Wiping my hands on my pants is as close as I’ll ever come to having baking jeans.My baking gene skipped out on me somewhere in the evolution of my cooking skills.
Last year we began Spring Break with a trip to Black Rock near Pocahontas, Arkansas for a weekend of camping, history lessons and cooking.This year we had planned to stay home during Spring Break, saving that precious vacation money for a long weekend in Memphis for the Beale Street Music Festival in May.But then I caught wind of another Dutch Oven Cooking Class.I should allow the culprit who spilled those beans to me to remain nameless, because the poor people in the class with me might not appreciate that she led me to them. But Kim Williams, what follows is all your fault.
This trip was going to be different right from the start because A) we were taking the Hobo with us and she’s never camped in a campground full of people before and B) the trip would be short, one night only.I was anxious to take her because I know the trails at the park are short and not crowded except around the fishing lake so it would be a great place to continue training Hobo to be a good trail dog.The cooking class wasn’t slated to begin until 4 pm so we decided to take it easy on Saturday morning and not leave until around 11.We made it to the park, got the tent all set up and a dog run fixed, all well ahead of our 4 pm deadline.
We arrived at the pavilion to find lovely park interpreter Krystal ready to get cooking. There are stations set up for each dish: two different pastas and a dessert as well as a bread station. We’ve done this before.We know what’s coming: soon it will be time to choose a station for which dish you want to help make. So what in heaven’s gate possessed me? What do I let the small one talk me into? The bread. Why didn’t I choose the pasta? WHY? I know I’m not good at bread.I feel very blessed if my homemade bread concoctions turn out. I can barely make cookies. I tried to make homemade biscuits recently.My family dubbed them the biscookies because they were completely flat.I don’t have the baking gene.
I kneaded too much, or used too much floor, or both. While my partner’s dough rose up to a double sized lovely air pocket filled, moist mass of doughy goodness, my lifeless dough sat in the bowl, just a big lump of goo and never rose. Luckily my husband has a rock gut that is quite used to eating my kitchen failures. He was happy to eat the matzo flat but and still doughy cheese bread I ended up with.Someone said it was like having a cheese pizza but I would have complained about the crust if I hadn’t been the one to cook that pizza.
The lasagna and the penne pasta with chicken and sausage were both divine. And the cooking crew scarfed them up quickly.Dessert was a filled rolled cookie: a cream cheese butter crust spread with jam, dried cherries and coconut.I hesitated while enjoying the main course and didn’t actually get to eat one of the cookies but I heard they were delicious.The cookies were gone but lucky me, my bread was so ugly there was plenty left for seconds.I MEANT to do that.
The truth is, every once in a while, I make bread that sort of turns out. Or at least it’s edible. Okay my family claims it’s edible and they eat it.No one has been to the ER yet.