The thing that changed
A few years ago, I decided to make a cake for my Christmas at my cousin's house. I made up the recipe myself, using a custard mix for part of it but I left off the carmel icing and used a cookie-bar base and whipped cream topping instead. It looked good, but once I took my first bite, I realized that without the carmel coating, the custard had no sweetness to it. And the cookie bar bottom had basically no sweetness to it either, since it was supposed to have a very sugary fruit toping, instead of a very mild custard topping. So I made a dessert that had basically no sweetness.
It took me a while to learn the moral of this tale, and to really make it part of my new thinking. Because I have always prided myself on my ability to improvise on the spot, or to make a situation work.
But when I tried to fix this dessert, by adding a sugar coating to it afterwards and trying to rebake it, creme brule style, it became even more of a disaster. The custard and whipped cream melted into the cookie bar base and the whole thing became a soggy mess, and it still did not have any flavor.
So now I simply have to say that I have learned a very simply lesson, one which I suppose most people instinctively know.
I have learned that if I want dessert, I have to use a recipe. And best if I use a recipe that has already been tried at least once by someone else, before I go mucking about in it.
In at least this one area of my life, I no longer have a strong desire to "wing it." I'd like to just do something tried and true that actually tastes good.
Tonight I am trying to make salt fish and potatoes, and hope I can manage that OK.