Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Domesticating SRM Round 1: Cookies
Growing up I never learned the every day stuff of keeping house. My mom didn't cook, didn't bake, etc. I grew up on McDonald's drive thru and thinking that steak had to be cooked to almost burnt before it was done. I wasn't taught laundry skills. To this day I still shove loads of clothes into my washer willy nilly, slap a bunch of detergent in there, sit on the lid to make sure it stays down, etc. I never had home ec class, to teach me how to sew, or balance checkbooks, or anything life skill-esque. And I NEVER learned how to bake cookies. Cookies from scratch in my language means grabbing the precut Tollhouse Cookie dough, warming up the oven and tossing it in.
My friend Sabra, on the other hand, is what I would call a domestic goddess. When I go over to her house, she is constantly puttering around in her kitchen making goodies from scratch. I fell in love with her all over again the day she made me home made strawberry scones. Usually I go to her house since her idea of clean is not mine. She likes to iron her curtains. I don't have curtains to begin with. I used to tell her she wasn't allowed over my house, but I've rescinded that decree as I love to watch her eyes gaze around my living area, and see what project she will offer to do for me. I haven't taken her up on any of them, but I love hearing what she will come up with next.
In the next few days I will be retiring from a volunteer management position at a moms support group. I've been managing promotions there for two years and it eats away at a lot of my free time. Knowing that I am nearing the end, I got this crazy idea that I need to learn something new. And thinking of Sabra I decided I wanted her to teach me how to bake from scratch. I don't know what drugs I was on when I came up with this crazy idea. But there has always been a part of me that has wanted to learn domestic stuff that many people take for granted. So many of the moms in this area bake cookies. I wanted to bake cookies too dammit! So I asked her and our mutual friend, Sarah (another cookie baker) to come over and let our kids destroy the house while they taught me how to bake.
I thought it would be a simple thing. You get flour, you get sugar, salt, butter, etc. Scoop the ingredients, mix them together, toss in the oven and voila! 30 minutes later home made cookies.
Holy hell was I totally off base!
Sabra brought over her Ipad with a "Simple" sugar cookie recipe. She thinks simple. I think you need a degree in rocket science (see whut I did thar, Sarah???) But they were the teachers, I the student, and so we started off.
The first thing I apparently did wrong was that I didn't read through the recipe ALL THE WAY before starting to get out the ingredients. Sarah asked if, when I put something together, like a book case, don't I read through the instructions first then go to square one? I said hell no! J usually puts those together, and when we do it as a team, we go step by step. I found out that was the wrong answer.
After reading the recipe ALL THE WAY through (and reading it aloud so they both knew I had, and to lovingly piss them off) I made my next mistake. When I went to get the flour, I scooped into the flour bag with my measuring cup. I kid you not, Sarah had a look of complete horror on her face and Sabra had to walk away from the kitchen. I noticed her consumption of coffee started ticking up by that point. She did refuse a shot of vodka to calm her nerves, but I think it was a near thing.
I learned you need to FLUFF flour, when you measure it. Not like you fluff a pillow (as I mentally thought of beating the flour bag as I do my pillow at night). No, you have to scoop little spoonfuls and shake it into the measuring cup. Because if you don't FLUFF your flour your cookies will taste like shit.
I learned you don't FLUFF your sugar or salt, but you do MASH your butter. Oh and I got reamed out for not having unsalted butter. We don't use real butter most of the time. We use margarine. I thought my two friends were going to die right there and then when they realized I didn't own any REAL butter. I mentally made sure I knew where my cell phone was in case I had to call 911 for a heart attack.
Then I learned I need to buy parchment paper. Because parchment paper ensures that whatever it is you're cooking wont stick to the pan. Between you and me, I don't even know what the hell parchment paper is. I toyed with the idea of asking if they wanted to use college lined paper instead of the tinfoil I had, but I was scared that by this time in my lessons, Sabra was going to come after me with the new rolling pin I bought, if I made any sarcastic comments.
The cookies came out decent, if I say so myself. They're edible. They didn't poison anyone. And the kids asked for seconds. I did notice that neither Sabra nor Sarah tried one. Hmmmm.
Next week we're going to make Turtle cookies, yay!!!!