I like to cook from scratch when possible. I'm the first to admit that pancakes made from Bisquick or Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix are slightly better than the scratch version, although my oldest granddaughter insists my pancakes are the best anywhere. Bisquick is good for biscuits, as well as pancakes, and I used it often when the kids were growing up. But pancake mix could get old and stale sitting around for the two of us to use. It isn't that we don't like pancakes, but we don't need all that butter and syrup very often. So I make them from scratch. I guess I feel a certain amount of pride, knowing I'm cooking the way those who came before me did. My mother didn't even own an electric mixer until the late fifties, I believe. Before that, when she baked a cake she used a hand egg-beater on the eggs first, poured them in with the other liquid ingredients, and poured all that into the mixed dry ingredients. Then she beat the batter at least three hundred times, counting under her breath all the way. I grew up watching Mother cook, and I think about her as I'm cooking and baking.
I'm always spilling something or forgetting something. If I get through preparing a meal without making a mess or forgetting an ingredient, it's a banner day. Let me give you examples from the last couple of days.
Cliff likes to have an egg-and-cheese-and-Miracle-Whip sandwich for breakfast, so I see to it he has one at least once a week. It's simple and quick to make; and how much mess can you make, really, just putting an egg between two slices of bread? Leave it to me to find out. Tuesday morning I broke an egg into my smallest cast-iron skillet, the only coveted Wagner brand skillet I own. I had the skillet turned pretty low, so I stepped to the counter to spread Miracle Whip on the bread while the egg cooked. I don't even know how it happened, but I somehow bumped the almost-full jar (plastic, thank goodness), and it fell hard on the floor, laying on it's side. It landed so hard a lot of the stuff splattered all over the lower cabinets, as well as the floor. Gabe, who can hear a bread-crumb drop on the floor two rooms away, ran it to see what tasty treat awaited, so I had to scold him to stay back all the time I was cleaning up. What a greasy mess!
|my Griswold skillet|
Fast forward to this morning. I bought about five pounds of ripe bananas for $1.99 at the store this week. We both like our bananas ripe; if the have the little spots on the outside, that's perfect. I knew there was no way we'd eat them all out of hand, but as they get riper, I intend to smash them, add Fruit-fresh to keep them from turning dark when thawed, and freeze them in one-cup amounts for banana bread. This morning I decided to surprise Cliff with banana muffins; I wanted to wait until he got up to put them in the oven, though, since the anticipation of waiting and smelling them is half the fun. I figured I'd get ahead of the game by preparing the dry ingredients, as well as the crumb topping, ahead of time. I also broke some nuts to put in it.
I woke my husband up at seven, as usual. I don't know if I've ever explained why a retired man has a certain time to get up: Thanks to his life as a butcher and concrete construction worker, he has arthritis in most joints; he says if he lies in bed too long, it makes him hurt more.
Now I needed to mix the wet ingredients, which consist of mashed bananas with 3/4 a cup of sugar stirred in, melted butter, and a beaten egg.
I sprayed Pam in the muffin pan and began spooning the batter, which seemed sort of stiff, into the muffin pan. I was just getting ready to put the crumb topping on and bake them when I glanced down at the counter and saw the closed container of sugar sitting there; I realized I had not added the sugar! And there the batter was already in the muffin pan. Thank goodness (and Pam) , each glob of dough/batter slipped right out into the mixing bowl, hardly leaving a trace behind. I'm sure glad I hadn't put the crumb topping on before I saw my mistake, because I'm not sure how that would have turned out. I added the sugar, which made the batter more "liquid", then the topping. All's well that ends well, and they are delicious. We each had two, and the rest went into the freezer in a covered container.
Three kitchen mess-ups in three days. My parents always said things happen in threes, so maybe I'm done for awhile.
Wish me luck.