Some people can boast of surviving the complex requirements of Julia Child's pate de canard en croute.
I haven't de-boned a duck, but I have peeled three cups of chickpeas — by hand — for Melissa Clark's "Stupendous Hummus" recipe. And the results were, well, stupendous.
"It's so smooth!" said WNYC culture editor Abbie Fentress-Swanson.
"This is really exceptional," said WNYC Transportation Nation editor Andrea Bernstein.
"It'd better be," I muttered, under my breath. The recipe took the better part of two days to complete, from the time I put the dried chickpeas in a pot of cold water to soak overnight, to the 45 minutes spent simmering them on the stove the following morning with a bay leaf and three cloves of garlic, to the hour I spend fiddling with each little pea later that evening, pulling off their clear, chewy, tiny skins.
I Tweeted about my quest, and wrote about it on Facebook.
My husband's best buddy, Larry Kellogg, wrote back, "Peeling chickpeas??? Mark, YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP AND ENTERTAIN AMY!!!"
Larry's a lawyer, and not one to use triple exclamation marks.
Pal and blogger Brenda Becker wrote, in her best Mae West voice, "Beulah, peel me a chickpea."
WQXR colleague Kerry Nolan -- an accomplished cook herself, with as many condiments in her refrigerator as I have, or had, chickpeas -- left a terse comment: "Food mill. Look into it." She added a smiley face emoticon.
People, I was NOT smiling when I realized I had almost ruined this recipe with too much salt. I HAD JUST INVESTED MOST OF MY OFF-MIC HOURS IN THIS PROJECT. My right thumb joint hurts (it's already overused from too much texting). My forearm is throbbing. This hummus needs to be edible!
I punted, adding more olive oil, more garlic, a bit more tahini, more cumin. Finally, this morning, I deemed it Just Right.
Now, if only my friends and colleagues would say the same about my state of mind.