Surprisingly powerful words: “I know what you’re thinking, but…”
I never truly appreciated the power of this little phrase until the fateful night of March 27th, 2013. The night I decided to bake cookies for my boyfriend’s birthday.
You see, when it comes to baking delicious things that are terrible for you, I am quite the aficionada. I don’t get to bake often enough, so when I do, I’m determined to find the perfect dessert. I dig through a trove of blogs and recipes on a mission to dazzle the recipient of my floury-buttery love.
Grant just so happens to love the classic chocolate-peanut butter combo. So, when I saw the link for peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks, I was already 99% sold. Then I looked at the recipe. It looked solid enough, except… EXCEPT: it called for chocolate bars broken into chunks instead of chocolate chips. For you bakers out there, you know this can be an iffy situation. Chocolate chips have stabilizers that stop them from melting too much when you bake them. Chocolate bars do not.
So, when I saw this, my first thought was, “I don’t know about this. It seems like those chocolate bars are going to explode all over the baking sheet and ruin these cookies.”
But then, as I looked over the recipe, my eyes caught on the phrase, “I know what you’re thinking, but…”! The blogger had read my mind. She explained how the melty goodness of the bars enhanced the recipe and how they would turn out fine.
“Well, okay, baking blogger,” I resolved. “Since you knew what I was thinking and expressly addressed my concern, I’ll go ahead and make ‘em as is.”
I made ‘em as is. And as I placed the dough balls on the cookie sheets, I thought, “Boy, these chocolate bar chunks really look like they’re going to explode out of the cookies and ruin everything.”
But then again, she did say, “I know what you’re thinking, but…”
I put them in the oven.
Eight minutes later I took them out.
The chocolate bars had exploded everywhere, burned, and ruined the cookies.
Did I mention it was 1 am? And that my boyfriend’s birthday was the following day? And that I was meeting him first thing in the morning?
YOU BETRAYED ME, BAKING BLOGGER. I TRUSTED YOU AND YOU BETRAYED ME.
I had plenty of time to mull over the error of my ways as I set about preparing brownies until 2 in the morning. Not only did I realize that it was that one line that had made me trust her, but also that this had happened once before.
There had been another recipe, some abomination called Candy Chicken. It had called for cooking chicken in a crockpot with brown sugar, soda, and vinegar. “Boy,” I thought, “that seems like it would be way too sweet.” But then the cooking blogger said, “I know what you’re thinking, but…” and explained how it wasn’t too sweet.
“Well, okay,” I thought, and made it.
WAY TOO SWEET.
So apparently, I will do anything as long as you address my obvious concern with the phrase, “I know what you’re thinking, but…”
And that got me thinking. It is April Fool’s after all. I can’t be the only one with this Achilles’ heel.
Just think of the power one could yield with this. I could start a recipe blog called, “I Know What You’re Thinking, But…”
Then I’d post a recipe for muffins that calls for a whole cup of baking soda:
“I know what you’re thinking: one whole cup of baking soda?! Won’t those explode all over my oven? I know it seems like that’s obviously what will happen. But, no, don’t worry about it. It will be totally fine.”
Or one for enchiladas that calls for twenty-nine Carolina Reaper peppers:
“I know what you’re thinking: aren’t Carolina Reapers the hottest peppers on earth? Won’t these enchiladas taste like Sherman’s March to the Sea in my mouth? Well, you’d think that, but no, the baking really mellows out the flavor. Make sure you include all the peppers’ seeds or you’ll hardly taste them at all!”
Or one for pork chops that calls for a live pig:
“I know what you’re thinking: do I really have to slaughter this pig myself? Won’t that be disgusting, traumatic, and wholly unnecessary? But no, trust me, it’s going to make a big difference in the flavor. Just make sure to lay out a tarp to cover your living room carpet first. If your pig is nervous, give him a Valium. If you’re nervous, take three Valiums yourself.”
Then I’d invite those two bloggers to look at it and disable comments so no one can warn them.
Of course, I wouldn’t actually do this. Because UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE, I understand that with great power comes great responsibility.
Now you have been warned, readers. Beware the words, “I know what you’re thinking, but….” And if you must use them yourself, for the sake of idiots like me everywhere, please be careful.