Trial Balloon

A Slice of Regret

Posted at 6:00 AM on February 25, 2010 by Dale Connelly (39 Comments)

Apologies are popular right now. From Tiger Woods to Akio Toyoda, everyone's doing it in public and on the record.

Usually, taking responsibility for your actions (or lack of action) is a good thing, although with the modern press conference apology it is crucially important to hit just the right note. It can feel false if done too lightly or awkward if you confess with an excessive amount of relish.

I pray I'll never do anything so horribly wrong that it becomes necessary to eat humble pie in front of the assembled world's press.
But just in case, I will keep this recipe in my pocket.

Mince Pie.jpg

Humble Pie

1 or more Bad Mistakes
A Difficult Admission
Numerous Thoughtless Acts
1 Crow
2 TBS bitter pills

Spoon bitter pills into small glass or ceramic bowl. Swallow.

Arrange mistakes in pie tin greased with shortcomings; rue thoroughly.
Meanwhile, pour remorse into large saucepan, simmer until thickened.

Peel difficult admission and scrutinize to a paste.
Carefully review numerous thoughtless acts and flagellate until chunky.
Spread scrutinized admissions over mistakes, crumble thoughtless acts on top.

Once remorse is bubbling, add contrition and humiliation to taste, then pour mixture over the layered trangressions.

Cover completely with shame. Bake at 350 until eyes water and breathing is punctuated with gasping sobs..

While you wait, vigorously beat self to pulp with wooden spoon; pluck and eat crow, raw.
On a clean, separate surface, begin to make amends.

It's that simple!

Do you follow recipes, or do you like to make it up as you go?

Comments (39)

Great bit this morning Dale!

I am a little like Johnny Depp.. I use recipes like he used the pirate's code... it's more like guidelines. I also cook by smell rather than taste. Works well 99% of the time... although I'd have to say that Ethiopian dish I made two years ago had WAY too much salt!

Posted by sherrilee | February 25, 2010 6:07 AM

Greetings! That's a great recipe, Dale! I am not a good cook, but I've finally learned to do so over the past few years.

I definitely follow a recipe -- very closely! I've gotten to the point now where I know if I can skip or change SMALL things in a recipe. I'm not confident enough to make many changes, nor am I creative enough to come up with my own recipes. Have a great day!

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | February 25, 2010 6:18 AM

Good morning, all!

I definitely use recipes as guides, though like Sherrille I improvise as I go, as well. The dishes and baked goods, however, that my grandmother taught me to make are all accomplished by adding ingredients to color, consistency, smell, etc. She was a great cook and baker.

One of my friends loves to experiment but has no traditional ideas about which ingredients might or might not work well together, which is fine when he is cooking for himself, but he presents his experiments as dishes to be consumed by others. The results are often quite bad.

Posted by elinor | February 25, 2010 6:21 AM

Good Morning All,

Wow! Where did you find that recipe, Dale. I don't think Fannie Farmer has that in her cook book. You must have come up with that one yourself. Are you planning on publishing a cook book with more recipes like that one?

I do a combination or using cook books and adding my own variations. I have lots of cook books.

How about a RH cook book. I guess we could include Dale's recipe and I am sure there are some others that Radio Heartlanders could contribute

Posted by Jim | February 25, 2010 6:21 AM

oh, what a great recipe, Dale! i'm chuckling here in the dark, ha, ha!
these public admissions of omissions or comissions are really tiring. geez. i think they should follow your recipe and keep it to themselves and the people they hurt.
i will save the recipe also, but most of my apologies are necessitated by NOT following recipes (for cooking or for behavior, at times). i can cook, but like Sherrilee, i look at a recipe as a mere suggestion of how one might do this dish. that is why i'm not a good baker - too disobedient.
as far as apologies go, i love the "Old Blevins" line "mistakes were made."

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 25, 2010 6:26 AM

Could JASPER find "You Butter My Bread" this morning? Haven't heard it for awhile and it's one of my favorite "cooking" songs.

Posted by sherrilee | February 25, 2010 6:39 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Sherrilee, I can put "You Butter My Bread" into the mix shortly after 7 am! What would go well with buttered bread? Soup?

Posted by Dale Connelly | February 25, 2010 6:45 AM

dale, flaggilalte until chunky? words to live by. i think there are times you ad lib and there are times you follow the tried and true. when apoligizing there needs to be a spontenaity about it or it doesn't work very well. i know that the sincerity meter is on high at all times and if a note of low give a hoot factor is recognized the process becomes extremely difficult and the flaggulation requirements expand exponentionally. cookies and cakes and stews are much more forgiving. not getting the proper level of humility mixed into the repentence can be devastating though. nothing worse than a than a surrender that has a white flag that won't rise

Posted by tim | February 25, 2010 6:47 AM

Borscht--Peter O.

