You'll have some epic stories to tell your kids.
One of my favorite memories with my college best friend, Meaghan, was our year-long couples cooking club. Along with three other newly-married couples, we took turns hosting elaborate, multi-course meals. We each chose a theme, and in a fit of idiocy I decided I would make use of my husband’s authentic Chinese cookbook.
At this point, it’s probably important to note that I had only recently begun learning to cook at all. My specialties were oven-baked chicken with a tomato-feta salsa and a brightly-colored casserole filled with spinach, pasta, chicken, cheese, and red bell peppers that our family friend aptly dubbed “nuclear casserole.” Tangled nests of fried noodles and hot-and-sour soup were nowhere in my repertoire, but on one afternoon filled with espresso and hilarity, Meaghan and I decided that not only could we cook authentic Chinese food, but we would.
Suffice it to say that actually, we couldn’t cook authentic Chinese food. The noodles were a tangled, tough, chewy mess of confusion and failure, but the clear winner in the category of “disastrous cooking” was the hot-and-sour soup.
It was all looking (and smelling) fabulous until we happened upon the conundrum posed by the instruction to reserve the large amount of water used for rehydrating the mushrooms. There was no instruction to actually use said reserved water anywhere in the recipe, so we couldn’t figure out why were supposed to reserve it. In the end, we decided it was supposed to be poured into the soup.
It definitely was not supposed to be poured into the soup. Our soup ended up looking, smelling, and tasting like nothing so much as rehydrated mushroom water. The entire dinner was 100 percent inedible, but thankfully Meaghan’s homemade sushi was ridiculously delicious. Much more delicious than anything I provided, except the liberal amounts of sake that were partaken of with abandon (especially after everyone tasted the mushroom water soup).
Sarah von Bargen (of Yes and Yes fame) lists our Chinese cooking misadventure in her post on “15 Ways to catch up with friends (that aren’t grabbing a coffee or a cocktail!),” and I have to say that I agree with her 100 percent on every single idea. Especially the one that left the legacy of my and Meaghan’s dreadful mushroom water soup.
The recipe that’s arduous and overwhelming when you’re making it yourself is awesome and fun when you’re making it with friends.
You can even make it a reoccurring theme – try to find The Perfect Recipe for cheese souffle, or meet once a month to try a new fresh pasta recipe! The added bonus here is, obviously, that you get to eat something delicious at the end of your time together!
Obviously, the anticipation of eating something delicious at the end of your time together doesn’t always work out. But on the off chance that you too create a culinary travesty and serve it to your friends, look on the bright side — you’ve also created a hilarious story with which to regale your friends, family, and children with for years to come.
If that’s not friendship, what is?