My Taste Is All In My Mouth

A couple of years ago I confessed my utter failure as an interior designer in Fail! and Fail! Part Deux (Or Is That ‘Duh’?).  It was embarrassing, but at least after I departed that career long ago (to everyone’s relief, including my own) I figured I was pretty safe from future colour-related embarrassment.  After all, there are lots of other people who can’t create attractive colour schemes, and they get through life just fine.

And I have gotten along fine, other than a minor issue twenty years ago with house paint that turned out to be a revolting pale candy-pink instead of off-white.  (But I was the only one who had to live with that particular mistake; so no harm, no foul.)

But this week my self-esteem got slapped down again:  At the dollar store, where I was buying balloons for Hubby’s aunt and uncle’s upcoming 60th wedding anniversary.

The clerk paused halfway through ringing up the sale.  “Are you sure you want these purple balloons?” he asked.  “Were you looking for black instead?”

I whipped out my reading glasses (which I obviously should have been wearing in the first place).  Sure enough, the balloons that looked black in the package were clearly labelled ‘purple’.

“Yes,” I said with relief.  “Thank you!  I’m really glad you caught that.”

He smiled.  “I figured you must have gotten them mixed up.  Purple didn’t go with the other colours you’d picked out.”

I stood gaping wordlessly.  The other two colours were pearlescent gold and dark red.  He was right:  The third colour was supposed to have been black; but I would have thought deep purple, dark red, and gold would be fine together.  It certainly wouldn’t have occurred to me to question somebody about them.

Maybe he knew something I didn’t.  Maybe the balloons are actually vivid purple and screaming red when they’re inflated. But I still wouldn’t have flagged that as a mistake; I would have just assumed someone was decorating for a Red Hat event.

(And now I’m giggling, because if you follow that link to the Red Hat Society site, there’s a heading in ornate script that reads “How It Farted”…  Okay, fine; it actually says “How It Started”, but I can’t help seeing ‘farted’.  Clearly I’m childish as well as colour-impaired.)

Anyway, it’s a sobering thought that even a middle-aged male dollar-store employee has better taste than I do. I’m comforting myself with the fantasy that he’s actually a talented designer moonlighting as a store clerk for amusement, between his lucrative contracts with upscale clients.

At least the party decorations will look okay, because I didn’t choose the colour scheme — I was only the minion dispatched to buy balloons.  So with any luck I’ll make it through another decade or so without any further hue-miliation.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go and eat some of the yummy cinnamon pinwheels I made the other day.  At least I know there’s nothing wrong with my taste there!

Cinnamon Pinwheels
This recipe is tasty but not too sweet… like a cross between a biscuit and a cookie.  (So you can eat lots!)

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Sprinkle worksurface with flour, sprinkle dough lightly with flour, and roll out into a rectangle about 12″ x 20″ and ¼” thick1.

1¼ cups brown sugar
½ cup flour
1 egg
Enough milk to make it spreadable (start with about 2 teaspoons and add more as needed)

For the filling, mix the flour and sugar thoroughly, then mix in the egg. The mixture will be damp and crumbly. Add enough milk to make it barely spreadable. (Too thin and it’ll all run out before you can get the pinwheels on the pan.)

Spread the filling over the dough rectangle, being careful to push the filling out to the ends; but leave about ½” of the dough bare along the long edges at the top and bottom. Sprinkle liberally (or to taste) with cinnamon.  You can also sprinkle on nuts or raisins if you like.

Cut the dough rectangle into quarters2. Beginning from one of the long edges in the middle (yes, the gooey part), roll the first quarter like a jellyroll, out to the naked edge of the dough3. Slice the roll into rounds about ½” thick4 and place them on a parchment-covered baking sheet with lots of space to expand5.

Bake at 350°F approximately 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned. (You may have to adjust the baking time considerably, depending on how big and thick you’ve cut your pinwheels.)


1 Despite the layer of flour underneath, the dough usually sticks to the counter when you roll it out. Don’t panic. You’ll have a ridge of loose flour along the edges of the dough rectangle after you’ve rolled it out, so just take a thin metal egg flipper… (Spatula? Whatever those things are called.) …and slide it through the flour and under the dough. It’ll push the flour underneath and free the dough at the same time.

2 This will give you a roll about 1½” in diameter, which yields a baked pinwheel about 2″ to 2½” in diameter. If you want bigger pinwheels, you could make larger rolls.

3 Only do one roll at a time, and only slice as many rounds as you need to fill your pan. If you roll and slice the whole thing, the filling will ooze out before you can get it all baked.