Posted by Clyde | February 25, 2010 6:48 AM

I like Dale's recipe too because it does not apply to me. At least not the me I am now. The only thing I think he should add is when after beating yourself with the spoon and plucking out your skin hair (that would take those expensive tweezers, kids) make sure that before you remove yourself to the clean surface for amends, that you cover it with waxed paper first.

Something happened at work yesterday that I believe my employer should apologize to me for. At lunch when I sat down to read up on TB, a message popped up that said, "Warning! You have tried to access a web page that is in violation of your internet usage agreement."
WHO do they think they are?? Immediately I wished I could be like Clyde and form a poem in my head, but I could not. Besides, I had to eat. But I did come up with a pair of rhyming words based on a post from a couple of days ago - plastered & bastard.

Posted by Donna | February 25, 2010 6:55 AM

the evils on the network
are causing my fretwork
virius, hijack, and spam
my computer they could cram
but I have to have my heartland
to soothe my major body gland
must read trial balloom
or in anger i turn maroon

Posted by clyde | February 25, 2010 7:04 AM

A friend had to write a book based on her wonderful cooking. But she had no idea of how she prepared a single dish. She hired a woman to stand behind her and take notes on everything she did, stopping her to measure the amounts of ingredients as she put them in. This woman documented everything and turned it into a book of recipes. Tough work all around.

I came to cooking late in life. I used to follow recipe instructions for such simple things as steaming rice. The more often I prepare a recipe, the more like a grandma I become. I haven't looked at the recipe for tabouli for years, having done it so often.

Isn't this like so many things in life? We begin with a need for written instructions but learn to rely on memory and our sense of what would work as creative variations.

Here's to a successful end to the drive and a great weekend for everyone.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 25, 2010 7:12 AM

Re my computer virus I have referred to before:
1. I did get it from the Star-Trib site, but I did not click on any ads on their site to get as they say you have to.
2. I know 2 people who got another virus from it
3. My virus was the extortion virus--says you have a virus (which is them) and you have to send CC info and get their fix
4. Malwarebytes freeware did not fix it but their tech people guided me through other steps. Now seems fixed. Hope so. All free but you can make a donation to the which I will.
Stay clean, green, mean. lean, and on the bean.

Posted by clyde | February 25, 2010 7:15 AM

I like Steve, learned by following recipes to the letter, now I look at them for general ideas then improvise.

But to the recipe at to make an apology...that I find still difficult to follow and/or improvise...but giving it a lot of thought lately after a series of recent events in my life.

Thanks, Dale, for the guidance.

Welcome to Thursday, y'all!

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 25, 2010 7:22 AM

I agree with Peter, borscht is great. However, be careful eating raw garlic like Peter suggests. Maybe the garlic I have is extra hot because I sure had a powerful experience when I tried eating some of mine raw.

Proably the favorite recipe at our house is pizza. We follow the Fannie Farmer recipe in an older edition of this cook book. However, over the years, we have added our own pizza cooking tricks to this basic recipe.

Posted by Jim | February 25, 2010 7:24 AM

Dale - can we hear "The Saints Go Marching In?" Let me explain -- during my tenure at Pillsbury, I had the privilege of working on the Bake-Off three times and actually got to attend as I worked for the Director.

At the beginning of the actual Bake-Off day, George & Sally Pillsbury lead the Grand March of all the 100 contestants onto the Bake-Off floor amid the fanfare of a Dixieland band playing "The Saints Go Marching In" (if I remember correctly). It was such a fun moment, all the contestants in their Bake-Off Aprons getting ready to do battle in their 100 mini-kitchens.

It looks like the Bake-Off will be happening April 12. Although George is pushing 90 ( I think he's alive), I don't know if they still lead the Bake-Off Grand March as it's all owned by General Mills now. The Bake-Off celebrates creative everyday cooks who come up with their own recipes. Happy Eating!

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | February 25, 2010 7:33 AM

i tend to apologize for everything. "oh, i'm sorry!" even when i had nothing to do with whatever happened. this irritates people (esp. my husband) and i'm so sorry for that :-)
i like the Christine Lavin song "What was i thinking???" does that apply, Dale? please?

