Why This Will Never Be A Cooking Blog

by cindy

I enjoy cooking. Not on a daily basis, you understand, but I enjoy cooking for friends. I love searching for new recipes and though I’ve been told many times that one should try a recipe BEFORE using it for guests, I generally fail to heed that suggestion.

Like yesterday. We had been invited to dinner at the home of friends. Old friends. REALLY old friends. Friends that we had double-dated with all through college. Yes, that old. And good. Really good, old friends. (I believe I’ve made my point, right?)

I was to bring dessert.

After selecting a dessert from the only cooking magazine I subscribe to, I readied my list, headed to the store, and got all the ingredients I needed. Carefully following the recipe for what would surely be a luscious pound cake (casting aside my usually-successful tried-and-true recipe), I proceeded to bake the cake. For an hour and twenty minutes, I baked that cake.

And while I was baking, I prepared the Fig Chutney which was to accompany the cake. I’ve served pound cake many times, with or without ice cream, with or without sliced fresh fruit. Never with fig anything. To be honest, I’ve never before brought a fig into this house that wasn’t already put into Newtons.

But, oh, the smells that emanated from this kitchen! Pound cake! Figs cooked in cinnamon and wine! Wine, I say! How could I miss with this dessert?


First, after allowing the cake to cool, I carefully removed the bundt pan, and as the overwhelming odors of deliciousness wafted up my nose, I watched the center of that cake slowly pour onto the counter. Pour. Slowly. Like lava. The outside of the cake was perfectly done. The center of it gave a new meaning to the term “moist”.

So there I was. No cake. Plenty of fig chutney. No time to return to the store. Needed to shower and dress (or at least brush my teeth) before heading out for the evening. What. To. Do?

Ice Cream.

I decided to try the chutney over ice cream. GREAT IDEA! A small sampling confirmed my culinary brilliance! But could I stop there? Oh, no. I’ve read Smitten Kitchen far too often to stop merely at fig chutney over vanilla ice cream.

Candied Walnuts.

I decided to make my own candied walnuts. A quick online search told me how EASY! and FAST! I could make candied walnuts. I did have walnuts. I did have sugar. Two ingredients. How hard could this be?

Exhausting. It was EXHAUSTING. Don’t let anyone tell you that it takes no time at all because I stood there over that damn stove, shoving sugar and walnuts around the skillet for what seemed like hours. The sugar didn’t quite melt properly which made some of the coated walnuts harder than gravel, but still, I was undaunted. I was maybe even a little impressed with myself. After all, I thought, what a lovely way to top this brilliant concoction of fig chutney and ice cream! I could just see the admiration growing on the faces of our friends!

Then my husband came home.

He took one look at the chutney

and asked, “Exactly how many small animals did you have to castrate?”

Clearly he had a point.

Presentation is key. I know that. OK. Maybe, I thought, maybe I can dress this up. With some glassware. Of course! It will not only be delicious but also very, very pretty! So I dug out these

and washed them. I packed everything up, skipped the shower, brushed the teeth, and off we went to spend an evening with these very good, old friends.

We had a lovely time. Dinner? Superb. Conversation? Delightful. Dessert? Oh dear.

The slightly warmed chutney immediately melted the ice cream. The walnut rocks clung desperately to the fig testicles. No way could the pretty glassware salvage this mess. It tasted fine, I suppose. Everyone kindly slurped their way through, although spoons should have been exchanged for straws. I doubt that Dairy Queen would be interested in using this recipe for a Blizzard offering.

We laughed over the whole disaster. We can do that with really good, old friends. No pretense, no judgement. Just great, belly-aching laughter.

As we gathered our stuff to head back home, our hostess hugged me good-bye, saying, “I really didn’t mean for you to work so hard. Next time, just DON’T BRING ANYTHING.”

Maybe I’ll look for appetizer recipes. Just in case.