Monday, December 17, 2007

Only I could do this

People. Do not try this at home. I’m serious – this takes a trained professional. Not that I am actually trained, but I am experienced, which makes up for years and years of professional training.

Because my head is cracked, I get all kinds of crazy ideas leaking into my brain. Yesterday, I decided that what I wanted to do was bake.

It was one of those deals that seems perfectly reasonable when you start off and then suddenly you realize that you are, in fact, a lunatic and probably need some kind of intervention.

So I started off the day by noticing that we needed more bread. I had my niece and nephew staying with us this weekend, so we had managed to pretty much chew through two loaves of bread in about the first eighteen seconds they were here.

Making your own bread has a perilous pitfall attached, which I like to call the “what else can I do while I’ve got these ovens on?” syndrome. Generally speaking if we are out of bread, we are also out of cookies.

Sure enough, the cookie jar was empty (having six children around will do that) (seven, if you count the husband) (and really…we should). So I took out two sticks of butter to soften while I began tossing flour and stuff into the KitchenAid bowl. The KitchenAid is next to the fruit bowl, and in the fruit bowl I noticed a pair of overripe bananas. (Daylight come and we wanna go hooooome…)

OBVIOUSLY, I need to do “something” with the bananas. OBVIOUSLY, I need to make banana bread. (Another stick and a half of butter hits the counter.)

When I opened the cupboard for the honey to feed the yeast in my bread, a can of pumpkin fell on my head. @*^&@ can of pumpkin. I’m so sick of this can falling out of there…and also that evaporated milk I found during the last cupboard purge is almost expired…I’m gonna make me a pie.

Those of you keeping track at home will note that I have now got the following projects going:

Minding six children – two of them toddlers who like Christmas ornaments. FOR LUNCH.
Sandwich bread
Chocolate chip cookies
Banana bread
Pumpkin pie

As I was making the pie, I got this demon-inspired great idea.

I always make the same kind of cookies. They are always either chocolate chip, oatmeal, or snickerdoodles – drop cookies, spoon up the dough and drop ‘em on the sheet, bake and you’re done.

But I never do refrigerator cookies. You know, the kind where you put the dough in the fridge for a few years and then roll it out and cut it into shapes or whatever?

You know what would be fun?

Well. Buying them at the store. THAT might be fun. There’s this bakery on Market Street right by the Montgomery BART station in San Francisco that makes these awesome butter cookies…see, THAT might be fun. Daytrip into the city, a little shopping, a little dim-sum, and then going into that bakery (the name of which escapes me) for a dozen (or so) of those delicious, buttery sugar cookies with their happy little colored sugar decorations.

But deciding to go ahead and change my mind and make spiced refrigerator cookies turned out to be one of the less fun things I did this weekend.

When the time came and the dough was ‘thoroughly chilled’, I dutifully began using my small ice cream scoop (a.k.a., my coffee scoop) to scoop out perfect little balls of dough, which I then rubbed to smoothness between my hands, dropped onto my parchment-lined cookie sheet (geesh, these things are high-maintenance to make) and then squashed into a circle with a glass.

I hadn’t even gotten the first sheet done when I was already saying to myself, “Oh yeah. THIS is why I only do drop-style cookies…”

But it was on the second sheet that I proved once again, that I am without equal in the Stupid Injuries category.

I was pushing down on the glass to squash the cookie, and I felt a little ‘pop’ in my right index finger. Just a little pop. And I said, “Ow”, but without any real feeling because it was more of a ‘ow?’ than an ‘ow!’.

A few cookies further in I said, “Wait, OW. What the…” and I looked at my finger.

It was turning purple and swelling vigorously.

I said…well, I said a few more choice words. And I stood there and watched my finger swell. It was swelling that fast, I could actually see it inflating like a balloon. And it was turning the most intriguing shade of purple.


I could…pack up the kids on that overcast Sunday, drive their still-hyper-from-yesterday’s-party butts (I do believe that my niece actually drank cookie frosting, straight from the tube) to the ER with me, and then we could all sit and wait and wait and wait and wait for someone to look at my obviously not going to kill me finger so they could tell me to take an Advil and put some ice on it.

Or I could call my husband’s cell phone and leave a message, so that when he got off stage at the Dickens Fair and immediately checked for messages IN CASE because he is so doting a mate (snort!) (seriously, I would be better off calling one of my girlfriends who also work that fair), and then he could Rush Home so that I could take my finger to the ER and wait alone and wait alone and wait alone and wait alone until someone got a second to look at my obviously not going to kill me finger so they could tell me to take an Advil and put some ice on it.

I knew I’d be waiting forever, because going to the ER with a non-life-threatening emergency is exactly the same as putting strychnine into the water supply. It actually causes heart attacks, major appendage amputations caused by freak gardening accidents, and other horrible things to happen to people within a fifty mile radius of the hospital.

