepherd's Pie. But there was no pastry in the recipe. At all. Therefore, the name was wrong. It had 4 layers. The bottom layer was a wonderful combination of ground beef, chopped carrots, onions and garlic. I cooked them all together and it smelled fabulous. The third layer (yes, I know, I skipped a layer. I'll get back to that.) was whole tomatoes peeled and sliced (I'd used canned). The top layer was a head of cauliflower and broccoli chopped. Obviously, this wasn't a shepherd's pie, but it doesn't sound terrible.
Well, except for that second layer. You see, the recipe called for mashed sweet potatoes mixed with a little orange juice, cinnamon and cumin. It didn't sound right. It kind of sounded like an odd layer for this already odd recipe. My gut instinct was to just substitute the sweet potato mixture with some leftover boxed mashed potatoes that I had in the refrigerator from a party we'd gone to with Evan's co-workers. But, I decided to give the original recipe a shot. I seriously grabbed the leftover mashed potatoes but put them back.
Oh my lord. It was disgusting. It was totally the sweet potatoes with the cumin spice. Evan hates cumin. I know this. But, sometimes I've had it in recipes and he doesn't even really notice or finds it acceptable because it compliments the whole dish. Not this time. I took a bite after I'd dished some out, I sprinted to the sink and spit it out while screaming, "Not good! Not good!".
Evan looked over the recipe and wondered why I'd even thought it'd sounded like a good one to make with the weird sweet potato layer. I told him that every recipe deserves a chance. Then he mumbled something about "divorce" and "trying to poison him". While I started getting leftovers out to eat instead, Elisabeth had heard us discussing the disgustingness of my epic dinner failure and rushed in, rallying to my side. She told me to tell Evan that I'd worked really hard on this dinner (which, unfortunately, I had. Those damn sweet potatoes WOULD NOT MASH. Should have been a sign.) and that he would just have to eat it and be nice. I patted her sweet little head and told her that it was okay, because it really was disgusting. That's when she took the bowl I'd dished it out in and tried a bite. Then she looked at us and said, "What's the problem? I think it's okay," turned around and took it to the table and started eating it. Evan and I stared at her with our mouths agape. What a weird kid. Evan thinks her taste buds might be broken.
So, while I will NOT be sharing that particular recipe with you, I wanted to let you know that huge, giant, enormous, tragic dinner catastrophes will happen. It's part of experimenting. I am not deterred. I shall still continue to experiment. I shall still make recipes that I am unsure of. I will still use those ding-dong crazy church ladies' recipes. I will, however, go with my instinct next time.