books, Home

lessons learned

during the pre-cafe baking flurry …

  1. Don’t melt chocolate chips in the microwave. They do not melt – they cook and burn.
  2. Don’t try to pipe hot melted chocolate  through a  plastic icing decorating bag. Ouch!
  3. Don’t leave a glass bowl of icing too close to the edge of the counter – especially when you are in a bit of a hurry…
  4. Don’t put your beautifully iced cookies on top of one another without wax paper in between the layers. Even if the icing seems hard – it isn’t – trust me.
  5. Don’t try to cut a branch off the Christmas tree with the kitchen scissors… (that was Roger’s lesson)

Whenever I make mistakes, especially culinary ones, I am always encouraged by the thought  that I’ve learned a lesson and probably won’t repeat the same mistake twice.

It reminds me of another Islander. You know who I mean –  the famous fictional one.

On this occasion, Anne was helping Marilla host a tea party for the new minister, Rev. Allen, and his wife. She baked a cake but mistakenly added liniment instead of vanilla flavoring. Poor Anne was mortified and ran up to her bedroom.  Mrs Allen, whom Anne soon recognized as a kindred spirit, followed her:

“My dear little girl, you musn’t cry like this,” she said, genuinely disturbed by Anne’s tragic face. “Why, it’s all just a funny mistake that anybody might make.”

“Oh, no, it takes me to make such a mistake,” said Anne forlornly. “And I wanted to have that cake so nice for you, Mrs. Allan.”

“Yes, I know, dear. And I assure you I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness just as much as if it had turned out all right. Now, you mustn’t cry any more, but come down with me and show me your flower garden. Miss Cuthbert tells me you have a little plot all your own. I want to see it, for I’m very much interested in flowers.”

Anne permitted herself to be led down and comforted, reflecting that it was really providential that Mrs. Allan was a kindred spirit. Nothing more was said about the liniment cake, and when the guests went away Anne found that she had enjoyed the evening more than could have been expected, considering that terrible incident. Nevertheless, she sighed deeply.

“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it,” said Marilla. “I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne.”

“Yes, and well I know it,” admitted Anne mournfully. “But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice.”

“I don’t know as that’s much benefit when you’re always making new ones.”

“Oh, don’t you see, Marilla? There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”

“Well, you’d better go and give that cake to the pigs,” said Marilla. “It isn’t fit for any human to eat, not even Jerry Boute.”

It’s a new day with no mistakes in it yet…

I think I’ll head to town on that encouraging thought!

Don’t let me forget to add kitchen scissors to the shopping list 🙂


10 thoughts on “lessons learned

  1. Oh, what a fine one I am for making mistakes! I am sewing a bunch of Christmas gijfts. Sewing is new to me and rather…challenging. As I rip out seam, after seam, I remind myself that I am learning. I have made a few of the mistakes twice, but probably won’t a third time. Right? Let’s hope!Merry Christmas to you on the Island from me in the Mountains.


  2. Oh Lovella – a whole pot! That would be discouraging. I’d scoop em up too. Glad you enjoyed the Anne excerpt – she makes for a great winter read. Get them from your library. Oh, and in a few years? read them to that sweet grand-daughter and to your boy as well. My oldest boy loved the LM Montgomery books.I have learned a lot from Anne, Ellen :)It makes for great blogging material Suzanne – you wouldn’t have to wrack your brain for ideas. It cheered me up immensely when I thought, I’ll make a blog post about this! Besides, we’d hopefully benefit from your experience. Just as Willow says :)Hey Lorna – you probably already knew these things – I needed you up here in the kitchen with me. Now, wouldn’t that be fun??Glad I could help Kelli – I just about cried when I saw that the bottoms of the cookie were stuck to the pretty icing on the next layer. but them, I just took a knife and scraped it off. It didn’t ruin the taste and I managed to salvage quite a few of them. I don’t know why I didn’t think of the wax paper between layers but I don’t usually ice sugar cookies. We like them plainer. Glad you enjoyed it Doodah! And thanks for commenting. I love to know who is reading here :)Hey Eija – I thought so too – it was white chocolate chips and I knew they would keep their shape. I kept poking them them and they weren’t getting soft. So finally I took them out and they were brown on the bottom. Ruined…. Perhaps the lower temp is what is needed. I did it the old-fashioned way the next time – over hot water on the stove.


  3. A new day with no mistakes in it yet… Yeah, a truly great, comforting thought!I’m planning on making my Miss 11 read those stories, too. We saw them in television when I was a kid and they were just awesome – one of the best television series I’ve ever seen.FWIW – I always melt the chocolate in the microwave, I think it’s the best way. I don’t know if chips behave differently, but bigger chunks melt nicely – only you need to melt them very carefully, with a lower power and stir at some point, because the bites keep their form even if they’re melted, so if you only look at them you might be mistaken that they haven’t melted at all 🙂


  4. Don’t know if I’ve ever commented here before, though I love to read your sweet posts. I smiled at this one, b/c my mind flashed to Anne before I even read your first sentence referring to her. I use her sentiments regarding mistakes a lot. Glad the cookies and the cafe turned out well.


  5. Thank you for making those mistakes and reporting them to us so maybe we won’t make them too. I make enough of my own, on my own, I hope I won’t repeat others’!


  6. We had a conversation about Anne and Diana and the raspberry cordial earlier in our home as well! (Though it was from the movie as we just watched a bit of it 2 days ago:)And…thanks for the reminder about the wax paper in between iced cookies! I just made some, and your reminder was at the forefront of my mind:)


  7. I absolutely adore this little story. . .and now I want to add books to my Christmas list. . Next time. .I have one of my many many hurry in the kitchen moments. . .. I’ll come back and read this little excerpt. . .it’s wonderful. . .and who hasn’t done all the things you listed. Why. . it wasn’t even a year ago that I dropped an entire pot of spaghetti sauce that had taken me an entire day to make. .meatballs and all. . I did scoop it up though. .


Thanks for leaving a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s