Sunday, January 10, 2010

Someone is sleeping on the couch tonight and it's not me.

Dear James Peterson,

Six footless batches and 15 hours later you can't accuse me of fair weather affection.

Here's the deal: You've always done me right. With so many books and so many recipes I love everything about you—your humility, your style, your tone, and your understated elegance. But today we had a bit of a lovers' spat.

My humble suggestions for the revised edition of Baking:
Please include measurements by weight. Almond flour is fluffy and I don't know if I'm supposed to spoon or scoop it so I've been second guessing myself all day. To add to the confusion, very few conversion web sites have an almond flour option.
When you make a choice, such as powdered sugar mixed with the whipped whites, that doesn't jive with any other recipe on planet (they all call for granulated), it would be nice if you explained why you made the choice. I trust you and love you, but even the hallowed make careless mistakes. In the throws of frustration it would be nice to eliminate at least one variable.
A section on troubleshooting would be useful. My macarons don't have feet. Not one foot in six batches. My size and texture and taste are all great. But the feet. They just won't come. Throw me a bone.
A nod to folklore would also help. I've read a handful of recipes that insist I age the egg whites for a day in an open container at room temperature. Does this plan have any merit? Again, in the throws of frustration and flailing, I'd love a little reassurance.
If you feel like making amends, I'd like flowers. I'd prefer it if you send them to me at work because they'll make the secretary jealous. My favorite color combination is red and purple and I hate stuffed animals (but you already knew that).

If you also feel a little wronged and don't want to send flowers, I understand. I'm not faultless. My piping technique needs practice. I also understand this isn't a book dedicated to macarons. But I need a little time nevertheless. I plan on skipping to the tart section, and working through it recipe by recipe.

Yours with affection,    Jessica


  1. Jessica, love following you through your trials and tribulations.

  2. Come on James...have a heart! Call, write, visit, something...

  3. I woke up this morning to kitchen full of little sweet smelling cookies. It's not a total loss.

    Thanks for all the encouragement!

  4. feet? they are supposed to have feet?

    That makes me giggle, even though I know there is an actual explanation, not just that they are to get up and walk away.

  5. They're the little frilly part at the bottom. Apparently, they're essential. I found a few theories online—mostly undermixing the batter and not letting a skin form on the cookies—but I wasn't able to solve the problem by mixing more or waiting for a substantial skin. Who know macaron feet were elusive? They're like jackalopes that way.