Last year I visited my friend EB from Bluestocking Ball. She prepared a Greek feast that had me so inspired--nay, obsessed--that I had to come right home and make it for our friends C&D. My change to her original menu was baklava, which I was intent upon making instead of buying because I thought the omission of walnuts and addition of local pecans would make the dessert transcendent.
Like I do with most things, I jumped right into the baklava. And then I read the directions closely. Apply melted butter between each sheet of phyllo? Of which there are about 20? And do it all neat and thin like?
Eff that noise.
I searched the Internet for some obvious solution to this problem. Surely other home-cooks had made baklava and didn't waste an hour buttering dough. Surely. I typed and searched. Typed and searched. Nada. Even if I didn't have four kids at my heels, I can think of many other ways to fill my time. I grabbed my bottle of butter-flavored Target-knock-off-Pam and went to spraying. I think it took about six minutes, including the time spent opening Outlook and firing off a quick email to EB about my solution. If memory serves, she fretted about the future of my baklava and probably the state of my mental health.
C&D came bearing lovely gifts of wine, and we went to town on the Greek feast. When it was time for the baklava, I silently congratulated myself but then felt panic before cutting into it. I SPRAYED BUTTER-FLAVORED PAM BETWEEN SHEETS OF PHYLLO DOUGH AND AM GOING TO PASS THIS OFF AS A GOURMET DESSERT. If this were a feasible alternative to the butter basting, at least ten hits would have popped up in Google search. Someone out there in interweb land who knows how to do things would have guided me to this solution. What was I thinking, in my rogue dessert how-to?
I cut through the panic and served up squares of layered phyllo dough, honey syrup, pecans, and magic. Nom. Even D, who admitted later that she doesn't LOVE baklava, was into it. I'm pretty sure it was the shortcut that made it amazing. Or maybe I was just tasting victory over The Way It's Always Been Done.
That teeny victory is how wallpaper is like baklava. Everyone online says not to dare painting over stubborn adhesive backing because bad things will happen. You have to strip it. You must. Even if it's causing damage and makes you cry. To them I say... Opa! Baklava gave me the courage to do it the way I want, and so far, it's working out just fine.