We all have fears and phobias that cause us anxiety. For example, I’m afraid of barbershop quartets (long story), but they are pretty easy to avoid. I just have to stay away from steamboat river cruises and the year 1885.
Whenever I’m invited to a “carry-in”, I have a lot of anxiety over what to make or take. In my 20s, I could get by with bringing a bag of Doritos and giving it a cutesy name like “Bachelorette Surprise.” But the older you get, the more is expected of you.
I went to a picnic recently and was asked to bring the dreaded covered dish. I did an internet search on “Easy Picnic Dishes” and landed on a recipe for Mini Corn Dog Muffins. They looked adorable.
Wahoo! I’ll be the Queen of the Potluck!
I have to admit that one of my problems with cooking is that I tend to second-guess the ingredient list. Instead, I make substitutions based on what is available in my house.
It called for cornbread mix and “bun-length” hot dogs to be cut into pieces. Since I had a few cans of Vienna sausages on hand (long story), I decided to make them with those instead.
I also have a problem with “skimming” the recipe directions. I knew it said something about putting a piece of hot dog down into each mini corn muffin, then baking it. Well, the Vienna sausages stuck up above the rim of the muffins by about half an inch. I figured this would be just about right since the muffins would rise and the Vienna sausage would then be level with the top of the muffins.
When I pulled them from the oven, the Vienna sausages still hovered above the cornbread muffins. They looked like tiny bald men drowning in quicksand.
So, I covered them with aluminum foil so that no one could see what was under there.
When I arrived at the picnic, I sashayed through the crowd with my plate. I wanted credit for bringing something, but didn’t necessarily want anyone to see what I brought and connect that mess to me.
My plan was to sneak them into the food area, but when I arrived there, the self-appointed Queen of the Food Table snatched them out of my hands and ripped off the foil. Her contempt was obvious.
She gave a heavy sigh and strategically placed them at the back of the table where they couldn’t even be reached.
Driving home — still-full platter of muffins in tow — it hit me that life is too short to laden ourselves with unnecessary anxiety. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses and honoring them makes us fully self-actualized human beings.
So, the next time I’m invited to an event where I’m to take the dreaded Covered Dish, it will be a bag of Doritos.
Of course, I’ll strew them across a lovely platter and cover them with aluminum foil.
At least they’ll have a fighting chance of being eaten.
Columnist Kay Frances, MBA, holds a BS in Education and she is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).