Friday, September 12, 2008

Yes to Substitutions

Never in my married life have I had all the listed ingredients for a recipe. No. Never. Sometimes it might be the biggie ingredient (like ice cream in a banana split), but other times it's just a little sneaky thing like baking powder or salt.

It used to be that I would just ignore the little lost item. Afterall, what did salt do to deserve living in a bread recipe? Pul-leaze. Then I would bake the food and it would taste terrible and I would still give it to a professor to eat and the professor usually said it was great. So there.

Then I experimented with leaving some of the big items out of recipes, and maybe - just maybe - that didn't go so great. It really didn't go so great when it was Christmas Eve and my parents were here and I had also invited over the most refined student I've ever worked with. She, of course, is a gourmet chef. But, no, that didn't stop me from cooking for her and forgetting an ingredient or two and still continuing to cook because it was Christmas Eve and the pizza place was already closed. Okay. My mom saved that one with some nifty rearranging of the menu.

Moving forward to this week. All I wanted to do was please my children and husband with a chocolate cake when they returned home from their labors. So there I was doing my usual Google thing. (I am very grateful that Google had a friendly take-over of my brain some time ago. What would I do without them?) I typed:
"What can I substitute for oil, eggs, water, et cetera in a cake?"

It was such a simple question; one I've used 20.1 million times already this week decade. But do you know what the first response hit was? Do you?

Not apple sauce, butter, yogurt or any of the other things I've learned about over the years.

The first response was this:

"When will people stop messing up recipes by substituting ingredients? If you don't have what you need, you have 3 options: 1. go to the store, 2. find another recipe, or 3. use your substitution and resign yourself to the fact that you have ruined the recipe."

After I stopped crying, I substituted every single ingredient in the recipe and instead of baking it for 35 minutes, I baked it for 20.  It was perfect.  So there!


Unknown said...

Yeah for you. I have found that through substitutions I can create new recipes...I agree...substitute away! Have a great weekend.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

LOL I never follow a recipie too closely anyway... I usually call my mom or used to call my mother in law (hard to call bellview and get an answer) or on occasion any variety of old folks who can tell me their secrets on how to swap or make something work LOL...
and when all else fails I do keep a box or two of toss together cake in the pantry :)

Jeannelle said...

What is that old saying..... "Necessity is the mother of invention". Stay in need and be an inventor, I guess.

Anonymous said...

That is TOO funny! I guess Google is going for a new "brutally honest" policy!!! hahahaha!

Have a great weekend :)

Mental P Mama said...

Move over Martha!

Karen said...

Wow. I'm a substitution queen, but I think you have me beat by a mile. You go, girl!

Rabidparadise said...

That's hilarious! I found the same thing the other day when I tried to substitute brown sugar for white. Kinda made me want to give up. Love your blog!

Pleasing Procrasinator said...

The best chocolate cake ever is made without eggs or oil, secret ingredient, MAYO!! Yum!!
The recipe has been passed down in our family forever.