Everyday this week I had been thinking it was Wednesday. Wednesday finally came and I thought it was Thursday. Wednesday is, of course, Baking Day. Feeling out of sorts, I had no intentions of tooling about with fires and kitchen utensils, but after I got there I decided to take care of my month long craving for cranberry scones.
The scones were set aside, yet again, and I made cranberry cream cheese muffins. Quite the consolation prize! (In fact, I am eating one now. So good...)
As often (and I mean OFTEN) happens during baking day, someone finds that an ingredient is missing, or I forget to bring something to take things home in or just something happens that sends me back to my house. It is not unusual for me to walk back and forth between Caren and I's homes 3-5 times a Baking Day. I tell myself it's good exercise but it really does get exhausting.
During one of my errand home I saw one of my neighbors outside and learned that he had pneumonia. His wife had recently had back surgery and they are an older couple. I text Aaron the news who asked if they needed dinner. I had already thought the same thing and grabbed a bowl of beans from the fridge and some meat from the freezer.
"I'm going to make chili beans for the neighbor. I had started to make the beans a couple of days ago but they never finished cooking!"
"Beans take a long time to cook and at this altitude it takes even longer. The boiling point is higher," Laurel explained. "This is why I usually just buy canned beans."
"I do too actually but the other day I was remembering how I would come home and the whole house would smell yummy because my mom was cooking beans. Aaron had bought a huge bag of pinto beans in case we ever got snowed in and so I decided to cook them. I soaked them and I boiled them for about 6 hours and they are still not cooked. Do you think I can finish them up today?"
"Oh, yeah. That should work!"
So I set them up on the stove. I figured in an hour or two they should be done. I mean they had already cooked for half a day!
My muffins turned out great and everyone else's goodies were coming along magnificently. It came time that everyone had to leave to pick up children or what not. My beans were still not done and so I would be staying to wait them out. Stacey's orange pound cakes had not finished baking and so she left me with instructions for attending to them.
"They just have a little bit of time left on them. When the timer goes off, if you wouldn't mind, checking them with a toothpick. I'll be back later to pick my stuff up," Stacey said as she headed out the door.
No problem, right? Boiling beans and baking pound cake. The hard part was done and now the oven and stove top would do the rest. I occupied myself with doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. The beans had been boiling for about 2 hours so I spooned one out to check if it was done. When I cut it with a fork it was crumbly.
Then Stacey called:
"There should still be a little time left on those cakes," she said as I opened the oven to check on them.
"They look gorgeous! One in the back looks a little dark....should I rotate them?"
"Yeah, if you wouldn't mind. Also, you might cover it with foil so it does not brown any further."
I got off the phone with Stacey and set to rotating the cakes. When I pulled the brown one out it sort of tipped. The inside was not cooked AT ALL and the batter poured out of the top of the cake and all over Caren's oven.
"No! No! Crap, crap, crap!" I cursed and fussed while I got a rubber spatula to try and scoop up what had spilled and put it back into the cake. I then covered the ruined pound cake with foil and then tried to clean up the oven. There was batter down in the crack of the door. I took some paper towels and tried to wipe it out.
All I could think of was that Stacey wanted one gluten free cake. I was pretty sure this was the gluten free one since it was the only one turning out differently. The one gluten free one and I spilled it. I spilled it all over Caren's oven, who is probably ready to kick me out of her kitchen because her cookbooks, appliances and work places all bare evidence of my being there.
I checked the beans again. Still not done.
I returned to clean up.
I was cleaning one of Caren's very sharp knives with the rainbow handles (you Baking Day girls know what I'm talking about) as I went to return it to the knife block I tripped. Luckily I did not fall to the floor. I righted myself and laughed as I put the knife away.
Oh now wouldn't that have been the best? I can just imagine Caren coming home to find me dead on her kitchen floor. Which would be more disturbing...that I was dead or that her good knife was ruined? Ha ha! Oh I hope that if that had really happen that the girls would all laugh at my funeral! "Baking Day did her in!"
The timer went off on the pound cakes but they were still a gooey mess inside. The beans were still not done either. I fought tears because I seemed to be cursed in the kitchen. I don't even have to do anything but be near the cooking food and it will be guaranteed to be foiled! (And I don't me with aluminum.)
No good deed goes unpunished, I thought as I stared into the pot of boiling beans.
Caren finally got home and I got out of that kitchen as soon as I could. She would call me when the beans were done so I could add the other ingredients and take them to our ailing neighbor.
Once home I declared to Aaron that I was done with Baking Day.
"I'll just go sit and have tea while they bake but I'm not cooking anymore!"
"Yes you are."
"When are y'all making tamales?"
*Silence and a knowing look*
"I'll make tamales and THAT will be my last week."
And there is more to tell....