Four Hours

It took me four hours to bake two batches of cookies. I have a burn on my right hand, and I had to throw away about 1/4 of the snickerdoodles, because they did not have enough flour/were undercooked. I have this knack for following a recipe and then just either messing up one part or deciding to stray from the recipe, usually with disastrous results. Instead of adding 2 cups of flour, I grabbed the wrong measuring cup and added 2 one-half cups of flour (so one cup total). OOPS! I tried to make up for that mistake later in the recipe, but it did not all go as smoothly as I’d planned.

When all is said and done, I anticipated having 6 different kinds of cookies. Now, I’m not so sure.

I took some recipes from The Joy of Cooking, the recipe book I consult most often. I also got recipes from various family members that I’ve collected in a haphazard way. Then I looked at this cookbook I got years ago as a gift — 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, the original Fanny Farmer Cookbook. When I say original, I mean it. Frankly, for someone like me, it is completely useless. I was looking at some of the cookie recipes, and one said to add 2 cups of floor and 2 tsps. of soda. I thought to myself, “Soda? Is that soda water or baking soda? Probably baking soda. Floor? What the hell is floor?” It wasn’t until I looked at the next recipe that called for flour that I realized it was a typo. No spellcheck back then, not that spellcheck would have caught that error anyhow. Then the directions say to bake for 20 minutes in a medium oven. What is a medium oven? How hot is that? I’m just not that intuitive when it comes to cooking and baking.

There were also recipes for forced meats, which I have no idea what those are. Lots of good recipes for sweetbreads and leftover fish parts. Oddly enough, the recipe for leftover fish parts did not call for feeding them to your cat. I suppose people were much less wasteful than we are today (yes, an understatement). I just don’t have much of an appetite for leftover fish parts, though depending on how it’s prepared…


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