I’m serious.

I have documented proof.

SO! In keeping with my mission statement to do whatever fool thing I want as long as I don’t hurt anybody, I decided to nobly stay away from the ER, take some Vicodin and perhaps a lemon-drop martini or two Advil, put ice on it, and worry myself sick for a while in the comfort of my own home.

So I did.

It raged up like a balloon…and then just as swiftly deflated (perhaps my skin has holes in it?). Last night before bed, I had some angry purple streaks and a very touch-tender underside on that finger.

This morning, I have what looks like a three or four day old burn (!) and it only hurts when I poke at it good and hard.

You know, to see if it still hurts? C’mon, doesn’t everybody do that?!


I think I am the only person I know who has ever sprained a finger while making sugar-spice cookies.

It is a talent, a (fortunately) rare talent.

…and then people wonder why I do NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, want to own an electric carving knife…


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness...(laughing helplessly)...I thought I was the only one who did this sort of thing! Are you sure we aren't related somehow? Gotta watch out for those dang refrigerator cookies, they're mean little suckers!

Anonymous said...

I just love your blog Tama. I do this also, except I usually have some sort of obligation that requires me to walk out the door in an hour or so. There's just nothing like being sabotaged by your own brain.

Kris said...

Hmmm, I guess this means that the 3 batches of cookies that were started at 7 pm last night weren't entirely crazy. Good to know.

Science PhD Mom said...

Aha! The baking bug bit you too!! I am nobly resisting the last vestiges of it, which had me contemplating the old dates in my fruit/nut basket and thinking, "I should make some coconut date cookies..." I quickly shut down THAT train of thought! Yep, I'm not going to succumb to THAT again, after my four hour bakefest on Saturday...yep...I wonder if I have enough butter for those cookies...

RM Kahn said...

Drank the icing.... oh dear... maybe I need to have a talk with those sitters I hired?

Now on to the sprained finger.... OMG... you deserve a vacation more than anyone I know. You poor thing.. and yes, I would have RUSHED to your home in an hour flat if needed.

After all the pre-party work, baking, rolling, scooping, I have lost the holiday baking bug. Of course on Christmas Eve, my child and husband will wonder where are the cookies?

Anonymous said...

It's a Christmas thing. Like we don't have enough stress from present wrapping, present hiding, tree decorating, child wrangling and all the stuff we cope with everyday like laundry and trying not to lock ourselves into a cupboard to rock back and forth and hope everyone goes away and leaves us alone! But no. We have to add baking, just to truly torture ourselves.

In the last week I have made two loaves of fruit bread, burnt two christmas cakes for a dinner party (we cut off the burnt bits, doused them in brandy and ate them with custard. I find custard disguises all the burnt offerings so well. And really, custard improves everything!) and three dozen chocolate chip cookies for the daycare christmas party that I forgot about until midnight the night before. Then I made a batch which I removed from the oven with BARE hands (because I was tired and cross and just a bit stupid really) and promptly dropped and smashed the lot all over the kitchen floor.

It is at times like that that I am glad I am shacked up with the kind of man who will sit on the kitchen floor with a crying frazzled woman and help her to eat the evidence of her disasters.

I'm finding cosmopolitans are helping enormously with the Christmas stress now though!

Yarnhog said...

See? This is why I don't bake. Much too dangerous.

Also, I once witnessed an accident with an electric meat slicer. Turned me vegetarian for three whole years.

Anonymous said...

Love it. I'm still cleaning up this morning's frenzy of producing 27 pints of Christmas Salsa. Yes, salsa. DH's family are all baking/canning/anything related to kitchen production impaired, and they love my salsa like nothing else on earth. So my annual tradition is making salsa to the strains of the Nutcracker Suite. If the smell of peppers has dissipated by tomorrow, I'm making fudge and keeping it all for myself.

Last weekend, my husband, on the other hand, made roughly 300 gingerbread cookies for the neighbors. He is the king of cookie cutters.

Anonymous said...

for the record I do check my phone.. during the day, and I would have scooted him out the door in a hot second.

MadMad said...

Hahahaha! OMG - so funny. Is there any chance you're me? But like, in California? I do this stuff all the time.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I thought my baking spree was intense. It was nothing compared to this!

You should have just went for pumpkin cookies *lol*.

Kate said...

I lol'd...and not just because that's a very 'me' thing to do. But also, because I was literally JUST THIS MINUTE about to get up and mix some refrigerator dough--sugar cookies, to be precise. Because I, who am out of my ever-loving mind, have decided that what better thing to give to a classroom full of keyed-up, pre-winter-break preschoolers, than sugar?

Oh, and while we're at it, let's have them ice the cookies themselves.

Did I mention I'm the TEACHER? Yeesh. Somebody take away any nearby sharp objects.