Surprisingly powerful words: “I know what you’re thinking, but…”
I have to say, I don’t think I fully appreciated the power of this one little phrase until the fateful night of March 27th, 2013. The night I decided to bake cookies for my boyfriend’s birthday.
You see, when it comes to baking delicious things that are terrible for you, I am quite the aficionada. I don’t get to bake often enough, so when I do, I dig through a trove of blogger recipes to find the perfect dessert for the recipient of my floury-buttery love.
Grant just so happens to love the classic chocolate-peanut butter combo, so when I saw the link for peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks, I was already 99% sold. Then I looked at the recipe. It looked solid enough, except… EXCEPT: it called for full chocolate bars broken into chunks instead of chocolate chips. For you bakers out there, you know this can be an iffy situation. Chocolate chips have stabilizers that stop them from melting too much when you bake them. Chocolate bars do not.
So, of course, when I saw this, my first thought was, “I don’t know about this. It seems like those chocolate bars are going to explode all over the baking sheet and ruin these cookies.”
But then, as I looked over the recipe, my eyes caught on the phrase, “I know what you’re thinking, but…” The blogger did know what I was thinking and she went on to explain how the melty goodness of the bars really added to the recipe and how they would turn out fine.
“Well, okay, baking blogger,” I resolved. “Since you knew what I was thinking and expressly addressed my concern, I’ll go ahead and make ‘em as is.”
I made ‘em as is. And as I arranged the balls of dough on the cookie sheets, I thought, “Boy, these chocolate bar chunks really look like they’re going to explode out of the cookies and ruin everything.”
But then again, she did say, “I know what you’re thinking, but…”
I put them in the oven.
Eight minutes later I took them out.
The chocolate bars had exploded everywhere, burned, and ruined the cookies.
Did I mention it was 1 am? And that my boyfriend’s birthday was the following day? And that I was meeting him first thing in the morning?
YOU BETRAYED ME, BAKING BLOGGER. I TRUSTED YOU AND YOU BETRAYED ME.
I had plenty of time to mull over the error of my ways as I set about preparing brownies until 2 in the morning. Not only did I realize that it really was that one line that had made me trust her, but also that this had happened once before.
There had been another recipe, some abomination called Candy Chicken or some such thing that called for cooking chicken in a crockpot with brown sugar, soda, and vinegar. “Boy,” I thought, “that seems like it would be way too sweet.” But then the cooking blogger said, “I know what you’re thinking, but…” and explained how it really wasn’t too sweet.
“Well, okay,” I thought, and made it.
WAY TOO SWEET.
So apparently, I will do anything as long as you address my obvious concern with the phrase, “I know what you’re thinking, but…”
And that got me thinking. It is April Fool’s after all. I can’t be the only one with this Achilles’ heel.
Just think of the power one could yield with this. I could start a recipe blog called, “I Know What You’re Thinking, But…”
Then I’d post a recipe for muffins that calls for a whole cup of baking soda:
“I know what you’re thinking: one whole cup of baking soda?! Won’t those explode all over my oven? I know it seems like that’s obviously what will happen. But, no, don’t worry about it. It will be totally fine.”
Or one for enchiladas that calls for twenty-nine Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers:
“I know what you’re thinking: aren’t Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers the hottest peppers on earth? Won’t these enchiladas taste like Sherman’s March to the Sea in my mouth? Well, you’d think that, but no, the baking really mellows out the flavor. Make sure you include all of the peppers’ seeds or you’ll hardly taste them at all!”
Or one for pork chops that calls for a live pig:
“I know what you’re thinking: do I really have to slaughter this pig myself? Won’t that be disgusting, traumatic, and wholly unnecessary? But no, trust me, it’s going to make a big difference in the flavor. Just make sure to lay out a tarp to cover your living room carpet first. If your pig is nervous, give him a Valium. If you’re nervous, take three Valiums yourself.”
Then I’d invite those two bloggers to look at it and disable all comments so no one can warn them.
Of course, I wouldn’t actually do this, because UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE, I understand that with great power comes great responsibility.
Now you have been warned, readers. Beware the words, “I know what you’re thinking, but…” and if you must use them yourself, for the sake of idiots like me everywhere, please be careful.
Would you like to know what Katie and I spent last Friday night doing? You’re about to find out.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the delightful Hannah Hart and her youtube cooking show, “My Drunk Kitchen.” The premise is to get drunk and make shit in the kitchen.
This is what happens when Katie and I do that.
Enjoy our tomfoolery and find yourself in the mood for further hijinks?
See more of Katie here:
See Hannah Hart’s inspirational drunken cooking at “My Drunk Kitchen”:
Like my sibling, I don’t really understand the difference between expressions of affection and surreal forms of terrorism. It’s just how we say “I love you.” In grad school, I have a good friend—let’s just call her “Cathy”—who’s very dear to me; unfortunately what that means is that she’s on the receiving end of random acts of friendship-terrorism all the time. Here’s an example.
Cathy is a gracious host, and whenever my group of friends wants to cook together, we usually do it at her place. Because my group of friends is kind of disgusting when it comes to food, this usually involves making a shit-ton of bacon. As one might expect, this gave rise to the need for a container in which to drain off copious amounts of grease. Whence came the Bacon Jar.
The origins of Bacon Jar are shrouded in mystery. He may once have been a jar of preserves, but no one knows for sure. Though destined for Cathy’s recycling, he was spared that ignominious end by a quirk of fate, and was instead re-purposed to serve as a beloved storage vessel for six people’s gluttonous leavings.
Back then, when Bacon Jar was new and brimming with youth/bacon fat, we kept him in Cathy’s fridge, the better to have him handy. Then one day, after a particularly bacon-heavy cooking session, I decided for whatever reason that it would be amusing to hide him under Cathy’s pillow.
Well, she sure loved that. Somehow she managed not to find it until about 3 AM, when her arms knocked against it as she shifted positions. Startled by the feel of the cool, moderately greasy glass against her skin, she bolted upright and turned on the light. And there he was, in all his glory. She stared at Bacon Jar with a mixture of rage and incredulity. I was going to hear about this.
She confronted me the next time we were at her house.
Cathy: Shawn. The other day, did you put the jar of bacon fat under my pillow?
Shawn: Surely not.
Cathy: I think maybe that you did.
Shawn: I think I’d remember that.
Cathy: (shoving Bacon Jar into my arms) I think you need to get this jar of bacon fat out of my house.
Shawn: (accepting) Sure, I’ll take it. But you know what they say: “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you…”
Cathy: Oh no. Wait. Give that back.
Shawn: Too late!
And that was the last Cathy saw of Bacon Jar for months. But in the meantime, my friends and I have not been idle. The preparations have been made. The Bacon Jar is coming home. And this is how Cathy’s finding out.
Stay tuned for Part II.
P.S. Also, “Cathy,” I deliberately arranged today so that I’d be putting up this post while you were sitting across from me at the same coffee shop table. And, apropos of something else entirely, you just uttered the sentence, “You know, you’re in danger of constantly appearing like an evil genius without ever bothering to put in the actual work.” Well, here’s the work.
Shawn: Hmm, maybe I’ll buy some Sriracha Sauce just to see if it’s any good. Heh, as long as I don’t end up like one of those people who puts it on everything. I really don’t get that.
(Two weeks later.)
Shawn: Out of Sriracha?! HOW THE DONKEY BALLS AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT THIS OATMEAL?!?