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 25, 2010 7:37 AM

Life has given me many opportunities to apologize. Oh, I'm sorry, that's the way I have lived my life has afforded my many such opportunities. I agree with all, Dale, very clever. I am going an online to search for a kitchener flagellator, since as Click and Clack say every task is chance to buy a tool.
barb--first born abused children apologixe for everything within a 50 mile radius, even for good things.
25 years ago my over-apologetic wife did a nasty thing for which she does not apologize. For Christmas she gave me a book called His Turn to Cook. An excellent book, but sadly now out of print. A good intro to cooking, very random results-driven male set of recipes. We would be in trouble now if she had not done that with my wife's lupus.
Two weird skills I have that I cannot explain are 1) the ability to mix and match colors, often in unusal ways and 2) ability to mix flavors, spices, cooking elements. I am intouch with my female 10%.
Hey, saying that, some may like this. We had some left-over stove-top stuffing my wife had made. So I made a basic omellete and when it was mostly done, I layered over the stuffing and then folded it over and finished it. Very nice.

Posted by cly de humumbille | February 25, 2010 7:52 AM

oh Dlyde - your way of cooking sounds so familiar to mine! many a night, Steve says with a smile, while eating some combo of two or three leftovers, and something else we happened to have that needed to be eaten "i wonder how many other folks are having this for supper??? please save that recipe!"

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 25, 2010 8:00 AM

oh CLYDE i meant (i should have proofread, i am SO SORRY!!)

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 25, 2010 8:01 AM

Joanne and Barb -

"Saints" and "What Was I Thinking" are coming up in the next hour! Thanks.

Posted by Dale Connelly | February 25, 2010 8:03 AM

darb--clever. You know, it's 12 below are. Please apologize, if you are willing to extend my 50 radius to 200 miles.

Posted by dly de humumumbille | February 25, 2010 8:10 AM

Oh! after reading the blog, i thought the question would be about big mistakes we've made, apologies we've subsequently made, how much remorse we feel in general, or whether crow tastes like chicken!

after some consideration, i have to say i think that sometimes apologizing is a recipe for disaster! e.g., if you are falsely accused of something and then apologize for it just to get the whole incident over with, people think you are admitting to the deed.

or if you apologize to someone you did, in fact, wrong but that person refuses to be swayed, comforted, or mollified by said apology, you can wind up feeling rather duped, or even a bit miffed that you ate that crow and swallowed that humble pie, all for naught!

Posted by Kay H in Utah | February 25, 2010 8:10 AM

thanks, Dale!
i just went to Christine Lavin's website. now i know which celebrity i look like!! only she's a bit cuter. and a better songwriter, too.
Donna - are you barred from TB in the classroom now?? that's cold.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 25, 2010 8:12 AM

I need a ruling here--can you blog and facebook with the same person??

barb--I was watching a local broadcast of a local folk music society one night and thought who is that cute slightly chubby youngish granma I am watching. All of a sudden she sang the Harrison Ford song!!
Never would have guessed she looked like that.

Posted by Cly de Humumuble | February 25, 2010 8:21 AM

I am a left brain linear thinker who always follows a recipe. My husband is a wonderful cook and baker who comes up with great bread recipes and can't ever replicate what he bakes since he improvises as he goes. The only problem is when he decides to use up leftovers by combining things from the fridge, adding new ingredients he thinks will make for a great new dish. He ends up with double the left-overs he started out with, and the end result is usually pretty weird.

Posted by Renee | February 25, 2010 8:30 AM

Why, Make Pengra, you are a handsome devil, even when fishing.

Posted by dlyde | February 25, 2010 8:32 AM

Just back in from chores...and sending the last of the 15 or so feral cats to Friends of Animals for their "life transforming" event. They will be back home tomorrow. Dale, might we have some music from "Cats" in their honor?

No apologies, no regrets from me for arranging the event...just gratitude and relief.


Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 25, 2010 8:54 AM

oh I LOVE to cook.... I spend a lot of time during the day thinking about what dish I will make for dinner. I follow recipes and change them when I feel confident that the change will be an improvement. My chili is a different story….our chili cook off is in 2 weeks and I’m doing something different this time. What am I saying? I’m ALWAYS doing something different with my chili. Beer or no beer? Pork or beef? Roast or ground? Smoked or not? Hot or not? Too many choices! But I do have a plan.....

and a word about fresh garlic....there's nothing like some chopped garlic and olive oil on a nice ciabatta bread yummmm.

Posted by Kate in Eden Prairie | February 25, 2010 8:55 AM

Hi everybody-
I believe less is more in regard to apologies but not recipes necessarily...

