Running Free

Running Free

Monday, November 17, 2008

Baker's Daughter

I wish I could lay claim to the fact that I was a baker’s daughter and had all the wonderful skills that I presume come with claiming the DNA of a man who can cook and bake and tell the difference between a clove and a clump (as in garlic.)

But since I am a humble housewife of truly tiny domestic means, my baking has its limits – severe limits. Homemade flambĂ©, tarts, chocolate mousse, pies and other such calorically rich creations will never grace the corner - never mind the table - of my kitchen.

I need to stick to what I can manage with the help of a Betty Crocker box and maybe an egg or two and a bit of water and oil. Anything else is really raising the bar to unforeseen consequences. Even with the cake mix coming from a box my abilities are truly challenged. I get the Tbsp and Tsp mixed up all the time...

It doesn’t mean I don’t try. I do. After all, what respectable mother doesn’t want to try and make cupcakes for her child’s classroom birthday bonanza? What doting wife doesn’t want to surprise her significant other with amazing treats that are out of this world and well…

As I mentioned, my baking has its limits. You may be wondering: Why is she bringing this topic up? Well, today being Monday, I decided to be a good mother and respectable wife and in addition to doing laundry, folding it and actually finding the mates to all the socks in the white load this time, I decided to make some gingerbread squares for my family.

I started with a package of gingerbread cake mix from the aforementioned goddess of goodness, Dame Betty. I read the side of the box to gauge the additional ingredients: 1 egg (large), 1/3 cup of oil, 3/4 cup of water and the gingerbread mix itself.

I opened the box and lifted the bag containing the cake mix out of the box. I used a pair of scissors to snip the top of the sealed bag in which the said mix was safely ensconced. I then attempted to pour the mixture into a ceramic mixing bowl. And as I delicately and ever so carefully attempted to pour the powdery mixture into the bowl, I had an urgent need to sneeze. I turned my face far away from the food preparation zone and BAM! out came a sneeze of gargantuan proportion.

If any of you have ever tried to hold back a sneeze – well, you know exactly what I am talking about when I say that my sneeze was strong and steady and the violent jerk of the hand holding the said bag with cake mix landed well beyond the intended mixing bowl.

What to do? After managing to get the cake dust into my eyes and realizing that trying to wipe it off with my other hand was not the brightest of ideas, I managed to somehow salvage about three quarters of the bag and then began to hunt for a large egg. I looked in my refrigerator to find a brown egg nestled safely in its little egg holder on the right side of the second shelf.

It didn’t look especially large; neither did it look especially small. Given that it was the only egg in the refrigerator it would have to do. And thus, with a mutter of “Desperate times, desperate measures,” I carried forth in my domestic undertaking of being a goodly wife and mother.

I added the water and oil and secured a wooden spatula to help me mix the liquidy mess into a consistent color as directed by Dame Betty under the “instructions” section on the box – right next to the “What you will need" ingredients list.

Right about now I was beginning to think that what I needed was a cup of strong coffee and the assistance of Jeeves, the all –assuming butler to the P.G. Wodehouse character Bertie Wooster.

I next tried to break the said egg using the side of the ceramic bowl with a one-two-three – slam- there was a yellowish goop moistly in the bowl along with bits of shell floating carelessly along the stream of mocha colored powder.

I tried to remove the eggshells with a spoon and alas, that is when things really went north – or is it south? Those little devils evaded me every chance they could- If I dove left they scampered right. For every duck they had a subsequent weave.

I thought that if perhaps I stirred the concoction together I would be able to easily remove the shells since they would be inconsistent with the intended consistent texture I was about achieve with a few flicks of a wooden spatula.

Ha! It is now 3:15 p.m. in the afternoon. I have managed to bake the gingerbread squares and now have twelve little pillows of egg, oil, water and mix cooling downstairs in the kitchen. While I was able to remove the biggest shell offenders, there were several ruthless nits for whom the bell now tolls. Sigh…I figured a little extra protein never hurt anyone.

Maybe I will give a prize to whoever gets the first crunch- an extra kiss to my husband or son…who shall it be…stay tuned…
p.s. Lest you think that the accompanying photo is what my gingerbread looks like..HA! I 'borrowed' this lovely pictures from the website:

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