Friday, August 31, 2012

The Non-Baker's Plea

Dear friends, family, countrymen, etc

As many of you know, my daughter's first birthday is quickly approaching.  On September 4, she will be one whole year old.  I am still trying to wrap my mind around how that is even possible---my best guess thus far is some kind of warp in the space time continuum.  Because, seriously, she can NOT already be a year old.  My little girl--- the walking, talking (sort of) queen of maniacal laughter can not possibly be turning one whole year old.  Except that she is....

Anyhow, excuse the sentimental introduction.  And let's get down to business. I need your help.  Those of you closest to me have recently heard me ramble on about how I am going to make a homemade cake for Miriam.  A homemade cake in the shape of Corduroy.  I'm copying some other woman's genius blueprint for this fabulous construction (ain't the internet grand)---and tonight, I have just finished baking the cakes and cupcakes (which will be artfully cut and arranged into the shape of Miriam's favorite bear)---and mixing up the homemade icing.

And here's where I need your help.  The next time you hear me proudly exclaim that I am going to do anything at all whatsoever in the kitchen "from scratch"---I am asking that you kindly and patiently remind me that I once started a fire in the kitchen while attempting to boil water.  People who start fires in kitchens while boiling water have absolutely no business attempting to turn food into anything other than food---specifically bears with green overalls.  People who start fires in kitchens while boiling water should really just concentrate on making food that tastes like food.  That would be a good place to start....

But no.  It's Miriam's first birthday.  It should be special, right?  With a homemade cake and everything. So tonight's plan---no biggie.  Just bake the cakes.  And mix the icing.  That's all.  Tomorrow's when the real fun starts with the decorating.

What could possibly go wrong?  Just ask the person who once started a fire in her kitchen while attempting to boil water.

A line of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera" springs to mind:  "A disaster beyond your imagination will occur!!"  If you call me friend, you should quote this to me the next time I start getting all idealistic about my kitchen skills...

Anyhow--disaster number one:

The cakes and cupcakes actually made it into and out of the oven with little drama.  However, once placed upon the cooling rack---which to my credit---WAS on the highest counter available---Molly, our golden retriever---through some act of incredible acrobatic prowess (probably fueled by an adrenaline surge brought on by the smell of butter cake)---managed to lick the corner of the 8" cake (which was to be Corduroy's tummy) before I chased her down and kicked her outside, into the rainy, windy remnants of Isaac.  And so, of course, I had to cook that cake over again.  Or did I?  Bwahahahahaha.

Disaster number two:

"I think I'll just make the icing from scratch.  Everyone online says this recipe is super easy and tastes wonderful."  Oh friends---why did you not shut this plan down??  Why Why Why????   There are perfectly good cans of frosting just sitting on the shelves going to waste.....Why didn't I just pick up a few cans??  Why???

Step 1:  cream butter and shortening in mixing bowl with blender.

Okey dokey.  I go to town with my happy little mixer---and then o holy mother of pearl----chunks of butter and crisco go flying all over my kitchen--speckling me, the counters and everything on them---not to mention the ceiling above us---with well, slightly mixed chunks of butter and crisco.  My first thought?  "Well, that will be fun for later, huh?"  Stu, hearing me doing an impression of Yosemite Sam, sweetly asks---"Do you need any help in there?"  Me:  "Ummm.  I might need help later...."

We won't even talk about what happened when I added the confectioner's sugar.....O the horror.

And see, tomorrow---there will be food coloring involved....of course since the party is being held at my parents' house---we (Nikki will supervise me tomorrow---this may be a saving grace---or she might just run away screaming) will assemble and decorate the cakes in my mom's kitchen.  Again---this really doesn't need to be said---the Bwahahahahaha is implied---but still Bwahahahahahahaha nonetheless.

Anyhow---I've recorded these misadventures for the sake of posterity.  I shall read over them when I get all---"Oh that doesn't sound too hard" about cooking---or my friends and family will speak with me using one of these two acceptable opening lines: "People who start fires in kitchens while attempting to boil water...." or "A disaster beyond your imagination will occur."

In the meantime---what's started is started.  And tomorrow---it will be will possibly be my mom's will possibly be me after my mom sees her kitchen.  Hmmmm.  All in all, it's really been a pretty good life.....This letter may not be necessary after all.