I make stuff often. I cook meals, I make cakes and cupcakes and cookies with the kids (under duress sometimes), I sew, I knit, I crochet. What I don’t do often is take pictures of the stuff. Sometimes I get it together and take pictures. Sometimes I get it even more together and put the pictures on a blog or Facebook or something.
I did not intend my latest cookery experiment to be one of those times.
So thing 1 and 2 have a nice daycare. It’s attached to my work, it’s lovely. They have barbecues and parties with reasonable frequency. At the end of this week they will have a Christmas party. Parent are requested to bring a plate. Salad or a dessert. I had thought a while back I would maybe do deviled eggs, but then wasn’t sure about transport and stuff, so opted for dessert instead.
I took thing 1 and 2 to the store as I was buying candy for a gift exchange thing I was involved in. Thing 1 was kind of freaking out about all the candy I was putting in the cart so I let her pick out something for her, which ended up being marshmallows.
Now an idea percolated in my head a bit. I could make cake or cupcakes and somehow incorporate the marshmallows so they wouldn’t be in the house. I thought, maybe rocky road cupcakes. But then I couldn’t really put nuts in them because public food and preschoolers. So I thought, hot cocoa cupcakes. I’ll just top the cupcakes with marshmallows and that’ll be easy. So I did.
But marshmallows kind of melt and burn and toast up in the oven. So they did. And the cupcakes are pretty ugly. Which I don’t really care about. I tasted the cake (because I had enough cake batter left over to make a cake too) and it was good.
But here was my mistake. I posted about making hot chocolate cupcakes on Facebook. Which is apparently exciting. And people were curious and asked for a picture. So I showed off my ugly cupcakes, stating that they were ugly and that there was probably some trick to not having burnt melted marshmallows, but whatever, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Only to get oh so (not) helpful suggestions and recipes and images about what they should have looked like and what I was trying for.
I wasn’t trying for anything. Except making something people could eat at a daycare Christmas party. Not everything is based on Pinterest, or some recipe I’m trying to perfect, or some picture I saw. Actually for me very little is. I mean, I accept that my idea was not totally original, but I wasn’t trying to make some picture perfect copy that I’d seen somewhere.
Is it so rare that people sometimes just make stuff up? Or is that only acceptable if you take pro-photo images and get your meticulous documentation pinned or retweeted or shared etc?
If I did like marshmallow, or even my idea, I would probably make them again, but prettier next time (and they still wouldn’t be that great because meh), but ooooomg I was experimenting and making something up. People can still do that. Right?
I ran into this in a big way a few years ago. I wanted to make some chicken and dumplings. So I went looking for dumpling recipes. Pretty sure I even specified ‘from scratch’. I had a hell of a time finding one that was not something along the lines of ‘drop Pillsbury biscuit dough into pot’, or ‘drop Bisquick into pot’. Come on. People made dumplings before brand names. Even better there was a lot of self congratulatory back patting about home made, from scratch food. Sorry, no. Dumplings are flour, fat, salt and rising agent. They are not hard to make and do not need to come out of a box. I’m all for buying store bought ketchup or other things where the time cost to make it warrants an industrial response, but I have an objection to thinking you are cooking from scratch when you’re dumping cans together. While cream of mushroom soup is a useful time saver compared to making my own I don’t consider a recipe using it exactly ‘from scratch’.
For me Pinterest and other similar things, even recipes, are simply a source of inspiration. Just a starting point. I see a skirt or dress tutorial. I think, I could do that, but what if I did it this way…? So I do. I see a recipe, I think that sounds good, but what if I used this instead…? So I do. I don’t think it makes me particularly innovative. But I sure feel that way sometimes. Like I’m just crazy for having even semi-original ideas or not painting-by-numbers. When people ask me where I saw something I made, or how I got the idea to do it that way I just kind of want to gape at them.