Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Day of Disorganized Cooking

I just finished reading Julie and Julia: A Year of Cooking Dangerously. In case you haven't heard of the book or the movie, it's about a secretary in New York City who decides to add some spice in her life by cooking her way through Julia Child's masterpiece: Mastering the Art of French Cooking (or something like that).

I'd give the book a B-/C+. I get the book's premise, Julie was 29, unhappy at work and cooking her way through this cookbook and blogging about it gave her a purpose and helped her discover a new passion: writing. But I never really cared about her journey. And frankly, I didn't think the writer successfully got across her growth.

But this book has got me thinking. What would it be like if I blogged about food? Everyday in my kitchen is a day of cooking dangerously. Or at least cooking adventurously. Or may be it's just cooking in a disorganized fashion. I try so hard to be organized, but it never fails I leave an ingredient off the shopping list or someone eats the main ingredient before I use it or I forget to defrost something before I leave for work or I get home and find the kids are munching on Taco Bell, because they were so starving they couldn't wait. So in honor of the book, here's my food blogger entry, because as hard as I try, the perfect family dinner is as elusive as the perfect school morning. But I can always dream.

For Christmas, I got a brand new bread maker. I've always wanted one. Just the thought of the bulky bread maker sitting on my counter brings on fantasies of the aroma of fresh baked bread hitting me as I walk in from work. Somehow, if only I could make fresh bread, I'd be not only a better person, but a better mother. I'd be feeding my children something without preservatives or other chemicals: just flour, water, yeast and a little sugar. Any mother worth her salt wants to feed her children home made bread over store bought bread as often as possible and this bread maker was my ticket to that higher tier of motherhood.

As I was running out the door this morning, I put on my first batch of bread. I set the delay timer so it would be done right at 5:30pm. Then, I patted myself on the back so hard my shoulder ached, because we were going to have fresh bread for dinner, thanks to my brilliant planning. See, I could ice skate with the kids all day in SF and still feed them something fresh baked when we got home. Martha Stewart will be calling me for tips oh how to do it all, I thought as I closed the front door.

The whole way home from the city the kids and I talked about the bread. We were going to smell it as soon as we walked in. Dinner was going to be simple: left over chicken, fresh bread and fruit. We could dip the bread in the sauce from the chicken. Yum. We could slather it with butter. May be it would be so good we didn't need butter or sauce. Yum. Yum. We were all excited. My heart even raced a little as I opened the door and drew a deep breath. I smelled pine, some remnants of last night's chicken and nothing else. I ran to the bread maker and peered into the top window. It was ugly. It worked, but not right. The bottom half of the loaf was a dense mass of pastry, the top half was unblended flour. No fluffy white loaf to dip in our tomato sauce. No call from Martha. I was still just a disorganized, forgetful mother. I could see the shame written all over the kids faces.

How could this be? I followed the directions, measured carefully, heck, I even made a little well for the yeast. What could have gone wrong? Then I noticed it: The basket was crooked. I hadn't snapped it into place. I think I heard one of the girls softly whimper as I dumped the mess into the trash. Dinner ended up being a breadless affair: can of soup and a couple of quesadillas. I let the kids eat in front of the television. Really, how could I get passionate about the food when in fact, it was just a typical dinner? Perhaps I'll try it again. Now, I just need to remember to add flour to the shopping list.


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