Tagged: baking

I Love My Wife’s KitchenAid Artisan Mixer!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. Today we have a post from a guest blogger. Today, Captain “Is-There-Really-a-Difference-Between-Half-a-Teaspoon-and-a-Teaspoon?”, call sign, “I-Don’t-Care-If-the-Internet-Says-There-Is-a-Difference-Between-Baking-Soda-and-Powder-I-Can-Plainly-See-They’re-the-Same” will be taking controls.

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That’s right, Pete. And I am excited! Let me tell you why!

First, I need to set the stage, as it were, for our readers. Picture this: a handsome devil, about 6 foot in height, adorned, from bottom to top as follows. Faux fur-lined, real Native-American-tribute moccasins connect him to the spiritual earth. (Cabelas.) Boot socks add enough insulation to his keep-warm feet. (Cabelas.) An odd type of heavy fleece sweatpants, nylon knee reinforcements and all–Gore Windstopper to boot (Cabelas–discontinued)–keeps two strong legs warm between innings. Up top, a baby blue, v-neck pajama shirt hangs out of a 1/4-zip desert green fleece (Cabelas) and together the core stays kindled.

Now, onto the main course. The recipe for mom’s Peanut Butter Blossoms Christmas cookies calls for mixing 1 3/4 cups flour with 1/2 t salt and 1 t baking soda as the first step. Then, separately, you’re to cream 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter. After this, add a mix of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. And at some point an egg, 2 T milk, and 1 t vanilla come to the party. Four bowls for one cookie? No, thank you.

Breaking things into those clean cut groups might have worked in the 90s, sure. But this is 2020. And doing dishes is still a chore. Plus, I have my wife’s new, red, KitchenAid artisan mixer at my disposal.

Segue: Most husbands love this item because they love how their wives finally stop complaining. I mean, what part of life is hard after obtaining the Kitchen-Aid mixer? Not me. I love the item because I get to rebel while baking cookies.

I don’t doubt my mom. I don’t. I need to be clear about that. What I doubt is that she really intended to be so an-, I mean, particular as to limit in which order I add the ingredients. So, in the bowl (before attaching the proper tool), I began with a stick of butter (directly from the fridge) and the peanut butter. I just put them in the bowl, added the paddle-outline looking deal, and set-it-and-forget-it as they say.

Next, I, after only stopping the machine–no other adjustments–added an egg, the milk, and the vanilla. I just cracked the egg on the side of the mixing bowl and plop. Only slightly doubting whether I should have stirred the egg a bit before adding it, I figured introducing the liquid elements now might help cream up the chunks of butter that seemed resistant to my will.

Measure sugar, add. Measure other sugar, add.

Finally, I stopped the machine, and took off the paddle thing. I measured the first cup of flour, not packed, into one cup and then for the other 3/4 cup of flour–instead of using the 3/4 cup line on the same 1 cup cup, I used an entirely separate 3/4 cup cup. Did I tell you how refined I am? (You just have to rinse dry measuring cups to clean them, anyhow.)

Now, here’s where the salt and soda issue unfolded.

Finally, I pressed my luck, because, ‘Why the eff not? It’s Christmas!” and carefully prepared to visually note any detrimental changes to the consistency of the cookie dough as I by feel increased the speed from 2, to 4, and then 6–but only for a second!

In the end, what I am most happy with myself about is that while back in the prison of the index card recipe, as I rolled the dough into balls, I, through some sort of ESP, thought, “Shouldn’t I be rolling them in sugar before placing them in the over?” And, sure enough, I was right. Can you explain that?

Speaking of extra sensory perception, I’m using caramel Hershey kisses this year.

The only problem now is that I feel guilty. No–not for resisting my moms dictatorial recipe. But because my perfectionist personality is pretty positive that with all these changes to order and decor, I cannot claim to have baked my mom’s cookies after all.

What kind of son have I become!?

Just Humming Along

He whistled loudly as they approached the grocery store.

“What song are you whistling, Daddy?” H- begged.

My Favorite Things,” he answered.

“Oh,” she said, not familiar with the tune.

“All aboard!” he called, signaling it was time for her to hop on the front of the cart if she was going to.

He watched and heard her begin an open mouth hum as she attempted to demonstrate her own Christmas spirit notwithstanding a deficit in whistling ability. Chuckling, he pushed the cart into the store and began searching for beautiful women whom he could make smile with the assistance of his little helper.

