(The following is the sixth in my new series, “Old Posts to Dredge out on Slow Weekends Because When I Posted Them Originally People Cared More About the Economy and World Peace Than My Blog.” Although nothing has changed, it’s the start of a slow weekend.)
It’s that time of year, again, when we discover that the flour we haven’t used since last December has weevils in it, and our recipe box is filled with restaurant carry out menus. Have no fear. If you are planning to bake anyway, here are several rules that are really important for baking success:
1. Read a recipe first and see what ingredients you still need before starting to bake. This will avoid the following when it is 3AM and you are already half way through the recipe:
“Oh no, I don’t have a cheesecloth/mandoline/rehruckenform!” or
“Oh no, I am out of sugar/flour/salt!” or
“What the hell is a rehruckenform?”
2. Make a list of needed items before you go to the store. Note: Your list will be useless you refer to #1 first.
3. Acquire a husband/partner who is either retired or unemployed and who owns a bicycle/scooter/motorcycle and who can zip off numerous times to get ingredients that weren’t on your shopping list because you didn’t refer to #1 first.
4. Remember to thank husband/partner when he returns with the needed item instead of yelling “Oh, shit!” as he walks in the door because you see another item you need, because you didn’t refer to #1 first.
5. Items of same color cannot be used for substitutions, just because you didn’t refer to #1 first and because your husband/partner is taking a nap after his fourth trip to the store. This item is especially critical when the items are not only the same color but also the same consistency. Baking powder will not give the same results as powdered sugar, no matter how much you want it to.
6. Calibrate your oven before starting. This has absolutely nothing to do with #1, but will assist your baking and might provide you with a big laugh over the discrepancy between what your oven thinks it is doing and what it is really doing. Hopefully, the big laugh will occur before you bake, rather than while your guests are eating dessert.
7. Make sure oven door hinges work properly. This will prevent the door coming off or opening in a way that prevents it from ever closing again. If this happens, wake up husband/partner and scream “Oh shit! The oven door came off again!” He may or may not assist, but the cat that is sleeping on his head might eventually come in to investigate.
8. Thank everyone graciously when they shower you with accolades at the gathering where you have provided truly world-class desserts. If necessary, step on husband/partner’s foot to prevent him from speaking. Also thank your neighbor for lending her oven after your oven door fell off.
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