I’m working on my aversion to the kitchen, an old knee-jerk feminist reaction of mine that doesn’t really make sense– people do have to eat after all, and I really don’t want to eat processed or prepared foods all the time… I guess I’m just a bit of a primadonna about food. I want only the best ingredients and meals made from scratch and I want it served to me on something clean and at a reasonable time for the meal in question, thank you very much. I will do the cleanup afterwards; I am good at that, and fast. But I don’t. want. to. cook. it. There, I admitted it. So what?
So, the fact is that often if I’m to achieve all this, especially the reasonable time part, I’m going to have to do some of the cooking myself. Fine. I can do this, millions of people do it every day, I am intelligent, what’s the big damn deal?
I decided to make johnnycakes for breakfast yesterday. We really had little else to choose from, as I hadn’t made it to the grocery store in quite some time (if you want to know why, grab three random small children and attempt to go shopping with them), and by substituting coconut oil for butter and using vanilla yogurt for plain I had what I needed. I used the recipe from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. Easy, right? I did exactly what it said. I even watched the clock after adding the two cups of boiling water to the corn flour and only let it sit for ten minutes, no more, no less. (I never am precise about time.) Already, much was amiss. I had batter, like pancake batter; the recipe said to hand-form the cakes. Impossible. I rechecked all the details; I had done everything as suggested. Surely the substitution of one lousy tablespoon of coconut oil for butter could not have caused this drastic of an issue? Oh well, nothing to do about it now. I poured the batter into my medium-low heat, very well seasoned iron skillet. Isn’t seasoned iron supposed to be the original nonstick surface? Yeah, right. Where was the part in the recipe that said, “These things stick like mad, and may require a crowbar to flip.” Oh, and the part that said, “I call them cakes, but they won’t hold together for shit, so you’ll get crumbles. I just didn’t want to call them ‘johnnycrumbles’ because then no one would make them. Instead, I want you to feel that your cooking skills are inferior so you’ll come to my restaurant where I use secret specialty tools to make these stupid things turn out right.” I tried a different pan and several gallons of oil. They stuck even worse. Out of enough batter to allegedly make 20 cakes, I managed to produce four that were reasonably intact.
Another thing the recipe neglected to mention is that they take forever to cook; in fact, the recipe flat-out lies about how long they take. The footnote there should have been, “Five minutes per side? HA! I dare you to try to turn one of these babies before twenty minutes!” I finally trudged through all the batter, and served the kids the intact ones with maple syrup, which they ate with gusto. (After two hours of waiting, they were pretty hungry.) I ate the crumbles. They were pretty tasty, but nowhere near the level of fabulous required to justify the preceding labor. I mean, if I’m going to give birth, I want a baby at the end. Seriously, I spent less time pushing out my 9 lb 4 ounce son.
Never again, johnnycakes!