Baking With Grandma… or… Still So Much To Learn

I baked cookies with my mom and grandma last Friday. We made some of those chocolate crackle cookies, some with peppermint candy on top and others with marachino cherries and a cherry glaze drizzled. We also made a bunch of “press cookies” in various Christmas shapes, then drizzled a clear glaze, and added sprinkles.

It was fun and I enjoyed working with them. It’s definitely easier (and more enjoyable) to be able to do stuff like that assembly line style rather than being responsible for every single step yourself.

What fascinated me, though, was how much I learned. How is there still more for me to learn about baking from the two people who essentially taught me to bake in the first place? How did I miss learning this stuff earlier? Did they always do it this way and I just never noticed?

Take as an example the cooling racks. Did they always place newspaper under them? They both thought it was natural. The newspaper would catch the crumbs and – more importantly – the glaze drippings and sprinkles.

Mom even commented that we should glaze and sprinkle on the cooling racks specifically so the glaze and sprinkles could fall through, rather than pooling on the cookie sheets.

Did she always do that and I was too clueless to pick up on it? What else have I missed? What valuable family knowledge is not getting properly transmitted through me?

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Taking Your Licks

Jane recently made some cupcakes from scratch. She didn’t use a box mix, she used extra vanilla, and she poked holes in the top to add hot blackberry Jell-O.

They were tasty.

Very tasty.

As such, they disappeared quickly. She made more but those disappeared quickly as well. In fact, one recent night, there were only a few left and the kids were fighting over them.

From the other room, I could hear Hal objecting because someone had eaten his cupcake.

I heard my husband tell him that he could have “this one” when he finished his dinner. “It’s ok,” he tried to assure him. “There’s enough for everyone. You can have this one.”

I then heard Daryl apologizing for eating Hal’s cupcake. “I didn’t know you wanted that particular one.”

All three people in the room attempted to comfort Hal, calm him down, convince him that the available cupcake would be sufficient and equally tasty.

Through the sobbing, I heard Hal’s desperately sad little voice:

“But I wanted the one that I had licked!”

I guess he hadn’t figured out that licking something to claim ownership only works if people actually see you do it.

Eggs

I’m responsible for providing the bread for visitors at church tomorrow so I checked supplies before heading out to drop Jane off at her Etiquette Dinner. As it so happened, the only carton of eggs in the fridge was full of boiled eggs, their little penciled B’s looking up at me when I peeked in the carton.

We live outside of town and the dinner was further outside of town. Oh, well. I’ll just have to stop at the convenience store and pay convenience prices for the eggs, I thought.

After dropping her off, I noticed my stomach starting to cramp. Just slightly. It had been painfully cramped all day yesterday. I started thinking about whether I should go to the doctor because this seemed to be happening too frequently. That made me begin to wonder what could be the cause. Diet? Some new food sensitivity? Something scarier?

Before long, I was having one of my full-blown dark fantasies. I was diagnosed with cancer, needing surgery and chemo. I started examining what the effects of such news would be. I wouldn’t be able to secure additional life insurance anymore. If I died, my husband wouldn’t have a lot to support him while he struggled to get on his feet. Even if I didn’t die, what would change?

I still don’t know if this imagination of mine is a good thing or bad. On the one hand, it allows me to explore how I would handle traumatic news without it actually happening. On the other hand, it chokes me up as if it is really happening and just seems kinda creepy.

At some point, I realized that I had driven past the convenience store. I pulled over and waited for the other cars to pass so I could turn around. Then I realized that I had not actually passed the convenience store. So once the road was clear, I resumed my journey.

I pulled into our driveway and verified Hal was still asleep in the backseat. I wondered if I could leave him sleeping without him being too scared when he woke up and was alone in the car. That reminded me that I had planned to leave him sleeping in the car while I ran into the store, which I had not done.

I circled out of the driveway, returned to the store, picked out a carton of eggs, and drove home without incident. Hal woke up when we got home so we entered the house together. I sat the carton on the counter and gathered the other ingredients. I fixed the batter and put the pan in the oven. I began cleanup.

Opening the door of the fridge, I looked for a spot to put the carton of eggs. There was room on the shelf under the carton of boiled eggs. I slid it into place. Right next to another carton of 12 raw eggs.

Perhaps it’s not cancer I need to worry about.