Monday, January 7, 2008

Cooking Goofs For The Soul, Part 3

I know I said I was going to do a poll, but one individual's cooking goofs are so clearly above and beyond the level of most mortals, I felt it was OK to make a unilateral decision.

Congrats to Dave, aka Stupid Reality, for his list of cooking nightmare stories, many which involved heat and/or chemical burns.

Runner-up status is awarded to Reggie for valiantly trying to burn down his school in his Home Ec kitchen, not once, but twice.

Both of you may redeem cookies from me by e-mailing me at themanicscribe at gmail dot com. You get your choice of one dozen Cookie Monster Cookie Dough Cookies, made by yours truly, or any cookies up to $15 in value off of

Thanks to everyone who posted their stories.

And, to wrap up this series of posts, let me share one last cooking goof with you all. This just happened last week. It was a comedy of errors.

I was trying to make a recipe called Maple Candy in the Snow. On its surface, it seems simple. Boil a pint of maple syrup until it hits 270 degrees Fahrenheit, then drizzle the hot liquid on some fresh, clean snow. The result should be chewy maple candy.

My first mistake? I used too small a pan, so every time I cranked the heat above medium low, the mixture would foam up and threaten to leap out the sides of the pan.

My second mistake? I used a meat thermometer to check temperature rather than a candy thermometer. For some reason, the temperature of my liquid stopped getting any warmer at 230 degrees. Well, a bit of critical thinking led me to why this happened. Meat is cooked to a much lower internal temperature than candy. Therefore, meat thermometers don't need to go to such high temperatures. So, I wound up guessing on the exact temperature of the syrup. I tried to use the method where you put some of the syrup in cold water, and feel for texture, but this wasn't working for me.

My third mistake? I didn't pack the snow down firmly. I just drizzled the syrup into the snow on my friend's back porch. Since the snow was light and airy and the syrup was thick and heavy, the syrup disappeared underneath the snow onto my friend's deck.

Bah. Just goes to show you that even a simple-seeming recipe can be complicated, and even an accomplished cook can have lapses in judgement every now and then.


encaf1 said...

Heh.. I remember being a kid and going to an actual outdoor maple sugar farm, and tasting maple candy on the snow right there..

BTW: love the Garlic Is Love name. Yum!

The musishian said...

I just need to break down and buy another candy thermometer. My sister broke mine many years ago.

Thanks for the compliment on the blog name. It's pretty amazing what one can come up with out of necessity (my first 5 blog name ideas were already in use).

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Stupid Reality said...

I couldn't possibly impose on you for any form of trans-Atlantic (or trans-Pacifc depending on your orientation) cookie-tastic goodness. The honor was in the giving, not the receiving :)

(And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure about the regulations regarding international transport of food stuffs)

Maybe we could set up some kind of northern hemisphere/southern hemisphere recipe exchange program instead?

BTW, I'm insanely jealous of your Santoku. It's so pretty.

The musishian said...


I do like the recipe exchange idea. Logistics on that might be tricky, but I'm willing to give it a go.

And, yes, the Santoku is lovely. It cuts through shallots like butter. I'm not sure if I should be honing it or not. I'll have to check Shun's Web site...