DIY Auf Wiedersehen

DIY Auf Wiedersehen

I know we’re past all that Oscar hoopla here, but let me bring you back for a second to one of the films nominated for Best Picture, Django Unchained.

There is a scene toward the end where (my favorite character) Dr. Schultz is saying goodbye to the deliciously slimy Calvin Candie and he says,

“Normally, Monsieur Candie, I would say ‘auf wiedersehen.’ But since what ‘auf wiedersehen’ actually means is ”till I see you again,’ and since I never wish to see you again, to you sir, I say, goodbye.”

Now what the hell does this have to do with food, you ask? Nothing. But what it does have to do with me and this column is this: it’s time for me to say auf wiedersehen. It’s not a goodbye, it’s an “until I see you again.”

I can’t begin to describe how much I’ve enjoyed deconstructing things in the kitchen with all of you over the past two and a half years. We’ve had a lot of fun together, right?

Before I go, I thought I’d give you a look at a little On the Make history.

Months: 30

Columns written: 140

Kitchens cooked in: 10

States these kitchens were in: 6

Random kitchen gadgets bought: 5 (a cherry pitter, pasta cutter, two thermometers, and a bench scraper)

Cameras used: 2

SLR cameras used: 0

Food processors acquired or borrowed: 2

Strange conversations had with grocery store employees: countless

If I was a celebrity blogger, here are a few questions I would ask me.

So Jackie, we’ve loved watching your journey as a columnist for Poor Taste. Over the years, has there been a recipe you’ve featured that you still make?
“Why yes Jackie, there is! In fact, I think I make red eye gravy from the 2011 column “On the Sauce” about once a month. There are also some family recipes I’ve shared that I always make, like sausage or ravioli.”

Is there anything you’ve made that you totally hated?
“Oh yeah (this is the North Dakotan in me coming out)! The DIY bitters are still gathering dust in my pantry. After almost three years they still taste like gasoline, no matter how small the dose but I can’t bring myself to pour them down the drain. Plus, I’ve had some total disasters — like the saltwater taffy, where my procrastination got the best of me and I didn’t have time to troubleshoot the recipe completely.”

Were there any other disasters you tried to play off as successes? 
“Yes! In the persimmon chutney I made, I had read somewhere that if the persimmons weren’t totally ripe you could freeze them to coax along ripeness. If you look closely at the photos, there is a little frost on all those persimmons because freezing them is exactly what I did.

“Apparently not for long enough, because when I made that chutney it was so astringent I felt my tongue grow fur. I shudder at the memory. In fact, I was at a party this winter where the host had persimmons on the fruit tray and I basically had to be tied down to try them. In the end, I’m glad I did as they were perfectly ripe and perfectly delicious.”

Have your taste buds been changed or challenged by anything else you’ve written about?
“I think I talked about my aversion to cooking liver at home in the pate piece. That is actually one challenge I liked tackling head on. One thing I really tried to conquer was tongue, or tacos de lengua. For the DIY tortilla piece (tortillas are another thing I now make all the time; breakfast tacos are the BEST!) the plan was to have a few taco fillings. I decided to put my money where my foodie mouth was and get my hands on some cow tongue — or at least eat some.

“A friend of mine was hosting a big feast at her house and one item on the menu was tacos de lengua. I went, saw the giant tongues boiling in water, saw the taste buds being stripped off, saw the tongue being chopped into a million tiny pieces and put into a taco for me and… I just couldn’t do it. I kept thinking ‘I’m touching a tongue, with my tongue! I am eating a tongue!’

“My mind couldn’t get over the matter. So I gave a recipe for carnitas, which kicked ass.”

Was there anything you gave a recipe for — but didn’t actually make?
“Yes and no — if that makes sense. In 2011 I wrote a piece about frosting, partially in anticipation of Dan’s birthday. Much of the article was true — the first year we were together I did make him a box cake, complete with tub frosting. However, I don’t think I actually made him a cake that year, box or no box.

“This year he was celebrating a golden birthday and I thought he deserved something really special. So I made the peanut butter chocolate cake I gave the recipe for in the original article from Smitten Kitchen. It delivered 110 percent. The best part was how amazed Dan was; he kept remarking that the cake was ‘totally pro,’ and he was convinced I had bought it from a bakery.”

Which brings me to why I started writing this column in the first place —I’ve always been a curious cook. Grocery shopping is truly a calming activity for me, and creating in the kitchen is most of the time pretty damn fun. I loved learning all these things, and being able to let you all in on it, whether there are five to 5000 of you On the Make readers.

And even though I won’t be here as regularly as I have been in the past, please keep in touch. I’ll still be creating, and having disasters in the kitchen. Follow me on Twitter or “like” me on Facebook.