I tried a new recipe.
For any normal human on the planet, this would not be news.
But I’m not normal.
And if you’re a regular to the blog here, you just fell off your seat. Or, at the very least, your eyebrows raced up to your hairline pretty quickly.
I hate cooking, but with the ever-expanding CIRCUS and the barreling down of the holidays, I needed a quick, go-to breakfast that was less pre-packaged and more nutritious, even if it does have cream cheese in it. (Side note: Did you know that if you soften cream cheese for a little bit too long in the microwave, you then have to clean the microwave?)
Enter Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Sausage Balls.
I figured cooking a batch of something protein-heavy once to reheat each morning would be simpler in the long run. Far better than me risking life and limb over the stove every morning before the sun comes up to fuel the brain for the day job.
Fewer dishes, too.
Well, I thought fewer dishes until the Hubs walked through and asked what happened to all of our big stirring/flipping utensils hanging above the countertop. Then I realized I was only on Step One and full of regret. The recipe suggested using a countertop mixer, but I figured I could strong-arm the dough since what in the world would I do with a countertop mixer?
I figured it’d be even easier to stir because, instead of softened cream cheese, I had straight-up liquid.
I figured wrong. Not one stiff-ended spatula or large spoon or even the potato masher would get through this stuff.
I ended up putting baggies on my hands and trying to knead the dough (I think part of my cooking aversion is an aversion to touching raw meat—too many salmonella medical dramas on television). My fingers poked through the baggies, and I touched the raw meat anyway.
After wrestling and wrestling with it, I finally got the stupid balls onto the baking sheets and put the first batch in.
Waited the 20 minutes.
They came out… crispy.
I tried one. That blasted ball sucked all the moisture out of my mouth on the second chew.
Second batch went in for two minutes less, me hoping the whole time that was long enough to kill the salmonella, E. coli, or whatever else lurks in uncooked pork. I also drank a bottle of water.
The second batch came out… crispy. Perhaps they’re supposed to be crispy?
I tried one.
Grabbed another bottle of water.
At this point, I only put the third batch in out of spite and because I could hear Grandma from her mansion above shouting through the clouds, “Don’t you waste that! It’ll hold body and soul together if nothing else.”
Body and soul together… that was her go-to when she wasn’t thrilled with what she offered for a meal or snack.
My body and my soul got together, alright, and told me this would be the last time I tried a batch of anything I’d never cooked before.
The last thing I tried to cook that I’d never cooked before ended up with a nice Saran Wrap glaze… You’d think I’d learn my lesson.
The dinger on the oven went off (and yes, I stayed close to the stove this whole process—I had a whole plethora of dishes to do and raw meat to wash off my hands, remember?).
Guess what? Crispy again.
I did NOT try a third one. I figured the body and/or the soul would go on strike, and I will need them both to get through the next week.
I bagged them up and tossed them into the fridge (again, with a vision of Grandma standing with her arms crossed, daring me to throw them away).
This morning, after a fitful night’s sleep because of all the WATER, I pulled a few out of the bag. Heated them in the microwave. And… still crispy. Still required 16.9 fluid ounces of help. But they don’t taste as disappointing as they did last night.
Chili and stew do that, too. Get better as they set (until a certain point, then you’ll be sitting in the ER).
But I’m not hungry now. And they weren’t entirely awful.
I suppose that’s the point of any sustenance.
They’re not fit for company, though, unless company is of the canine variety—and even then... (I'm remembering a real-life Schnauzer that wouldn't eat my enchiladas). Envisioning a guest with one of these balls in their hands makes me sweat.
It’s much like my writing-during-the-CIRCUS-life process lately.
I want to. So I do it. Then I stand in regret realizing how much I’ve dirtied up. Half-baked plots. Twisted characters. Too-crispy dialogue.
Keep going anyway.
Keep trying new things anyway. Three batches worth, as a matter of fact. Determination, that is.
Pray someone doesn’t pick it up in its current state and start going all judgey-judgey on it.
Let the work set. Walk away. Do something else.
Sleep on it. Dream about it.
Try it again the next day and realize…
Yeah, the story’s still not fit for company, but it’ll hold the dream and the determination together in the meantime.
Grandma would be proud.