Few things depress me more than failed baking.
I'm not proud to say it, but today I cried over a miserable, soggy pie crust. Having never made pie crust before + having a fairly lax attitude towards a thing so peasant, so common as measuring ingredients = my vision of a glorious, golden pie crust sliding quickly into a puddle at the bottom of the dish. It was worse than failure: the sodden pile at the bottom looked akin to a pile of snot. It was a bake-ular meltdown followed by an emotional one.
But then there are things like mothers and Tenderflake frozen crusts in the freezer. There are things like thick slices of bread studded with olives, rosemary winking between your teeth. But most soothingly, most hearteningly, there are things like meringue.
I must admit: even though I had the frozen crust, the Key-Lime pie I was going for was sadly–even strangely–un-limey. Mark Bittman, you used to be my second-dream-man. You wore those striped t-shirts with a blazer with such awkward panache I could've kissed the shiny spot on your waxy bald head. But this Key-Lime pie was underwhelming. Not disappointing: its texture was lush, and its color was a pleasing, happy celery. It just...it just lacked any spirit. Any get-go. Any ZIP. But then, today so did I.
The meringue, on the other hand, was like a back rub. The zippy whirrr of the electric mixer, the powdered sugar making me sneeze (into my arm, relax). And oh! Honey! Those browned peaks like little kitten ears, like Willy-Wonka landscapes! My kitchen confidence was bolstered, but it's going to take another batch of Macadamia-Ginger Cookies to restore it completely.