since our local mayor issued a COVID-19 shelter-in-place-and-go-completely-cocoa
bananas order, my family and I have found ourselves cooking more than
we have for our entire lives. We've even been following recipes and
using the actual stove/oven thingy, much to the relief of our exhaustipated
microwave. And considering the Mad Max-wasteland conditions in the
"cooking-stuff-from-scratch" aisle at Walmart, we aren't the only
It all started on the first night of quarantine when we all got tired
of sitting around and staring at our iPhones while drooling into our
belly buttons. We decided it was time to lift our spirits and get
the nuts since my three daughters didn't want to ruin the experience
by including something natural and healthy.
Because these were the first cookies we had made in a while that didn't
start out in a refrigerated tube, we had to locate the ingredients.
After rifling through the bowels of our pantry, we found some prehistoric
flour, Crisco, baking soda and vanilla extract-the remnants of a sad
attempt at making Christmas cookies a few months ago. I'm not sure
whether any of it was expired, but it didn't stink or fight back,
so I assumed it was ok.
We had plenty of chocolate morsels-thanks to my middle daughter regularly
adding them to the grocery list so she can hide in a closet with a
bag of morsels larger than her head, a serving spoon, and a jar of
creamy Jif to binge on her own twisted version of Reese's Peanut Butter
Cups. (Ok, that's me, but I'm pretty sure she does it, too.)
The cookies were delicious, including the ones that we actually baked.
And we're hoping to get all of the flour out of our clothes and hair
before school starts next fall. The cookies were so addictive, in
fact, that we've had to resist making them too often and have managed
to cut it down to a couple of batches per day.
After we had rocked the Nestle? Tollhouse, I decided to try my hand
at the deep magic of Grandma's old-fashioned pound cake. I never really
understood why it's called "pound cake" until I saw that the recipe
calls for enough ingredients to support the American farming industry
for the foreseeable future. I actually felt guilty while I was cracking
the required number of eggs, like I was back in junior high vandalizing
somebody's front windows-not that I ever did that-not even to that
cute girl who wouldn't go to the movies with me to watch "Meatballs
Despite following the recipe right down to the last shipping container
of pure cane sugar, my pound cake clung to the Bundt pan like that
infernal "Dance Monkey" song that's been stuck in my melon for the
past three weeks. We tried everything to get the cake to turn loose-steaming
it, freezing it, threatening to make it watch Joe Exotic's music videos.
Finally, I just gave up and gouged out the cake in chunks, until I
wound up with a heap of freshly-baked wreckage. I was so disappointed
in the disgraceful presentation that I could only bring myself to
eat three servings that night after supper.
Despite a few mishaps, I've thoroughly enjoyed regularly trashing
the kitchen with my wife and daughters to get my mind off the COVID-19
crisis. There's just something about sitting around a table loaded
down with dangerous levels of homemade carbohydrates that brings a
family closer together. And even though I still can't call myself
the Rembrandt of baked goods, at least I can pretend to be Mad Max
when I go to Walmart for more Crisco.