Just Because You Can, Does It Mean You Should?

I tried to make sugar-free coconut macaroons last weekend. I found a recipe that called for sweetened condensed coconut milk, where you simmer coconut milk with erythritol, my sugar-free sweetener of choice. I did.

I never did turn my coconut milk into something that looked like sweetened condensed milk. It never got thick. I did simmer it down, but it never got thick.

Oh well, I thought. Maybe I can still make macaroons.

I took out my coconut. For some reason, I had bought lower-fat unsweetened coconut flakes. I was worried. The fat is what keeps the macaroons together.

I followed the recipe, combining the coconut with the reduced coconut milk. It never came together. The coconut did not clump. It was clear to me I needed more liquid in the recipe. What to do?

I added unsweetened chocolate and liquid Stevia. I could make chocolate macaroons. I still needed more liquid. I added coconut oil.

My macaroons did not stick together at all.

I decided to throw everything out. I was not going to get caught  by the sunk cost fallacy. No sir, not me.

I threw everything into the sink and turned on the disposal. I continued washing dishes until everything was clean.

By then, I had a big problem. The sink had about two inches of water in it. As I was washing dishes, something backed up the sink.

It didn’t matter how much I ran the disposal. That sink didn’t empty. I was in trouble.

Mark returned from his bike ride. I explained what I had done. We realized the coconut oil and coconut probably packed the pipe. We had a blockage somewhere.

Mark plunged. And plunged and plunged. We ran the disposal and he plunged. We still had a blocked pipe.

Mark plunged for hours. He even got a blister! He opened up the pipe at the trap. No, the blockage was further down, not at the trap.

Several hours later, we called a plumber, who snaked and snaked and snaked and unblocked our pipe.

I made an expensive mistake when I threw all the coconut into the sink.

I could throw all of that glop into the disposal. Clearly, I should not have done so! (Mark is still talking to me, so we’re okay :-)

That incident got me thinking about other things we do because we can, not because we should:

  • I see and hear people talking on their cell phones in the bathroom.
  • People who aren’t handicapped using a handicapped bathroom because they like the spaciousness
  • All sorts of driving behavior: eating, putting on makeup, talking on the cell phone

We do many things because we can, not because we should. And, I’m not talking about the guilt-shoulds. I’m talking about things that make our lives easier and enhance our lives. Are our choices helping us or hurting us?

Dear adaptable problem solvers, that is the question of the week: Just because you can, does it mean you should?

2 thoughts on “Just Because You Can, Does It Mean You Should?

  1. edith

    Hi Johanna

    maybe this is besides the point, but I’m wondering how you define macaroon.
    As far as I know, the base of macaroons is egg white and sugar, like Baiser. No fat required, what makes them hold together is the sugar! So, I’m not sure whether a macaroon without sugar can work at all.

    that said – keep up the good work! I enjoy reading your posts.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Edith, Aha! Let me introduce you to the wonders of low-carbing :-)

      I have recipes for macaroons with unsweetened coconut (legal for low carb), egg whites (legal), sugar (I would substitute erythritol to make it legal), and some vanilla or almond extract (if you buy the stuff without alcohol, it’s legal). Now, this is still a somewhat carby dessert, because all the fat comes from the coconut. I prefer to eat food with more fat for satiety. However, it’s Passover, and I really did want macaroons.

      If I had gone with any of those recipes, I would have been fine. The egg white acts as glue to hold the macaroons together. But noooo, I had to try the sweetened condensed coconut milk recipe.

      Coconut milk does not act like cow’s milk. Not at all. That was the problem.

      Erythritol acts much like sugar. I have powdered and granular erythritol. When I make flourless chocolate cakes, I use a combination.

      Baking low carb is fun. However, it doesn’t always come out the way I expect. Normally, the food is edible. Not this time. Sigh.

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