4 You could cut the rounds thicker if you want a more ‘biscuit-y’ size and texture, but I prefer them more cookie-like.

5 Don’t worry when the roll squishes flat and your pinwheel looks like some weird alien/amoeba thing. Just lay it out on the parchment and push it approximately into shape. When it bakes it’ll go back to being roundish.

21 thoughts on “My Taste Is All In My Mouth

  1. I love that my life is more interesting without glasses. When in doubt my brain fills in the gaps in much more interesting ways than reality does. Plus, not being able to read menus always means you have to ask the waitress what’s good and your meal usually ends up better that way too. I do put them on when shopping for groceries though-there are only so many meals you can make with ‘unexpected’ spices and canned food contents before that gets exhausting.


    • I like the idea of asking the servers what’s good — I like surprises! But only to a point. I don’t think I’d enjoy the kind of surprise where I thought I’d bought powdered ginger for tasty cookies and ended up with garlic powder instead. But you’re right; it would certainly make life more interesting… 😉


  2. I’m happy to read that I’m not the only one who needs glasses (and usually don’t put them on when most needed) – although mine have to be prescription, or everything will look like it’s black, but isn’t. 🙂

    I will never forget visiting my parents in Belgium after a year away and returning to the dining room having bright orange walls! My mom thought the paint was dark yellow when she bought it. I guess this eye sight problem runs in our family.


    • Oops! Bright orange might be a little startling. Sometimes I wonder, though, whether paint companies occasionally put the wrong paint code on their samples (either accidentally or just for malevolent kicks). That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are way ahead of my thinking in the same situation….you at least were thinking about a color scheme….I would have been picking up a package of balloons without worrying about the color or any particular color theme….my hats off to you!


    • I wish I could accept that compliment; but sadly I’m not that good. I had specific instructions: “Go to this particular dollar store and buy black, red, and gold helium-quality balloons.” So I did; but only by the grace of the checkout clerk.

      Hang on; maybe that’s why I was sent to that particular dollar store! Hmmm…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m certain he was a designer. Well or at least he hoped to be a designer. I’m useless at such things so I’m sure I would have added a few more obscure colours to the decorating. yum to those pinwheels.Could you send over a plate?


  5. Thanks for the recipe. Cinnamon..ummm. My fail was off-white that turned into Pepto-bismol pink. I don’t think my mother ever forgave me. Luckily she loved me tons and my niece liked it for the first year. Mother wouldn’t let me pay for a new round of paint.


    • LOL! What is it with these innocent-looking ‘whites’ that are cleverly hiding their virulent pink secret? I realized (after I’d finished painting) that I’d painted my test swatch on a beige background. Apparently pink looks white against beige. Who knew? But I know now!


  6. I thought purple, red and gold were the colours of royalty … Who says they don’t “go” together? The riff raff, obviously 🙂

    Those pinwheels look absolutely delicious. I’ve never heard of mixing an egg in with the filling but you learn something new every day (if you’re paying attention, that is).


    • Yes, the egg is a bit different. I adapted this recipe from one that my mother-in-law used to make, and I like the way the egg and flour make the filling less sweet for that ‘biscuit-y’ vibe. Not that there’s anything wrong with rich, sweet, gooey cinnamon buns, YUM! But sometimes it’s nice to have something that doesn’t precipitate instant diabetes.

      I like your thought about the colours. From now on if anyone questions me on my taste I’ll just look down my nose and sniff, “Well, I certainly wouldn’t expect you to be able to appreciate it.” 😉 If you can’t dazzle them brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!


  7. Mmmm. Cinnamon (cinnamon in anything) is a complete comfort smell for me.
    I am a complete fail on interior design. And fashion. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that purple, red and gold were problematic together.


    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who wouldn’t have questioned the colours!

      Cinnamon is a comfort smell for me, too. After baking these, the oven is so infused with the scent that even if I turn it on again a couple of weeks later, that delicious warm cinnamon aroma wafts out. Mmmm…. 🙂


  8. Waaay back in college my roommate and I decided purple would be a good colour for our room. We had to paint it back to something neutral at the end of the semester. It was pretty cool, actually, but I really have little sense of design or color combinations. I consult tasteful and talented friends for that information.


    • That’s the one good thing that came from my interior design career: My friends from that era have excellent taste! 🙂

      And now I’m imagining your purple room. Did you have a blacklight, too, for that truly funky vibe?


  9. Glasses while shopping … interesting concept: Being able to see what you’re buying. I’ll have to try that some time. Might cutdown on the number of returns I do.

    and I would have loved the purple balloons. In fact, if you’re buying balloons for my next party, just get purple.

    Liked by 1 person

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