Unlike all the rest of my sisters, who are all wonderful and imaginative bakers and cooks, I myself am quite helpless when it comes to concocting a dish in the kitchen. This is probably one of the effects of being the youngest kid and therefore always having an older sister to do the work instead of you. Which I didn’t have a problem with. I’ve got the basics down-cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, grilled cheese…toast…Ramen noodles….
And it just so happens that last Saturday my mother had me make some oatmeal bars as a dessert. The house was empty when I got to work the recipe. It was just me, Peter, and Grandma left at home which was quite peaceful. I wasn’t really too excited to start baking, so I got out my iPod to motivate me. I find that blasting music that only you can hear makes every situation a little more fun. Especially when your parents are calling you to come set the table and you can’t hear them at all. But I didn’t choose any rock or pop song to listen to. Surprising even myself, I decided I was in quite the mood for some classical piano. There were only two Bach songs on the iPod, so I actually ended up listening to the same two songs for about half an hour.
Donning my apron I got to work.
It ended up taking a bit of time to make the bars because I was dancing around the kitchen pretending I was a ballerina. Also because I was doubling the recipe.
When I bake I do it in the most inconvenient ways possible. I don’t have any smart tactics that make baking so much easier and faster of a job. The fact that we’re usually missing one or two things in the recipe doesn’t help either. Or they’re just misplaced. I once found some maple syrup in the refrigerator. And James’ electric toothbrush was put in the baking utensil’s drawer for about a week by our grandmother. I never read the instructions on how to do the recipe correctly, either. Do you really need those? I’ve never taken the time to check and see if those are helpful or not. And I do not like measuring ingredients…
And do most people really stir the ingredients every time after they add an ingredient? Cause I don’t. I always, always, always forget to until all the ingredients are in and then it takes forever to mix it all up. I usually just try in vain for approximately thirty seconds, then run to Mom and have her mix it up. But couldn’t do that this time, because she was gone. This time when I mixed it all I lost my patience, as I so often do when baking, and just stopped mixing after a while. There were quite a few lumps of non-mixed ingredients in the batch.
I shoved the whole doubled recipe into a pan, and quickly threw it into the oven. Done.
Then I promptly forgot about it, until a while later when I realized with horror I was in charge of taking the dang thing out of the oven too. Thankfully, it wasn’t burnt. But it did end up to be the hardest, most unappetizing bars I have ever eaten.
This baking catastrophe again came to mind this morning, as I was again forced to bake. Mom wanted some chocolate chip cookies for the Sunday dinner dessert. The recipe I was going to follow on the back of the chocolate chip bag was cut off, so I couldn’t see what we needed. But, alas, Mom found another cookie recipe for me to follow, one that I had never used before. I tried to finish the baking job as fast as possible, with little care of how it tasted or looked. It didn’t look so good. It was dry and crumbly and, not surprisingly, all the ingredients were poorly mixed together. But I didn’t care. I was sick and tired of baking.
There are so many mysteries to baking. Can’t we all just eat ice cream instead? So much less preparation time.
I think it’ll be a while before Mom asks me to bake again.