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Kitchen disasters

We have been living through the Summer of Visitors.  There was OmegaBro and SIL and chilluns.  There was FIL and MIL.  There was Aussie Cuz and Memphis Cuz and Memphis Cuz Jr.  There was a drive-by by a nephew and his girlfriend (how did that happen?  Sheesh!  He's supposed to be 10 years old forever, y'know?).

Today there was another coupla cousins, stopping by for a quick visit as they make a tour of Indian land for their (woohoo!) 25th wedding anniversary.

These things happen in waves; last year and the year prior, we had no visitors a-tall.  None.  Zero.  This year has more than made up for it.

At least the house gets vacuumed more often! 

OmegaDad, reveling in the coolth of autumn, and under duress from yours truly to try a weekly menu to see if we can curtail our expenses, dug out a favorite recipe of ours from old, Chicken Corn Chowder.  Absolutely scrumptious.  Warm, filling, aromatic--it brings to mind the wonders of autumn and winter cooking, filled with things like Split-Pea Soup, casseroles, pumpkin pies, family gatherings, fires in the wood stove.  (Another sign of autumn:  the elk have begun bugling at last; lying in bed with the dotter the other night, I heard what sounded like a very large, very rusty gate creaking and swinging in the wind.  After a few moments, I realized it was a bull elk out in the Big Meadow either asking the elk ladies to come get a load of this hunka-hunka burning love, or else admonishing any other bull elk in the neighborhood that a real Elk's Elk was marking this as his turf.)

The combo of the cousins' visit, the savory soup, and the autumnal atmosphere reminded me of one of my greater kitchen disasters.  Don't ask me why, it just did.

Many moons ago, when I was just a young lass, living with my paternal grandparents while attempting (hah!) a year at Northwestern University, the seasons swung around to OmegaGranny's birthday (Feb. 1).  The grandparents were off visiting relatives, it was a snowy day, and filled with a fit of dotterly love and grandiose ambitions, I decided to make mamasan a birthday cake from scratch.  An applesauce spice cake with buttercream frosting.  Yum.

So I rummaged around in grandma's kitchen, found various baking devices, found an old Fanny Farmer's cookbook with the recipe, and started grabbing ingredients.

Problem number one:  I couldn't find baking soda in grandma's pantry.  Oh, well, thought I, surely just baking powder will do the trick.

Don't laugh.

I chopped nuts, I sifted flour, I stirred in applesauce and various (oh-so-yummy-smelling) spices.  I pottered around, poured the two layers into the layer cake pans, popped them in the oven, and turned to the frosting.

For some reason, I was in a hurry.  So rather than creaming the butter by hand, I decided to use the mixer.

Now, I know some folks swear by using a mixer to cream butter and sugar.  Let me just state, here and now, that this particular incident is why I have resolved never to cream using a mixer, ever again.

Because...well...it didn't cream, see?  It just turned into this bowlful of pellets of sugar and butter.

Hmmm, thought I.  Well, that didn't really work.  What to do, what to do?  So I called someone (don't remember who), who suggested, add more confectioner's sugar, more butter, and cream it all by hand.

This eventually worked.  However, I ended up with double the frosting mix.  Eh, what's a little extra frosting, think I.  Sort of.  This wasn't turning out the way I had planned.

So then I pulled out the cake, which was done by now.

Except...well...it looked kinda...flat.

Very flat. 

Like a cake that was supposed to end up being four inches high was going to be about an inch and a half high.

Um.  A Powerful Lesson On The Differences Between Baking Powder And Baking Soda.

By now, I was crying.  My splendid birthday surprise for my mom!  Ruined!  Horrible! 

I kept crying as I cooled the cakes.  I sobbed as I slathered the oh-so-thin layers with double the frosting.

I called a taxi.  But, since it had kept snowing while all this culinary experimentation was taking place, the taxi company said it might be an hour before a cab got there--if they could promise a cab would be there at all.

It was getting dark.  I sat in the dimness in the living room waiting for the taxi, watching the snow fall, and feeling like I was a Total Failure At Life.

