I bit into a muffin recently and was utterly turned off. A million thoughts rushed through my head. I cooked this and my family ate it. What if I've poisoned them? No, this can't be. I don't make bad tasting food. Besides no one said anything to me about it. What exactly is that taste? Is that...? No, it can't be.
Two days later it happened again with a quick bread. A different recipe and the same result -- a small pocket of gross factor right there in the middle of an otherwise beautiful specimen. I knew then that my muffin experience from days prior had something horribly wrong in common with my quick bread.
I started racking my brain. What had I done differently with these 2 recipes that caused this? It bothered me for days. I dreamed about it -- seeing myself run through my kitchen with panic, tearing things from the cabinets, trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I woke up in a cold sweat and didn't fall back to sleep for a good 2 minutes.
Seriously. I need my 8 hours. I don't let a bad cooking dream bother me too much no matter how important the message might be.
I was in the kitchen rifling through my baking cabinet when I saw the answer staring at me right in the face. Salt. I had run out of standard table salt, which is what most recipes use, and used an alternate. The alternate was coarser and came from a different source altogether than table salt. My theory is that because of the coarser grain it clumped together and that nasty taste I had was an over-abundance of salt all squeezed into one tiny area.
It made me question myself for days as to what I had done wrong -- and also why my husband never said anything. Maybe there was only one nasty bite per batch. Or maybe he never noticed. Or perhaps yet his good fortune allowed him to avoid any bites of nastiness. Whatever the case a lesson had been learned: Use substitutions very carefully.