Those of you who know me know that I’m no gourmet chef. Early on in our marriage, I fixed Wes dinner, and he gamely ate those fish sticks and canned corn as if it was a delicacy. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I was so proud of my fish stick feast that I actually took a picture of it. Here it is, circa January 2005…
Delish, right? (And I’m just now noticing, but I totally didn’t give him any ice in his glass. Still in Namibia in my mind, likely, wondering why anyone would want their cool drinks COLD.)
When I served him the same meal the next week, he wasn’t nearly as gracious about it. Apparently, fish sticks do not qualify as fine dining. Which was unfortunate for me, since that was one of only a handful of “meals” that I could prepare without actually putting some real effort into it. You mean, this man is going to EAT?! And he’s going to expect me to COOK something and not just forage for junk food in the cupboards at mealtimes, like I had been doing for years on my own?! What?! Incidentally, this was the same man I had watched eat actual sheep brains just a few months earlier, so I was baffled by his suddenly distinguished palette. (I have a picture of that sheep brain sandwich, too, but I’ll refrain from posting it. I took a bite just to say I experienced all of Lebanon and gagged on the first fishy-tasting bite, but Wes ate it all. Yeah, and he was complaining about frozen fish sticks!)
To my credit, I’ve been trying since then. And I’ve been failing a lot more often than I’ve been succeeding, but I now know what to do with a whole, raw chicken (scream in disgust as I cut and rip it apart), have extensive experience with seasoning and breading (which builds up and sticks on your fingers, giving you Muppet hands — always a plus!), and can actually shop in the grocery store without stopping little old ladies on the dry goods aisle and screeching, “What is chicken bouillon?!” at them. (Which I’ve done before. All part of the learning process.)
I’m better. But I’m still learning. And this is where the Pioneer Woman steps in. I’m not sure what you know about the Pioneer Woman, but the rumor is that she lives about a thirty minute drive from us, out in the wilds of rural southwest Oklahoma. That alone would endear me to her, but she’s won my affections over even more by posting wonderful recipes and instructions on her blog WITH PICTURES. The words are great, but only the pictures can comfort me when the yeast bubbles up and it appears as though the dough will slink out of the fridge and attack me as I sleep at night. All I have to do is look at her pictures and see that — yes — that dough is super scary, but she’s still alive and writing, so it must not be dangerous. Whew!
I wanted to share with you The Donut Project. Wes told the girls I would do something special for breakfast today because our usual Friday morning, before school outing, McDonald’s breakfast, was a no-go thanks to our upcoming vacation and how hard I’ve squeezed the budget to prepare for THOSE meals out. (Trust me, I tried to squeeze a couple more hotcakes and McGriddles out of that budget, but it was yielding NO breakfast food. Sad day.) I followed this recipe last night, put that super scary dough into the fridge, and readied myself to be up at the unholy hour of 4am to finish up.
Charlie, the only other Faulk up at that point, provided great encouragement as he attempted to eat the work of my hands. (If he wanted it so bad, it must have been great, right? Of course, he’s also been known to eat fleas and pieces of scrap metal, so…)
I was a little nervous, thinking that surely I would mess this up. Which is why the end result took my breath away…
Donuts! Donuts! DONUTS! (And they actually tasted great!)
The official judge-and-jury-in-one woke up around 6:30 to touch, smell, and taste the product of all that hard work…
Biting into the donut (with a super scary look on her face — must be the yeast with its evil, transforming powers!)…
It’s a hit!
As Emma nodded and cheered, Ana took a dainty bite and said, “This is the best dinner you’ve EVER made us, Mommy.” Well, it’s breakfast, but I’ll take the compliment.
So, there you have it, my fellow fish stick chefs. YOU can actually cook something! I’m surprised every time I make something edible, but this one took the donut because — hello?! Homemade glazed donuts?! That didn’t come out of a biscuit can, then shaken around with some powdered sugar?! (Which I’ve done before and which DOESN’T quite measure up to this.) Thank you, Pioneer Woman!
Anyway. Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of this than totally necessary because I’ve been awake since 4am and I’ve been around a lot of crazy, scary yeast. I’m feeling a little punchy thanks to all of that rising dough. Oh, come on — THAT was funny!
And for those of you who might be interested in another project that has nothing to do with donuts or my culinary ineptitude, be sure to check back here on Monday morning. There’s a GREAT prize involved… and it goes with donuts…