Sara from Texas in Eastern Tennessee

I don’t do well with ‘danger’. I couldn’t be a fireman, a cop, or a construction worker. These jobs leave little room for error, due to the potentially life-threatening consequences. That won’t work for me, I need to make mistakes.

Cooking provides that perfect opportunity for trial and error without the fear of falling off a building or catching on fire. Even your biggest screw up will only result in the repainting of your kitchen walls. Many a time this year has one of those well-meaning experiments gone awry leaving me to think, “Well, I’ll never do THAT again.”

So in thinking over the past year, here are some of my favorite mistakes and epiphanies from 2010…

Keep an eye on the pig

What not to do at a pig roast

This was the year of my first whole pig roast, and of course, there were follies along the way. The biggest was the fire. Instead of low and slowin’ the pig, miscommunication led to broiling the Wilbur for almost an hour. Luckily, this mistake was rectified before the meat was destroyed, but the crispy skin was a bit too crispy for consumption. For more on pig roasting, see the post.

You can find hummus anywhere

Bean Tree, Eastern Tennessee

This summer I journeyed to the backwoods of Tennessee to the home of Dollywood. Amidst the neon signs, rebel-themed attractions and deep fryers, I feared my family and I might just starve. Until a Deliverance-like drive down a endless deserted road led us to hippy dining salvation, the Bean Trees Cafe. No matter where life takes you, there’s always something good to eat.

For more on Tennessee eats, check out the original post.

Don’t crack the cheesecake

Beet and goat cheese cheesecake

There is such a thing as being overly anxious for cheesecake, which I learned this year. Cheesecake requires a little bit of care, otherwise you are left with faults the size of San Andreas. Never fear, my mistakes are your gain. Here are the safeguards for keeping your cheesecake pristine and intact post-bake.

How to make the best carrots ever

Lemon and Thyme Carrots

Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables. Not necessarily because of their grand versatility, but for their simple and delicious taste. Although, despite my love for carrots, I still hadn’t mastered a tried and true preparation for them. Until this year, and now it seems there is no other way to eat them. Gently cooked, caramelized, a little thyme, deglazed with lemon juice. Excuse me, my mouth is now watering.

What to do with 5 lbs of matzoh

Toffee Hazelnut Matza Crunch

This past March was my first Passover. In preparation, we went to the market to pick up the Seder essentials: horseradish, gefilte fish and, naturally, matzoh. Five pounds of it to be exact, for 4 bucks. Seriously. So after the first box was consumed by snacking, the remaining 4 boxes needed a purpose. What can you do with an unsalted unleavened cracker? Top it with toffee, chocolate and nuts! Om nom nom nom.

Stay tuned to see what mistakes I’ll be making in 2011…

2 thoughts on “what i learned in 2010

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