"Don't worry, Honey. We all have our little failures."
Little did I understand the profundity of these words uttered by my mom when she tried to comfort me as I gasped in horror at my pan of runny fudge. I was only 12 but I knew that fudge is not supposed to be runny. It was an obvious sign that I should never make fudge again. A 12 year old girl knows these things. If at first I fail... never ever try again.
The sad thing is that adults too often respond to failure in just the same way. A cake is lopsided, a pie suffers from the dreaded soggy bottom, or that loaf of bread could be mistaken for a brick. Sometimes life throws unexpected and very unwelcome curve balls at each of us. Is it time to quit or is it time to remember that we all do, indeed, have our little failures? Failure is not an "if" of life. It is a when. It does not matter that one fails. What matters is what one does in the face of failure.
Mimi's Kitchen was recently host to one of the many little failures of life. I was intrigued by vintage recipes of molded Jell-O. I found a mold at a local junk store and knew the time had come to introduce Friends of the Kitchen to molded Jell-O salad. With my 50¢ mold and a box of lime Jell-O in the pantry I was ready to make Under-the Sea Salad.
I approached the vintage project with great confidence that in a mere 12 hours a green tower of Jell-O would stand tall on my mid- century dessert platter. I followed the recipe precisely. I even added salt as per instructions. I let the first green layer chill in my mold until set, but not firm. Then I carefully scooped the next layer of cream cheese and green Jell-O mixture into the mold and set the whole salty affair back into the refrigerator to set until firm.
The next day I tested my Jell-O. It appeared to be completely firm. I carefully followed instructions for un-molding a Jell-O salad and it worked! I heard the ever so faint suction noise as the Jell-O released itself from the mold and landed with a faint 'plop' on my perfectly cute 1940s dessert plate. It looked great but only for a moment.
As soon as the Jell-O realized it was no longer contained by a vintage mold it began to leak and ooze and finally collapsed into a puddle. *sigh*
I quickly tasted each layer before they completed puddled themselves and discovered that salted green Jell-O tastes like sea water. Blech! I also discovered that cream cheese and Jell-O do not taste particularly good when mixed together.
This time I did not cry in the face of my little failure. I giggled and took pictures and tasted the yucky mess a few more times before tossing it down the garbage disposal.
I will try molded Jell-O salad again but I will not add salt. That tastes yucky.