Sunday, April 12, 2009

Five Black Bags & a Sad Ending

Back to work means the mornings are a mad-dash to get people dressed, brushed, lunches, shoes on, coats on, in the car, c'mon let's go!

Anyway, I never want to be half way to work and look in my mirror only to realize that I forgot to drop the kids at day care. Likewise, I don't want to be half-way to work and realize that I lef tthe computer with the baby and have a bag of bottles with me (I also just realized I spelled halfway three different ways in this paragraph...whatever).

So....I have this little counting ritual I do as I set off in the morning. I count my five black bags. And if I have all five when I pull out of the driveway, everything is going to be OK.
  • purse (including phone, keys, wallet)
  • milk bag with freezer pack to transport pumped milk home from work
  • laptop bag
  • bottle bag (containing 3 bottles, each with 4 to 5 ounces of hard won human milk)
  • Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced with handy shoulder bag

If I can count to FIVE, I'm stayin' ALIVE.

Speaking of Alive, my grandmother is no longer living. It's not terribly sad. Were she still with us, she'd be (hmmm, carrying the one) 96. She passed away in 1994 at the age of 81. She was pretty well up until about a year before her death, which is really quite good. I miss her.

Anyway, my point is my granmother could cook. She had several things that when I eat them, I think of her. Oh, and we always got to pick our own birthday dinner and she'd fix it for us. I always picked steak and sweet potatoes (she'd make filet mignon). The smoke detector always went off when she made it, but it was always perfect. I think her broiler and smoke detector were just having a turf war. She always served a salad course before dinner and she'd always tell us what was in her dressing (oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and "a pinch of sugar to cut the vinegar"). And for your birthday dessert, everyone chose angel food cake with Grandma frosting. And she'd tell us how she'd doctor up the store-bought cake mix to make it her own extra-special most awesome cake. And I say this part sobbing, "I cannot remember how she doctored up the cake mix so I can't make her cake and it's so good and I miss her." So, anyway, I decided I would make her cake for Easter since I was in charge of bringing dessert. I just made the angel food cake per the Duncan Hines directions. My instructions for the frosting are on a slip of paper and it says this:

1/2 cup milk

2T flour

Cook. Cool. Add:

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 pound butter

Not very descriptive is it? But I tried my best and improvised and the flavor was perfect, but the consistency was too thin, so I don't know what I am supposed to do...more butter, more flour, more sugar, less milk, cool it more, maybe cake flour, or granulated sugar instead of the powdered I used? No idea. And my cake was ugly. My grandmother's cakes were always attractive and even with a flat top and I have no idea how she did it. Angel food cake doesn't have a flat top so you can't set it upside-down and you can't frost it right-side-up, and I guess maybe she took a knife and evened it out, but I just don't know.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm open to trying to contact the dead if that's what it takes. Also, grandma always served the milk with dinner from a Blue Delft pitcher with a cow on it. She did not heft the plastic gallon up on the table. Grandma was a class act all the way. And I wish I had that pitcher.

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