The taxi finally came.  It took us an hour to drive to my parents' house.  I had the still-warm ultra-dense cake on my lap...

When I got there, the first thing I did, after dumping the cake on the kitchen table, was collapse in my mother's arms, sobbing out the tale of the cake.  My mom, my dad and my cousin (one of the aforementioned 25th anniversary cousins!) gamely tried the cake and pronounced it quite tasty.  Cuz guffawed and made comments about this being the recipe those single-serving packs were trying to copy.

Folks, this was thirty years ago.

I have never--not once!--forgotten to double-check whether the recipe calls for baking powder versus baking soda since that day.

I have never--not once!--creamed butter and sugar with a mixer since that day.

And my baking has greatly improved.

Many thanks to the little birdie who informed me of my typo which greatly reduced the impact of my Powerful Lesson!

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posted by Kate @ 9/09/2006 11:08:00 PM  
  • At 9/10/2006 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous LizC said…

    my mother is a very good baker and does a lot of it. One time-- ONE!-- she forgot to add the baking soda to banana bread (hmm... with 3 kids, I wonder how one ingredient got forgotten?) and it was a brick. We have never forgotten it. Once! She made one mistake!

    Yeah, these things make a big impression. And you are a better cook for it. And it's kinda funny.

  • At 9/10/2006 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer said…

    That chowder sounds good. Cooking can be so stressful when it doesn't turn out. I had a disaster recipe (just a bad recipe, though I made it correctly) when I was learning to cook, and I haven't lived it down yet.

  • At 9/11/2006 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Pass The Torch said…

    Hahaha! We had a baking power vs. baking soda disaster a couple weeks ago - I used it as a Pass the Torch Tuesday post because I figure process is more important than product;)

    I hope things quiet down for you soon!

    Home of Pass the Torch Tuesday

  • At 9/12/2006 01:25:00 AM, Anonymous Kate said…

    Thank you for posting this entry. I am now finding it easier to live down my own, very public kitchen disasters.

  • At 9/12/2006 07:41:00 AM, Anonymous Mary said…

    Cooking to women is as home improvement to men. When we fail, it stings doesn't it? Sounds like to me your cake wasn't such a failure after all though, sounds yummy! It was a good lesson to learn :O)

