“Cooking a huge, complicated meal out of Mastering is also a terrific idea.”
~Karen Karbo Julia Child Rules
Last Thursday, I found two recipes in the Goodwill bins. Today, my grandaughter (great-granddaughter technically, but relationships aren’t about technicalities) Faith is here for the week-end, and she always loves to cook. She’s four, and doesn’t quite read, so I read the directions to her while she studies the picture, then she follows the steps that she remembers. Sometimes she adds a few steps of her own.
Faith and I started out by watching a classic moment between Julia Child and David Letterman.
Faith laughed when Letterman asked Julia what she did if something didn’t turn out.
“I give it to my husband,” Julia said.
Apparently, even four-year-old Faith understood the humor in that.
One of the recipes I’d found at the bins sounded so awful that I thought it would be funny to prepare as part of my Live Like Julia challenge: the perfect example of terrible 70s food. It came from the 1975 General Mills Betty Crocker Step-by-Step Recipes card set, and is designated as an “In-Betweener” menu item, apparently meaning it would be a great option to serve between meals.
Or, in this case, it’s a great thing to cook if you’re skill set is somewhere between four years old and Julia Child.
The recipe is called “Snack Thins.”
After Faith and I washed our hands, we assessed what she’d need to prepare this recipe. First, she needed a footstool so she could reach the counter top. “If you’re too tall, you don’t need a stool,” Faith says.
Then we gathered the ingredients.
First, you measure the dry ingredients. Faith likes to use the finger leveling method.
Faith likes to pat all dry ingredients down to remove any air pockets. This is one of her special techniques. Besides, it’s fun to see the flour fluff up the first couple times you pat it.
Next, you add the liquid ingredients and the cheese, then stir until it forms a soft dough. “It gets hard to stir,” Faith says, “so you have to hold the bowl.”
Now you spread the dough onto a greased cookie sheet. The Betty Crocker recipe called for it to be patted flat onto the pan, but Faith decided she would rather roll it out with a junior-size rolling pin. Faith says, “Sprinkle a little flour on top before you roll or it gets all stuck.”
It’s always good to check the recipe once you’ve finished a step. This would be especially important for any of Julia Child’s more complicated recipes, but it’s even important for Faith when following Betty Crocker Step-by-Step Recipe cards.
The recipe calls for Vienna Sausage. Faith calls them “corndogs” but they are the small can of Libby’s you can find near the sardines and tuna in your favorite grocery store. Dump the slimy juice out and put the “corndogs” on a cutting mat.
Cut half of the corndogs in circles and half of the corndogs the long way so they look like rectangles. If you are four years old, make sure a grown-up helps you.
Arrange the corndogs on top of the rolled out dough. Press them down into the dough so they are almost flush with the dough.
If you forget the pattern that you were trying to follow, look again at the recipe card. Study the photograph carefully.
When you’ve pressed all of the corndogs into the dough, set the tray near the recipe so you can compare how well you’ve done. If you’re satisfied with the arrangement, “bake until golden brown, 8 to ten minutes.” (That is from the official Betty Crocker recipe.)
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven, or, if four years old, have an adult help you. Put on the longest oven mitts you have to protect your forearms. Suck in your belly so it doesn’t touch the hot pan. Use a pizza cutter to cut up the tasty-looking Snack Thins.
Feel proud of your culinary skills. Serve with a smile.
If you would like to hear the adapted recipe from Faith herself, click on
Faith’s Directions for Making Snack Thins.
It’s not beef bourguignon, but in Faith’s words, “Actually, these are pretty good!”
Julia Child never seemed to feel dismayed if something turned out pretty good instead of excellent. She just kept after it, modifying the recipe.
Having Faith made everything right.