Awesome sauce: From epic failure comes great success.

I am awfully sorry. Or, if not really sorry, then exceedingly apologetic. Like, Canadian apologetic. So, you know, not really sorry, but excessively polite.

Julia Child (hero) wrote that one should never apologize. “I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make,” she said. “Such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings.”

The day after Nick and I wheeled home our first barbecue, Nick invited a friend or two over for dinner. There were to be four of us, five at the very most, counting David who turned out to be available at the last minute, and who is also a herbivore. Which was fine, because I had a can of black beans on hand, and I’d made veggie burgers before, though only in a pan on the stove. Soon, though, as is wont to happen with Nick’s friends, four turned into eleven in our tiny apartment, and in no time flat I was all sorts of frantic, pattying burgers, sending boys out for more meat, running out of toppings and buns and trying to remain pleasant and personable. Flustered (and well into my second bottle), I incinerated David’s veggie burgers, charring them thoroughly through. And I was profusely apologetic.

And then I paused – if it was just David, it would have been fine. “Why am I sorry?” I asked him, and he shrugged. “Don’t be,” he said, choking back his blackened black bean hunk very politely. “It’s not that bad,” he said.

Julia (hero) assures us/me that “Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile … then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile – and learn from her mistakes.” And so when I get all excited at the market and buy pork belly without ever having made it before and no idea how to cook it, it’s a learning experience. And aren’t mistakes the best way to trip over something new and fantastic? Yes. Yes they are. And so I invented something I now (cleverly) call Awesome Sauce. I’m going to use it on chicken wings.

Dinner.Awesome Sauce Marinade

  • 1 tsp. fresh, finely grated ginger
  • 3 cloves finely grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. beer
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

I highly recommend this as a marinade for your meats. It’s a little sweet and a little different, and it made the weird thing I did to the meat tonight not only edible, but delicious (never mind the texture).

And so, from one enthusiastic mistake, I now have a fallback for when Nick’s friends show up en masse. Now, I just have to stock the freezer with chicken wings.

Or disconnect the buzzer.

2 thoughts on “Awesome sauce: From epic failure comes great success.

  1. Emily, you are such a funny & amazing writer! I think we went to high school together, but I can’t be sure – I just found your blog from a series of links. Good job on the blog, it’s always a pleasure to read when I’m at work 🙂


    1. Sandy! Yes, I remember you, though I think you were in the next grade after mine. Thanks for your kind words, and for visiting!


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