In 2018, I Will Master the Art of Baking

My Dad was such a great cook.  A Sunday pot roast would smell up the whole downstairs for the entire day.  My Mom was a great baker.  And, like all parents of my generation, she let us lick the batter off the beaters and spoon.  I am a great microwavist.  I mean, I know the exact time for cooking everything and anything in the microwave.  That takes skill.

Now that I’ve mastered microwaving, I’ve set a new goal of mastering baking:

Pumpkin Loaf BreadI am off to a good start, as I made my Mom’s Pumpkin Bread Loaf.  Even though it was her recipe, it didn’t taste as good when I made it.  I am convinced that she added a secret ingredient; although my Sister says, “the trick is in the timing for baking it.”  Then again, one of my Mom’s girlfriends swears, “the missing ingredient is LOVE!”  Well, at least my first dive into baking this loaf wasn’t as dramatic as it was for my youngest Sister.  She mistook baking soda for coca cola.  That resulted in one wet, runny, gooey pumpkin loaf at the 1st Thanksgiving we tried to cook for our family after Mom’s accident.

The 1988 Thanksgiving disaster involved more mistakes than just the pumpkin loaf.  There was also a major cooking blunder.  Let me tell you about that:

On Thanksgiving 1988, my youngest Sister and I were shopping at Klein’s in Forest Hill, Maryland.  Between the 2 of us, we had $99 (in 1 dollar bills and coins).  When we got to the cashier, the bill came to $99.33.  The cashier was visibly annoyed with me, because I just counted a bunch of change (holding up her line).  She wouldn’t budge on the 33 cents that I still owed, so I held up her line even longer to get change from my car.  I came back with 32 cents, and the cashier still wouldn’t let us go.  So, a person behind us in line gave us a penny.

On Thanksgiving day, we somehow managed to catch the turkey on fire.  It was completely in flames.  My Sister and I started crying, because we wanted to make this meal special for our Mom.  I mean, she spent almost 2 years in the hospital, trying to get stabilized from a head injury and paralysis.  The doctors didn’t have much success, and we knew our Mom was depressed that she could no longer do the things she once did (like bake or cook).

Well, we carved up that charred turkey, anyway.  And you know what?  The meat was cooked perfectly, and was so tender.  No one else knew that we burned the turkey, and my Mom had a great feast.

Interestingly, those baking disasters felt bittersweet in 1988, but are a great story when told 30 years later.

Lastly, for those who reference the past by songs, my favorite song that Thanksgiving was Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine.”