Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Isn't That Special

Some days I should really just quit while I’m ahead. Of course that would require being ahead at some point…

Last night, while making dinner, I tripped over a cloth grocery sac on the kitchen floor that hadn’t made its way back onto the hook, and—surprise!—there was something squishy in there. Week-old bananas. Neato. Now, you might think gross at the thought of mushy, almost rotten bananas, but I think banana bread. I mean, you’re supposed to use the brown ones, right?

Since it had been a while since S and I had baked anything together (I’ve been working on limiting the cupcakes after all, boo), I thought this would be a perfect project for us.

So this morning, after getting N down for her nap, S and I began the delightful process of baking. This entailed her making an enormous mess on a tray with flour, water, sprinkles, and some spices, while helping me count out the measures in the real recipe. The first fail was that I had no baking soda. After referencing the all-knowing Interwebs, I decided I could use double the amount of baking powder and call it good.

Baby N woke up just as I was adding in the last ingredients, so I cracked the eggs and did the mixing one-handed. (Note to husband: if you find a crunchy piece in there, that would be eggshell—sorry about that).

S was done messing for the moment, so we all went into the living room to play while the oven heated up. After a few minutes I went to check the temp, only to find thick gray smoke swirling around the kitchen. A vision of last night came back to me in a flash—the gooey, drippy macaroni and cheese that had bubbled over the casserole dish onto the oven floor. A mess I didn’t clean up—first, because I was starving and it was dinnertime; second, because after dinner I watched The Bachelorette (btw, Bentley is coming back next week, WTH?!), then got sucked into Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition (very touching); and third, because even though I had forgotten about it by then, I would be lying if  I said I would actually clean the oven at ten o’clock at night. Stranger things have happened, but not in my house. 

I was faced with a dilemma. I could 1) wait an hour or so until the oven cooled down, clean it (with my two little helpers underfoot) and then bake the banana bread, 2) take the batter to my parents’ house and cook it there, or 3) shove it in the oven, thereby burning off the cheesy gook at the same time. The first option would probably have been the wisest, but I’m lazy and also impatient (great qualities in a parent), so that was out. The second option required getting us all dressed and out the door with our numerous baby accessories plus the batter in tow—no, thanks. So I went with number 3.

Bad choice. The acrid smoke had spread to the dining room with no signs of stopping. I raced around, opened all the windows and doors, grabbed the timer and baby N, and ushered S outside.

“Let’s play in the dirt!”

She looked doubtful. S usually loves playing outside, but it was late morning, June, and New Mexico, which equals 90+ degrees outside with little shade. Good thing banana bread only has to bake for. . . an hour.

Meanwhile, S was wearing nothing but her pajama top and undies, N had a wet diaper, and I was hungry. Ni modo. There was more smoke in that house than a low-rider clambake, and we weren’t going back in until it was clear.

(Why didn’t I turn off the oven, you ask? Add ‘stubborn’ to my fine list of characteristics.)

S adapted pretty quickly, but the poor thing kept begging me to play Tag or Hide-and-Seek with her, both of which would require not sitting on my butt in the one small square of shade. We eventually settled on “Let’s see how many laps S can run around the yard” which I narrated, racetrack style.

Finally, the timer dinged and we all went back inside. The banana bread turned out okay…but it’s been a few hours and my baby’s head still smells like the inside of a pizza oven.

Lessons learned: put away your groceries, clean up your messes, and don’t bake in the summer!

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