Kitchen Stories: Do You Cook Late at Night?

I was up until the wee hours of the morning several times this past week. There was a wedding cake (yes! Another wedding cake!) in progress. I made 40 layers of cake, at least a dozen pounds of buttercream, and a whole tub of whipped chocolate ganache. Simple recipes, but time-consuming in execution, and 3am came and went.

As I fumbled spatulas and raised clouds of powdered sugar late one night during this marathon, my husband mused, "I wonder what sort of crazy kitchen mistakes get made because it's too late at night?"

I had just spattered raspberry icing all over the wall, but I still knew a good question for our readers when I heard it!

I tend to work on big projects late at night, when the night seems to offer limitless time. I turn on the radio and listen to late night folk-rock on NPR, and I brush up on world events with podcasts. I have listened to scads of This American Life episodes late at night. Ira Glass's voice has a Pavlovian effect on me; I feel like I should have a spatula or dishtowel in hand immediately.

I do find that the illusion of limitless time is just that -- an illusion. Good sense and quick reflexes are eroded as the night wears on, and I often make very stupid mistakes late at night.

And yet I tend to do more late-night cooking now, when the holidays loom, than any other time of year. What about you? All of us stay up late cooking from time to time. What do you cook late at night, and what sorts of crazy things have happened because you were too tired to read a recipe right?

Related: On Leaving the Dirty Dishes Until the Next Morning

(Image: From Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen, published in 1970)