If I did screw up I'll be the first to admit it but a simple 'Sorry; I screwed up' is all you'll get. No need to fall all over myself trying to make it sound sincere.
I figure if you really know me you know I say what I mean so it's good enough.

Baking / cooking... I believe in 'following the process' so I'll stick pretty close to the rules.

Now, driving somewhere... I just head that general direction. Eventually you hit I90 or I35 or the Mississippi and then you turn around if you have to. Makes my wife crazy...but that's part of the fun. ;-)

Posted by Ben | February 25, 2010 9:08 AM

I wish I could recall who it was that said recently, "An apology is not an apology if it has the word 'if' in it."

Political spinmeisters are talented at creating apologies that are actually defiant rejections of responsibility. A classic exmaple would be something like, "I deeply regret it if anyone gets the impression I have behaved badly." In other words, if people are so stupid as to be critical of this person, he regrets THAT. Other times people can word an apology in such a way that it strongly suggests anyone who is critical of them is in the wrong. That's not an apology!

It should be simple to apologize. "I did a bad thing. I am truly responsible for what I did. People were hurt by my mistake. I am so so sorry for what I did."

Most public apologies I heard sound like a variation of the idea that "I'm sorry I got caught."

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 25, 2010 11:43 AM

Ben--so you are somewhere right about Mora, but your perimeters for your wondering?
Steve--sorry to tell you this, but that sounds like me. Dale's recipe says "cover in Shame." The first time I read it I read "cover in Sham," this thinking along your lines.
We need two words added to our national lexicon. 1) (from yesterday) a replacement for congratulations which means "I recognizze your joy and want to increase your joy by telling you that I am joyful for you." But we use congratulations for that.
2) a word which means " I really am sorry and am willing to atone, that is do what I must to make it right,"

Posted by Clyde | February 25, 2010 11:54 AM

Thanks, Steve, for the concise explanation of apology and not-an-apology. I'm saving it for future reference.

BTW, I just googled "I wish I could recall who it was that said recently, "An apology is not an apology if it has the word 'if' in it." and the only result/reference was today's Trial Balloon.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 25, 2010 4:08 PM

Thanks, Steve, for the concise explanation of apology and not-an-apology. I'm saving it for future reference.

BTW, I just googled "I wish I could recall who it was that said recently, "An apology is not an apology if it has the word 'if' in it." and the only result/reference was today's Trial Balloon.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 25, 2010 4:08 PM

Clyde... sorry if I mislead you... I was just giving generally recognized travel lanes.

I'm down by Rochester.... so it just depends which way I'm headed; maybe I should be more broad? Canada, Mexico or an Ocean and then you turn around?

A new phrase a friend passed along today: "Adventures suck while you're having them"
... well, yes and no, eh? Just kinda depends... Can't say...

Posted by Ben | February 25, 2010 6:27 PM

Barb - today I could access TB at work. You never know from day to day until you click on it. I always wonder how the web-filtering rulers can be like pussy cats one day and so mean spirited the next.

After re-reading the Humble Pie recipe, I saw I confused a major direction. Once you pulverize yourself with the wooden spoon, you're supposed to pluck a raw crow, NOT your own body hair. I'm sorry I messed that up, Heartlanders. Last summer I read in a magazine that if you really don't feel you're in the wrong, you should never say, "I'm sorry." Instead say, "I apologize." It's more formal and impersonal and shifts blame elsewhere. It also helps you avoid feelings of guilt which I hear can be pretty darn depressing.

Good poem today, Clyde. I enjoyed the gland part.

Regrets - I included a word in my first post that could be considered offensive, just because I found it funny. I apologize.

Dale, nice to hear the hog song this morning. I can never get enough of that.

Posted by Donna | February 25, 2010 6:57 PM

donna, don't feel bad we all have the urge to blurt out a potentially offensive word like tweezers every now and again .

we are all grown ups here.

Posted by tim | February 25, 2010 9:18 PM

up drinking the last half gallon of the most vile-flavored liquid for a test later this morning. on the desk in front of me is the ad reminding us to get tickets to a play at the new Teatro Zuccone in Duluth. put on by the long-time troupe, Colder by the Lake. the program is called "Older By the Lake - the Colonoscopy Monologues" ha, ha.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 26, 2010 2:25 AM

Ah, this is great. I'm home, I'm reading the blog, I'm laughing out loud. Thank you all!

I'm one of the people who says I'm Sorry so often it really carries no weight. Husband has probably said this a total of twice since I've known him, and believe me, it is well received when it occurs!

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | February 26, 2010 9:54 AM

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