“I am highly disappointed in this recipe for which I altered literally every step and ingredient,” by Alana Murphy

Sep 28th, 2016 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

I have to say that for all the love this recipe gets in the blogosphere, I’m just kind of underwhelmed.

As kind of a leading voice in the food blogger comments section community, I set aside an entire Saturday to prepare this dish, eagerly anticipating the results.

I used coconut oil instead of butter, since I am selectively vegan and prefer the cleaner flavor. I increased the amount by a half-tablespoon for some extra richness. I didn’t have an onion lying around and so swapped in two minced shallots and a whole head of garlic (unpeeled, naturally) because garlic makes everything better and I automatically distrust any chef who omits it.

For the roux, I used almond meal in place of flour because I am experimenting with the gluten-free thing and have been finding that it really regulates my bowels and moods. A dash of nutmeg was supposed to go into the roux as well, but as soon as I got my canister out of the spice cabinet I couldn’t resist eating the rest of my supply with a spoon right then and there—the buzz I get really helps me focus in the kitchen! Just a tip for all the other home cooks out there.

Why make a basic roux when you can have a beurre blanc? I went to the fridge to get out some white wine—well, actually it was this home-brewed blueberry mead left over from my last relationship—and threw a splash in the pan. I drank the rest of the bottle as I cooked, because that’s just, like, the law when a recipe calls for wine ;)

I whisked in heavy whipping cream in the place of the whole milk, thinking that some extra dairy fat would offset the acidity of the mead.

It’s always a disappointment when a recipe asks for frozen spinach, as we are living in a New Golden Age of Dark Greens where beautiful bunches abound at local farmer’s markets. Personally I’ve been on a huge romaine kick since last Passover when my aunt used it instead of horseradish as the bitter herb representing the slavery of our forefathers. It’s kind of a superfood, as it turns out (or a “Jewperfood,” one might even say!), and I saw it working really well in the place of spinach here, so I got this big old head of fresh romaine out of the crisper and shredded it right into the pan with my bare hands and let it cook down in the sauce, which had turned an enticing sepulchral color at this point.

For seasoning I was going to add the usual soupçon of fleur-de-sel but I realized that I was actually out! I did find a little bag of mysterious fine white powder in an empty drawer so I used that instead (not on the food).

The instructions said to spoon the mixture into individual ramekins and top with breadcrumbs and bake until golden-brown. Well, I used to have a couple of cute little ramekins, but my ex and I were a very passionate couple and we would sometimes hurl china at each other when things got heated and so my collection of dishes and cooking vessels is pretty diminished as a result. I decided to pour the stuff from the pan onto a cookie sheet and go from there.

(By the way, “breadcrumbs?” Just any generic everyman’s breadcrumbs? Not me: I always use panko or homemade).

At this point I was getting really impatient—and, weirdly, I didn’t even have that much of an appetite anymore—so I shoved the sheet under the broiler to speed up the process. And this is where I really take issue with the recipe: at no stage did the author even THINK to mention that if you’re going to use a whole head of garlic, you should *maybe* have peeled it because the papery skins might *happen* to catch fire in the broiler and the high alcohol content of the blueberry mead just *might* encourage a flambé-type situation which will then spread to the adjacent dessicated mouse carcass that you forgot to get rid of (WHY doesn’t the recipe have a vermin-disposal step) and suddenly your apartment is ablaze (the author SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED a reminder to keep your assortment of volatile organic chemicals far away from flaming rodents) and you’ve miraculously survived with minimal third-degree burns but you never got renter’s insurance (THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN EASY TO SUGGEST, um, I don’t know, between making the roux and adding the greens) and now you’re out on the street and, humiliation of humiliations, you have to call your ex (whose number you claimed to have deleted but now he’ll know that you lied) and all of this because of some tragically trendy poorly-construed internet gratin that nobody bothered to tell you is a PERNICIOUS DESTROYER of all that we as civilized society hold dear.

TL;DR: recipe was pretty bland and disappointing, would not make again.


defenestration-alana-murphyAlana Murphy is an NYC-based writer, pianist, and graduate student in musicology, which means that her savings account would make you really sad. She has contributed to The Yard (Juilliard’s independent newspaper) and LEVELER Poetry. Alana mostly writes for her chagrined captive audience of Facebook friends, but has recently become interested in spreading her gospel of degeneracy to a wider public.


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