Sunday, March 15, 2009

Don’t Quit

Still Just January

It’s hard to sleep when I’m worried. I go to sleep, wake up, go to sleep, wake up … how will I ever get through this night? How will I finish this book? How much more money is it going to cost that I don’t have? All my fears seem to surface late at night. Then I go to my refrigerator. Not to get something to eat, but to read one of the messages that’s scotch taped to the door. I started taping inspirational quotes and messages from friends … anything I read that I thought might help get me through one more day, one more night. Tonight is one of those nights. So I’m reading the poem given to me by my friend Donna, a poem her mother gave to her, author unknown. It’s called Don’t Quit.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst…
That you must not quit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Still January 2008

It’s been a very long week. I’ve had to retest about 25 recipes with no one to help. This is not what I thought it would be like when I decided to write my book. But I can’t stop now. I have to keep going. There’s too much at stake. There’s no turning back.

While I’ve been waiting for my chicken to finish roasting, I’ve been reading my nephew’s latest blog. He sends one every week. This one is called “Why I love life”. He’s traveling around the world living his dream while I’m here counting the minutes until my chicken is done. What’s wrong with this picture? Do I really have to ask?

There are three video clips on this week’s blog. He’s in Argentina. Video one - some guy is playing a flute at the bottom of this incredibly beautiful canyon while my nephew’s girlfriend is waving. It’s so surrealistic. Next video is a couple dancing the tango. Third one is my nephew taking a polo lesson riding a horse. It’s like a scene out of a movie. And here I sit with bits of food stuck to my arms, my hair and apron. Again I ask myself, what’s wrong with this picture?

It’s 1 AM and the oven buzzer just went off. Finally the chicken is done. There is something very primal about pulling the meat from a roasted chicken with my hands. It’s also incredibly messy! I stuffed the chicken with a few lemons and rubbed it all over with my rosemary spice rub. I started with a four pound chicken tonight. Two hours later, I ended up with one and a half pounds of succulent, roasted boneless chicken. I’ve been nibbling at the bits of chicken on the bones. The rest has to be refrigerated for tomorrow’s day of recipe testing.

I’m tired but I still have to clean the kitchen. I’m also my own clean up crew. I thought at my age I wouldn’t have to do the grunt work anymore but it has to get done and I’m the only one here.

My fingertips and hands feel like sandpaper because I’m constantly washing pots and pans, trying to keep the mess to a minimum. It’s too hard to wear rubber gloves because I’ve got too many things going on at once. I have to take things off the stove, out of the oven, chop, prepare and assemble foods, take photos, write, and work on the computer and whatever else needs to get done throughout the day. Not even slathering my hands with hand cream and wearing cotton gloves to bed seems to work. Maybe I should have tried using the chicken grease? Don’t think so! And don’t even ask me what my nails look like. I can’t remember the last time I had a manicure!

Ah bedtime, finally I’m done for the night.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Retesting Recipes – It Can Drive Me Crazy

January 2008

I am constantly retesting recipes that I’ve developed for the book. I want to make sure the weights and measurements are correct and that the recipes are reproducible. I also need to make sure they taste as great as I remember when I first developed them. Sometimes that’s not always the case.

After developing recipes all day long, day in and day out for up to 18 hours a day, my taste buds sometimes trick me or I can’t read my own notes. And let me tell you, I hate it when that happens because then the development process starts all over again.

That’s happened already twice this week. Two simple recipes turned into a nightmare until I got them right. Making the red cabbage coleslaw and zucchini soup over again was like something out of a bad movie. I had grated red cabbage and carrots everywhere and let me tell you those anthocyanins (the purple color of the cabbage) and beta-carotenes (orange color of the carrots) stain if you don’t clean up the mess soon enough. I’m not thinking about the benefits of their vitamin content at a time like that! Before long, I was up to my elbows in zucchini puree and covered with red cabbage coleslaw all because the recipes didn’t taste quite like I remembered. I made batch after batch until I finally got the taste right – a small victory for me!