“I said humming to town,” H- said, laughing innocently as congestion in the baking aisle halted their progress.

“What’s that?” he asked.

H- then proceeded to hum the chorus of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Afterward she again giggled and said, “I said humming!”

Squinting and with a cocked head, he looked at her in disbelief and thought, “Surely she knows when she hums no one hears the words?”

“Oh yeah?” he quickly said before the moment passed.

Progressing now to the cereal aisle, another repeat of the chorus was followed by, “That time I said coming.” More humming and another laughing explanation. “I said humming again!”

“Man, I can’t believe they don’t have any corn flakes.”

“Santa is probably humming to the reindeer as they pull his sleigh,” she said thoughtfully, unconcerned with the moment’s dilemma.

“What?” he asked, rising from the crouched position where he had just verified the awful truth that he’d have to get creative to make the cookies.

“I said,” she labored, “Santa is probably humming to the reindeer.”

“A wordsmith is born,” he thought smiling, unable to hide his pride.

Pizza

But what is it?

Not just bread and cheese and sauce, no.  This meal fit for God himself is so much more.

It is the sound of the loveliest doorbell.  It is the acceptable apology for the mealtime “oops!”  It is the welcoming party when the vacation ends.

It is the taste of summertime birthdays.  It is the texture of picking which movie to watch first.  It is the height of soda can towers.

It is the singing clock’s twelve chimes reminding all that Friday is gone.   It is the placing of a small hand into a big one.  It is the compromise between parents and children.

It is soda’s groom.

It is breakfast.  It is lunch.  It is dinner.  It is the substance of every moment in between.

It is nourishment.  And as nourishment, it is life itself.

Is it worthy of worship, this pizza?

Yes.  An unapologetic, unabashed, unable to understand yes.

The Lacking Ingredient

At first, like everyone, he was only slightly annoyed.  As time ticked on, however, his curiosity grew.  What made them such positive people?  After all, they could no longer eat bread.

He couldn’t live without bread.  Really, he couldn’t–he had checked.  Right on the Hot-n-Ready box it listed bread as an ingredient.  What could he possibly eat instead of pizza on weekends?  Next he lifted the stack of pizza boxes off the top of the trash can to retrieve the wrapping on his most recent McDouble; sure enough, the material encasing the all-beef patties and cheese was bread.  Even if he was able to find a pizza substitute, there is no way he could give-up his lunch and dinner staple.   Not finding ‘bread’ on his Canadian Hunter whiskey bottle, he thought he was in luck.  Nope.  Mr. Google decreed that ‘rye’ was another word for ‘bread’.

Flustered, he shouted to the night, “How do they do it?”  He couldn’t figure how the new wave of gluten-free eaters were able to stay so positive when life had handed them such a lemon.  Then it hit him.  Gluten itself must contain the answer.  “What even was gluten?” he wondered.  On his way to discovering its chemical signature he deduced the simple truth:  Gluten must contain a healthy amount of realism.  It had to.

Yep, life made sense again.  Until now, he had found himself unable to make sense of the situation.  He couldn’t believe that for the last year he had actually felt bad about himself when he was around glass-half-full gluten-free crowds.  With his discovery, though, he could remorselessly return to his simplistic worldview.  “Finally!” he exhaled, collapsing onto his couch.

Make no mistake, the afflicted’s resilience is remarkable.  It’s just that now he knew it wasn’t difficult to be positive–what with an ingredient lacking.

How To Ruin Food

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

“I really shouldn’t eat this, what with it containing 12 grams of saturated fat.  Oh well, I’ll put in extra time at the gym tonight,” he said scarfing down the burger.

“I know.  I really went overboard last weekend on the late night snacking.  I think I ate two entire bags of chips and salsa,” she replied in kind.

They continued this way for the duration of the time it took for them to wolf down other foods they shouldn’t eat because of words and numbers on the packaging.  I know because I was eating with them.  You see, they were my friends.  I hadn’t seen them in such a long time, and I had finally made time to grab a bite to catch up with them.  By the time the food–if we can even call it that anymore–was finished, I was able to ask, “So how’s life?  What have you been up to?”

“It’s good.  Really good.  Oh, but look at the time.  I really need to get going if I’m going to make it to the restaurant on time after work tonight.  I really need to stop eating out so much,” she said.

Instruction for How To Ruin Food

Step 1 – Believe that there is any relationship between nutritional facts and self-discipline.

Step 2 – State the relationship.

Step 3 – Repeat Step 2 until time runs out.