Barbara Kafka's Moroccan Tomato Soup
Toast and a Summer Break

Reality Check


I sometimes get the impression that people think I can do no wrong in the kitchen. That my pasta's always al dente, my cakes always risen, my eggs always fluffy. Folks, let me tell you: no one, but no one, is immune to the kitchen disaster.

See this towering beauty of almond meringue, gooseberry-studded whipped cream and yellow cake? Baked in the wee small hours Sunday morning before a 50th wedding anniversary party for my dearest friends in the whole world attended by all their friends and family as well as a woman who regularly wins baking contests in her home state of Hessen? It was, in a word, raw on the inside. Raw. Raw. Raw.

As in, uncooked batter. As in, inedible. As in, DISASTER.

I almost melted into a puddle of shame. I almost let it ruin my day. I almost cried. And then my friend gave me a steadying hug, helped me saw off the top part of the meringue, scooped out the raw innards, and glued the good parts of the cake back together (after all, there was all that nice whipped cream and fresh gooseberries and meringue and toasted almonds). Then we put the surgically-enhanced cake back on the buffet table along with all the other home-baked marvels and you know what? It was the first cake gone.

So next time you find yourself whisk in hand, lower lip trembling, in front of a kitchen disaster, just remember: you're not alone! And there's got to be a solution somewhere. Even if it means throwing it all in the bin and ordering pizza.

Happy Monday!