Okay, so we all know that a million is probably a stretch, but I have made this recipe a lot. It is the old standby I use for all sorts of different reasons...a gift for a friend, a side for lobster, a breakfast playgroup...it has probably gone from my bowls to my ovens more than most other things that I make. It is my go to, my fail safe.
And on Tuesday, I messed it up.
Messing up an old standard is something that happens to everyone at some point, but my mistake highlighted a problem that find in a lot of cookbooks, therefore making it a really useful mistake at this point in my life.
The recipe is for Hot Blueberry Bread and is out of one of my favorite cookbooks that is long since out of print, Blueberry Hill. Like many recipes, it says to grease the bread tins before pouring in the batter. Usually when the directions say to grease I use butter and make sure that I rub every nook and cranny of that pan, but on Tuesday morning I was in a rush and decided to spray it with Pam instead. I have used Pam to grease a pan in a pinch before and have never been burned...the time had come for that streak to end.
As I tried to remove my very stuck hot blueberry bread from the first pan (the recipe makes two) the entire bottom separated from the loaf and my blood began to boil. I was mostly mad at myself, but I was also irritated at the lack of specific directions that I find in cookbooks. It is impossible to make everything crystal clear, but what would the harm be in telling someone to grease with butter or Crisco? It was not necessarily that I blamed this specific cookbook, once I calmed down I remembered that it was written a long time ago (in the late 1950's) and at that time it might have been standard to use butter or Crisco since non-stick cooking spray was not invented (or at least not patented) until 1957, the issue was more that this is something that I run into a lot.
By the way, the second loaf of bread after much careful coaxing also separated it's top from it's bottom. Fortunately, I was at least able to save it enough to send it to my child's school for snack.
What does this have to do with my cookbook? Well, I would assume that most readers would realize by now, but in case you have not, it was a strong reminder to me to make sure that I write my recipes with as much detail and explanation as possible. There is no harm in reminding people of techniques or of including color palates for rouxs, temperatures for deep frying, or which grease works best for which recipes.
Some cooks might decide to make changes or ignore my instructions, but at least I will have given them the proper tools to do it the right way...