  • At 3/05/2007 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At 3/12/2007 05:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I knew my mom was hot from the time I hit puberty. As soon as I began masturbating I was fantasizing about her. And later, in high school all the guys were always over to use my pool in the summer, hoping she would be home from work or be tanning on the weekends. Mom rarely disappointed too, sunning herself in a modest two-piece on the weekends while all my male friends gawked at her. If she ever knew she was the neighborhood hot mom she never gave any indication.
    The older I got the more I thought about mom and every girl I dated was compared to her. I had a steady girlfriend through high school, but a careful eye would have seen that she was just a younger version of my mom and when I was with my girlfriend I often imagined she was my Mom. Not that she needed a younger version of herself. Mom was twenty-two when she had me, so when I was in high school she was in her thirties and looked like she could have been in her twenties. Mom had been a beauty queen in high school and the years hadnÒt diminished her looks one bit. Her long, sunny blond hair still fell past her shoulders, I used to play with it all the time when I was little, and her eyes still sparkled blue. And Mom has kept her amazing body. Seeing old pictures I think it got better after she had two kids. Her ass is rounder and plumper than when she was a teen and her breasts look heavier, theyÒre 36CÒs, I know from checking out her bras in the laundry, too. Sometimes thinking about Mom just makes my cock ach
    So anyway, IÒm twenty-two now, the same age that Mom was when she had me and sheÒs been my lover for over two years now. I found a way to make my fantasies come true when I was nineteen and away at college. They say that the meeting of all those different cultures and ideas is good. I know it was for me. Some of you may think what I did to get my Mom was wrong, but I canÒt say I have any regrets. HereÒs my story.
    My freshman year at college I met this exchange student from India named free erotic sex stories. Saji was a great guy and we decided that we would be roommates during our sophomore year. When we became roommates we became the best of friends and I took him back home for a weekend. He stayed in the guest room and we had a great time. And I could tell by the way he looked at my Mom that free french very young 16 yrs old wanted her just as much as all my friends always had. But Saji was different. He actually said something. We were drinking in the dorm one night.
    Dude, would you get pissed if I told you something? free galleri teen porn asked, taking a swig of his beer.
    I donÒt think so. Try me. I replied.
    Well, I have not been able to stop thinking about your mother. She is such a hottie.
    I didnÒt know what to say, so I agreed.
    She came to check on me the first night, she was standing in the doorway and I could see right through her nightgown. I felt really bad about thinking of your mother that way, but I couldnÒt help it.
    I knew just the nightgown he was talking about. It always drove me crazy too. I tried to make him feel better, and maybe me too a little. If you think you feel bad, think how I feel. IÒm her son!
    What? You think your mother is hot too? free gay anal was very surprised.
    I had told him a little so I didnÒt see what there was to loose by telling him the rest. Dude, IÒve been fantasizing about my mom since I was a kid. How could I not? SheÒs like a goddess. free gay sex nodded his agreement. Sometimes I think I am doomed to never be completely happy with another girl.
    So would you? You knowÅ I thought I knew what he meant, but didnÒt say anything. If you could, Saji continued, would you be with her?
    IÅIÅuh, hell, of course I would. As weird as thatÒs supposed to be, I would in a heartbeat. Just thinking about it got me hard. But dude, there is no way she would ever even think about it. She loves my dad way too much. That part was true. My parents acted like they were as in love as the day they met. My dad worked hard and that meant being on business trips a few days every month, going to some regional office or another and every time he came back I would be able to hear my parents making love from down the hallway. My mother was so loud every time she came. Believe me, that had provided more fodder for fantasy than a hundred pornos could. And anyway, she would probably hate me, think I am some disgusting little freak if she knew how I feel.
    There was a glint in SajiÒs eyes now. What if I could do something to help you? If I could make your fantasy come true, would you do it then?
    I had no idea what he was talking about. It was all academic, so I said, Sure.
    Then this is your lucky day, friend. free incest hentai went on to tell me how back in India his family was well-regarded herbalists and medicine men and that when his father came to this country he brought much of his knowledge with him. Saji had been studying with his father for as far back as he could remember his father had been mixing up elixirs that healed the family far faster than western medicine had to offer. But what Saji had to help me was not a medicine, he said. It was something his father would not teach him and Saji had only been able to learn by sneaking into his fatherÒs journals. What was it? Now that Saji had teased me I had to know what he was talking about. There was a mixture of powdered herbs that when combined acted like a psychotropic agent. What the hell was that, I asked him. Saji smiled and simply said, Mind control.
    YouÒre out of your mind. What, am I going to hypnotize my mother into sleeping with me? I snorted.
    No, itÒs nothing as clumsy as you would see in a movie, Saji told me. This, he said, worked over time. Several weeks to a month, depending on how strong-willed the subject was. Well, I knew Mom was pretty strong-willed. The subject did not turn into a zombie and best of all they had no idea what was happening. As far as the subject was concerned all of their thoughts and feelings were coming from them.
    So why are you offering me this ancient family secret? I asked. There had to be a catch.
    Because youÒre the only person here whoÒs truly been a friend to me. And, obviously I expect you to tell me every detail.
    I donÒt know why I made the show of struggling over my decision, but I did. After a few minutes of silence I told Saji, Okay, what do I have to do?
    When Saji went home for Spring Break he mixed up some of the herbs. Of course he wouldnÒt tell me what was in the mixture he brought back, but he assured me that it wouldnÒt do anything to hurt my mother. He handed me a big ziplock baggie of something that looked like green tea, but ground up more finely, and some written instructions, along with a vial of an amber oil. Saji said it had a very slight, bitter taste, but depending on what I slipped it into she would never notice. The oil was the activator. It was to be used after the herbs had softened Mom up. Lucky for me Mom has a cup of tea every evening after dinner, Saji said that should work perfectly because it would probably start kicking in when she was ready for bed.

  • At 3/27/2007 08:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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