I think cooking cockiness might be a real thing. And I think it’s what happened to my brain between the successful strawberry arugula pizza making and the mostly-successful tomato soup making. I mean, I killed the pizza in all of its pistachio pesto glory. And even though my soup was borderline puke-y in its consistency, it was both flavorful and filling. So why the epic failure when it came to putting together this kale and pomegranate salad? I can find no other explanation than cooking cockiness.

Rachel’s Guide To Failing at Kale & Pomegranate Salad

  1. Get cocky. Make something you’ve never made before. And make it really, really tasty. Then try to make something super easy like tossing a handful of greens in a bowl.
  2. Buy the incorrect kale. It’s totally fine to buy the incorrect version of the base ingredient. Repeat to yourself, ‘cooking is an adventure!’ and move forward with confidence.
  3. Don’t buy walnuts because you think you have some. Discover that what you actually have is a bag of walnut crumbs. Then try to toast them anyway.
  4. When you’ve gone to two stores in search of pomegranates/pomegranate seeds the day before thanksgiving in sunny New England, substitute dried cranberries when you find zero.
  5. Stay the course! Even though you didn’t buy the correct kale, have no walnuts, and are substituting dried cranberries for pomegranate seeds, this will be the best kale and pomegranate salad of all time.
  6. Spend $6.99 on tiny bag of wild rice at Wholefoods after swearing you will not shop at Wholefoods any longer. Be sure to give yourself 50-60 minutes to cook said rice. And be sure to ‘separate and wash’ said rice before cooking it. To wash, pour two cups of the thinnest rice known to man into a standard colander. Enjoy rice falling onto the floor and into the sink. You will be reminded of the time you attempted to strain rice every time you walk into your kitchen, finding grains of rice in every nook and cranny for days to come (kind of like pine needles in July).
  7. The next time you talk to your mom on the phone, ask her what ‘separating rice’ means. Then confess that you–for a hot second–wondered how on earth you were supposed to actually separate all those tiny grains and what purpose that would have served.
  8. Now that the rice is done, enjoy the sweet, sweet aroma of what smells like alfalfa, but totally reminds you of hamster shavings. Because that is what you want to think about when you’re eating this glorious frankensalad. Hamsters.
  9. By this point, you’ve decided that the only thing that will save this salad is the dressing. And the cheese. Because who doesn’t eat salad just for the dressing and the cheese? The dressing is a super simple combination of shallots, olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and lemon juice–awesome.
  10. Reach for the shallot. Peel the shallot. And fight the urge to cry when you realize that those shallots that have been sitting in your wooden bowl for two weeks are moldy and sad. Try to peel them anyway! Then casually toss them into the garbage either before or after you swallow your pride (chef’s choice).
  11. Stand in the middle of your kitchen wondering how the fuck you’re going to save this salad because you promised a friend that you were going to provide the only green at her Thanksgiving table this year. Determined, decide that you are going to see if your landlord has any shallots or onions since you need to borrow a serving bowl anyway.
  12. Grab the spare key to your landlord’s apartment (with permission) and enter. There, you will find zero traces of shallots and onions, but learn that said landlord is seriously grappling with a Gatorade addiction.
  13. Return to your apartment with a serving dish and low spirits. Wallow briefly, but then decide that the key to saving this salad is to make up your own dressing recipe. Substitute mustard for shallots and taste said dressing. Upon tasting, quietly acknowledge that said dressing is the single most vile thing you’ve put in your mouth all week.
  14. Give up. Wave the white flag in surrender. Throw in the dish towel. You, my friend, have lost the battle, have lost the war, and have lost whatever cooking confidence you’ve started with.
  15. Text your friend to notify her that no one will be having kale salad with Thanksgiving dinner this year, but that a bottle of your favorite Pinot Noir will do just fine.