What do you give an injured lemon? Lemonade.

1 02 2010

One thing I am not:  a delegator of tasks.  It’s just not my thing to tell other people what to do.  S. put me in charge of these lemon bars.  One other thing I am not:  a decision maker.  Neither is S.

Making the lemon bars wasn’t particularly difficult.  I consider myself competent in the kitchen.  I am not, however, a good baker.  It’s contradictory:  I like to have exact recipes but be able to riff off them.  Perhaps that is why the curry from the other day ended up so hot.  With baking, apparently, you have to be exact.  I have a difficult time being exact.

But we did it.  I put ingredients together, forgetting to give S. a job.  I stopped doing what I was doing as soon as I got frustrated and let S. take over (it just didn’t seem logical to me that you’d get a smooth batter from just butter and that much flour and sugar).

And then it happened:  we put the crust in to bake after a short debate on how many beans needed to be put on wax paper (and the placement of said beans) to be effective.  Then we started making the custard.  That’s when my leadership skills took off and suddenly came crashing down.  They took off in that I, rather quickly, delegated the task of egg-work to the wonderful S.  Eggs make me gag; I wanted nothing to do with them.  In the meantime, I handled the lemon juice and zest.  You know what I know about lemons?  Not a lot.  One of the things I don’t know is how much juice is in a lemon.  The lemons we had could fit in a one cup dry measuring cup.  We had four of them.  To me, that says we will have extra lemon juice.  Like all ill-considered theories, this fell apart in practice.  Those four lemons yielded just over one half cup of lemon juice.  Now what?

Perhaps I should mention there was also a snow storm that shut down the entire city.  I’ve seen snow here before, but it’s never stuck to the ground.  Now we have several inches.  The store wasn’t an option unless I was to strap tennis rackets to my shoes and trudge.


Here’s one difference between S. and I:  in considering the possibilities on how to proceed here’s what I thought:  we halve the custard part and we cut the still-baking crust and fit it into a smaller pan, then cut out one of the side pieces as a patch.  I didn’t say this out loud, thankfully; instead, I said we should just make a new crust and put it in the smaller pan.  Even though S. tries to refuse to make decisions, she does well under pressure.  Her solution wasn’t absurd, nor did it try to bend rules of physics.  She suggested me turn these into a frozen dessert.

One layer of whipped topping and a trip to the freezer later, these were some perfectly decent lemon bars.  I’m glad we didn’t have enough lemon juice; those things are lemony.  Way too tart for these old taste buds.  You add that layer of whipped topping though, and you have a tangy, refreshing treat.  S. doesn’t care for the crust.  The only thing I don’t like about it is it’s hard to get out of the pan—another job I should have delegated—and it’s hard to cut while frozen.

So this is what I learned from the lemon bar experience:  1) I do much better in a support role; 2) Even though she doesn’t want to make decisions, S. has a brain that is much more reasonable than mine; and 3) Whipped topping really is a cure-all for most baked goods.




3 responses

1 02 2010

Yum! lovely story. lovely frozen dessert. glad you turned it into something to suit your taste buds E. glad you survived the snow storm.

3 03 2010
Janie Liu

Thank you for your kind words about my jewelry! I’m honored that Sandy (www.sandyalamode.com) chose me for her first giveaway on her blog. =)

4 03 2010

I loved reading your story and those lemon bars look delicious, especially that whipped topping, mmmm!!!

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