I think the part I enjoy most about making cottage foods is the creative process. I know that many people would probably do things the easy way (it does make the most sense). Google a recipe and use that recipe word for word as it is. Oh, but not me. I am known for having to do things the hard way. I look at tons of recipes. I read them to see if they sound like they will work. There is a science to cooking, and after reading winning recipes and those of losing recipes, you begin to build a skill to detect when something doesn’t look just right about a recipe–for example, a recipe calling for 8 cups of confectioner’s sugar AND a five 5 ounce can evaporated milk. I can read that one sentence and tell you that the cake would be mega sweet. I take all that I learn from this recipe and that recipe, and then I create my own (from scratch of course).
Well, this cake is my newest creation. The customer’s husband was turning 40, and she wanted a special cake for him. I asked what his favorite flavors were, and she said, “Chocolate and cherries.” Well, I couldn’t resist the desire to make buttercream filled chocolate covered cherries to top the cake. This cake weighs in at 7 lb. 10 oz. It has a Maraschino Cherry buttercream filling and chocolate ganache frosting on a basic chocolate cake. It was an enjoyable order, and wow, have I gotten LOTS of compliments on the photo on my Facebook page. So tell me, what are your favorite flavors?
UPDATE: I just got a message back from my customer, and I’m really excited about her response to the cake. She said, “The cake was DIVINE!! My husband was so impressed as were our friends. When we FINALLY got home yesterday, we cut some more and shared with both sets of parents and they loved it as well. It really is the best cake we’ve ever had.” WOW!! The best they have EVER had. I’m on the moon right now! That is really a stellar review for an amateur to receive. I know God has blessed me with this gift. I’m excited to see what else I can create.
What food legacy will you leave behind? Fast food, microwave dinners, prepackaged meals, left overs? After being gifted with the talent to cook and bake basically anything I want, I have started considering the legacy that I WOULD have left behind if God hadn’t gifted me with such a talent. I have cooked most of my adult life, but it was really basic cooking. I still am no gourmet by a long shot (not that I would want to be). My legacy would have been one of super-sized menus and prepackaged meals.
Somewhat out of necessity, I started really watching what I purchased when grocery shopping. I made a rule for myself–buy only things that you have to cook yourself (and no, Hamburger Helper doesn’t count). Not only did I notice that my grocery bill dropped, but my cabinets and freezer were nearly always full. Add to that good news, a home that smells like “from scratch” cooking, and the combination is a little hard to beat. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a “prepacked” meal. The only thing I buy that would even get close to that would be the meatballs that are already prepared for you. I like meatballs over hamburger meat fried out, and they taste good. The time investment in making them myself would cause me to avoid meals with meatballs, so I felt that one diversion was ok.
Magazine titles such as “Cook’s Illustrated,” “Cooks Country,” “America’s Test Kitchen,” and “Mother Earth News all played an integral role in my success as a home cook. While I haven’t studied them a lot, I have gleaned a lot of knowledge from their helpful pages. Now, I am not intimidated by those who cook well. The process doesn’t confuse me. I have organized my kitchen, so I know where everything is and it’s comfortable for me regardless of what dish I am conquering.
Now, the family heritage project. I have started a project encouraging people to write down the recipes of those meals they enjoy for the sole purpose to pass them along to the next generation. Yeah, it takes a little time to write it all down, but it is very much worth it. Not only are you leaving instructions to a memory they will likely want to relive again and again, you also helped to instill better eating habits (as long as your recipe isn’t how to heat a frozen pizza). 🙂 So here is the first card in my family heritage project.