I mistakenly thought that leap year existed because ancient Romans couldn’t figure out how to make an accurate calendar, and that they inserted February 29th to fix their mistake. But a quick look on Wikipedia told me that our wobbling planet spinning through its elliptical orbit cannot be pinned down to an immutable measure of a day or a year by anyone. A year is only approximately 365.24219 days. The influence of these last decimal points compounds like interest. Thus, throughout time, expert astronomers of many cultures have contrived fudge factors to deal with it.

In a way, this news is heartening. As all recipes say, ‘cooking time may vary’. The test of a good cook is not that h/she never errs in the kitchen, but that any error can be remedied. In other words, you make lemonade out of lemons, and your guests never know unless you tell them. For advice on fixing some common cooking mistakes, check out Michael Pollick’s cooking tips. 

I make lots of cooking mistakes, and they usually have to do with proportions. For instance, when I bought the round steak last week to make sauerbraten, I asked the butcher for a 1 1/2 pound piece sliced 3 1/4″ thick when I should have asked for a 3 1/4″ pound piece sliced 1 1/2″ thick. He told me he couldn’t give me a piece that thick and that light, so I said “do what you can” and I went home with 7 1/2 pounds of round steak cut 3 1/4″ thick. So what? I cut it in half and froze the rest. But this was one of my minor mistakes. Want to read more? Check out my posts on cooking game and turkey.

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