Over the weekend, I got all blitzy and decided to clear out the wooden chest in the corner of our lounge. It’s always been the “I don’t know where it goes so it can go in here” place, but like a woman possessed, I decided that Sunday was the day to go through it all.
I bagged up everything that was my husband’s, and he scanned through it quickly, deciding to keep everything. Whatevs. That’s his prerogative.
But I got ruthless. All my old school books? In the bin. Random bits of paper with meaningless things on them? In the (recycling) bin. Old school projects? In. The. Bin.
Some of my artwork from when I was little was too special to throw out, so I kept those. The pictures I could bear to part with, I photographed first, as a way of preserving it for some unknown future use. I came across a box full of old birthday cards, including ones from both sets of grandparents who have passed away, handmade ones from my brother and sister, and three very special ones from my dear friend, Cookie Bear. These, I kept.
As I was doing my blitz, a part of me wondered if I shouldn’t just hold on to everything, as a way of, you know, preserving my past or something. My mother is a hoarder – not pathologically, but she doesn’t throw anything away unless it is threadbare or utterly kaput – and a child of the Depression. She saves everything for the day when it might come in handy, and I think my constant cleaning and cleansing is a way of going against this.
Sure, there are times when I get ruthless, and then a few months later, wonder what I’ve done with something that I suddenly can’t live without, and then I regret my blitzing tendencies. But most of the time, I think carefully about what I’m getting rid of, I ponder it for a while and then make my decision: keep or cull. And then I act. Pow.
Also on Sunday, I decided it was time to try making macarons. I’d pinned this recipe ages ago, and it was finally time to give it a go.
They took a lot longer to prepare than I expected. I did spend some time online checking out techniques and troubles, trying to work out exactly what my egg whites should look like when they were done. I also had trouble with my piping nozzle and the size of my pre-drawn circles, and in the end, went freehand.
As the first tray baked, I saw straight away that they weren’t working. There were cracks and peaks, and no feet. NO FEET, people, no feet. In the macaron world, this is the disaster to end all disasters.
The second tray was as bad as the first, but as they came out of oven and cooled enough to be sampled, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. It was evident that I was making heavy meringues instead of macarons.
The third tray were the best yet, almost good enough to be called macarons. What was different? I mixed the last of the batter a bit more, and used a different baking function on the oven (one that wicks more moisture out). Everything I read pointed towards the mixture being under-mixed, so next time (yes, I will try again), I will be sure to give an extra few stirs, just to be sure.
I had issues with brownies for a while, but I’ve mastered them now, and I am determined not to let macarons beat me either.