Thursday, February 12, 2009
PUT DOWN THE SPATULA
Fred Astaire was a good dancer. Michael Phelps is a good swimmer. And Grace, (13) is a good baker. She likes to bake when she's stressed or when she's bored. When you are 13 you are almost always stressed or bored. There is not much in between. That is why you will find homemade (I'm talking from scratch) cakes, cookies, or cupcakes in our house at all times.
She is very good at this. Apparently the baking gene skips two generations because although my Grandma Zimmerman and Jeff's Grandma Gebert were expert bakers, our own mothers are just adequate (sorry moms, no offense intended). I am not even adequate. I am an inadequate baker, in fact. But Grace seems to have gotten the family gift that lay buried for so many years.
Once she starts there is no stopping her. She decides to bake; she goes to the internet and finds a recipe (with a picture, it has to have a picture); she begins to bake; and a few hours later, (in addition to a pile of incredibly dirty dishes in the sink), we have yet another delectable masterpiece. She is never deterred by little things like lack of ingredients. If she finds we are out of vanilla extract (a frequent occurrence) she will get on her bike and go to the corner store and get vanilla extract (or powdered sugar or whatever it is we are missing).
This is a delightful and charming hobby of course. But it is not delightful and charming to watch us all balloon up like a backwards version of "Biggest Loser".
So we had to put our foot down. No baking for a few months, Grace!
This is driving her crazy. She has tried to take her mind off her hobby. She even went so far as to sew a purse but that did not satisfy her need to bake.
Grace: Please let me bake.
Me: NO! You have a problem. You need to find something unconstructive to do like normal teenagers. Go spend time with your virtual friends on Facebook or something.
Grace: Just one little lemon meringue pie?
Me: Okay, but you'll have to take it to the neighbor's house again.
Last Saturday, Jeff and I went out to dinner. When we got home the kitchen was suspiciously clean. Usually, when we come home after a night out the counters are littered with dishes and pizza boxes. But not last Saturday. I snooped around and my worst fears were confirmed. She had tried to hide the evidence by cleaning up for a change but she had overlooked an egg beater I found in the sink.
"WHO HAS BEEN BAKING?!" I roared, holding the evidence high.
Grace looked sheepish, "Me. Just a little."
I opened the refrigerator and there it was! It was worse than I expected. Chocolate mousse pie.
"Hey, there was no pie crust in the freezer," I said accusingly.
She had to admit extent of her crime. "Yes, I know. I made a homemade pie crust too."
My God what am I going to do with this delinquent?
She promised she'd try harder and she has done pretty well. She went four whole days but last night as she paced the kitchen, eyeing the pantry shelf where we keep her baking ingredients I finally gave in.
"Okay, fine. Make something for Valentine's Day but you'd better take most of it to the neighbors."
Which is why I just had two chocolate cupcakes (made from scratch including the frosting) for my lunch.
I suppose an intervention is in order. I'm just not sure if it should be for me or for Grace.