Cooking Catastrophe Stories: Shortcake Disaster

A personal account of a cooking catastrophe.

| November/December 2011

I don’t know why I wasn’t taught to cook when I was growing up, but I didn’t learn until after I was married. Perhaps my mom and my aunt were too busy to teach me, or maybe I just wasn’t interested.

After Bob and I were married, we lived with his parents on their farm for a while, and his mother was a very good cook. Therefore, I still didn’t learn to cook. Then we moved to an apartment, and I was on my own to learn to cook.

I remember thinking one day that strawberry shortcake like my mom and aunt made sounded good, so I decided to make it. I cleaned and prepared the berries, then added sugar and mashed them with a potato masher. Next was the pie crust. My aunt had always baked the crust in strips, then broke them into pieces, and would cover them with berries and a little whipped cream.

My mouth watered at the thought of the delicious dessert Bob and I would have after supper. I didn’t know how to make a pie crust, but our little corner store sold packages of pie crust, so I bought one. I opened it, and there were little triangles of dough inside. I read the directions, which sounded easy. So, I placed the dough triangles on the baking pan and baked them. When I removed the pan from the oven, however, some edges of the triangles were thick, dough and uncooked, while others were thin and burned. I was more than disappointed.

When Bob got home, I showed him my disaster. A few minutes later, he went to the corner store and bough a package of pie crust just like the one I’d used. He prepared and baked it, and then assembled the shortcake. It was delicious. I was happy for the dessert, but chagrined that Bob had succeeded at this recipe, while my efforts were a failure.

Soon after that, I bought a cookbook. Luckily, it helped me learn to cook. After cooking for a few years, my sons and husband considered me a good cook.

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