There was that time when I bought the REALLY expensive chicken by accident.
$75+ worth of On-Sale, free-range, raised-with-classical-music-in-the-barn-and-wearing-knitted-chicken-sweaters kind of chicken, instead of the On-Sale chicken for the non-fancy-pants folks.
So, I can’t be trusted in the grocery store.
Now, we have an excess of sour cream: in fact, an entire, unopened container, ready to expire.
Doesn’t that sound perilous? “Ready to expire”.
Refrigerator products are so melodramatic.
Anyhoo, I thought I could be trusted. In fact, I felt rather like Ma in Little House on the Prairie when I had a light bulb moment this evening about the nearly-dead dairy product.
I know, I thought. I’ll make Grandma Helen’s coffee cake.
She used to feed it to us for special breakfasts and it’s all brown-sugary and sour-cream-donut-y and NOT CHOCOLATE, so clearly suitable for breakfast because that’s a rule.
I rushed off on a surge of pride to tell Practical Man as these Ma-in-Little-House-frugal moments are rare from me. Grandma Helen’s coffee cake has lots of sour cream in it and would use up most of the almost-at-the-pearly-gates container.
While Practical Man was doing the garbage/recycling in the garage (and no doubt marveling at my frugal brilliance), I made my usual mess in the kitchen.
In addition to flour on the floor, nuts behind the canisters, and butter up my arm, while whipping up the batter, I managed to lift it out of the bowl to “clean” the beaters and they sprayed batter all over the entire world. There was some in my eyebrow, some on the backsplash, some on Mars, I’m pretty sure. And, it’s a sticky batter, this sour-cream extravaganza.
As in: not easily remedied before certain people come in from the garage.
But, I got that sorted (I think – this will explain the weird blobs you see on our light fixtures a few months from now) and grabbed the one-foot-in-the-grave, but un-opened sour cream container from the fridge.
I opened it and stopped short.
It looked funny.
White, like sour cream.
But, also not.
Kind of chunky.
Maybe it had already gone off?
Or, maybe, maybe, maybe…
I realized with a sudden taste of sour dairy in my mouth,
it was not drama-queen sour cream
highly-tricky-and-well-disguised-all-except-for-the-dastardly-label-oh-please-say-this-happens-to-you-too-won’t-you, COTTAGE CHEESE.
This is precisely, almost exactly like that time I was wondering why the ginger we had frozen in the freezer was so uncooperatively melty when I was trying to grate it.
(It was blobs of frozen garlic puree, hardy-har-har).
I have worked at an institute for higher learning for nearly 25 years. Honest.
Luckily, Practical Man had brought home a new container of sour cream this very evening.
So, instead of using up excess sour cream, I had to use brand-new sour cream so now, we have to buy some more.
And, I have to figure out what to do with on-its-last-breath cottage cheese.
I’m pretty sure I can’t be trusted though.
The cake is really good.
I had a birthday recently.
Hurray for cake! It is always a good day when there’s cake.
That was a statement, not an opinion poll. Please avert your eyes if you are cake-averse.
Also, I’m not sure we can continue to be friends.
It was a fairly garden-variety birthday. That is, not one of the “big” ones with zeros in them. More like halfway to one of the big ones.
The Ministry of Transportation wrote to tell me that I owed them money for my license plate renewal.
And my mother called to tell me that she felt old on account of my birthday.
Even though it wasn’t one of the big ones.
And, my friend, Freckles, (who is weeks away from halfway to her next big one) said Happy Birthday by asking me if I realized that it had been 30 years since we had first met.
This was somewhat distressing to me because I distinctly remember having pimples that day.
So then, I felt old on account of my birthday.
Not that old is bad. I am a fairy godmother-in-training and I can’t wait to have silvery hair. I think it’s magical and more conducive to spontaneous tra-la-la.
Maybe by the time I get to the next big birthday, my hair will be more magical (and less uncooperative personality disorder).
And, you wouldn’t know that I’m barely half way to one of the big ones by the way Practical Man tries to wind me up while we’re in stores. He thinks putting the SILVER (geriatric) Vitamins For Women in our cart is hilarious.
I can’t believe we’re spending hard-earned dosh on vitamins in the first place–let alone gender-focused ones that target silly things like bone strength instead of helping me hide at least one of my chins.
Why not spend that money on cake, I ask?
Okay, so maybe that’s why.
Anyway, I like to retaliate for his vitamin gag by deviating from the approved grocery list.
I throw things in the cart when he isn’t paying attention.
Reckless things that aren’t on sale or for which WE DO NOT POSSESS A COUPON!
All is fair in love and shopping with your sweetie, especially when it’s your birthday.
Even if it’s not a big one.
In our household, we often joke that we have a role reversal going. Case in point: I spent one sunny, Saturday afternoon rummaging through a junkyard with my friend, Trevor.
When I returned home, dusty, with a heart and camera full of rusty, tree-entwined vintage vehicles, the glorious smell of baking bread wafted out to greet me…as did my amused husband who had been home slaving over a hot oven all day. If that doesn’t describe a perfect day, then I don’t know what does.
My husband drew the line at wearing one of my fun, vintage aprons though.
I find them in second-hand stores or at yard sales and often, can’t bear to leave them behind. They’re usually homemade (and for much tinier waists than I possess) with kitschy vintage touches like rick-rack, scalloped edges and even, smocking. They evoke a time of beautiful, rounded fridges (not a fingerprinted, stainless steel front in sight), one grainy TV channel and the advent of margarine, pastel-coloured marshmallow “salads” and other foods not found in nature.
I’m happy to don one of these sartorial time machines and spend an afternoon baking another vintage-turned-fashionable treat: cupcakes. I find them manageable, for one who sometimes needs a life preserver when wading into the stew that is cooking and baking.
I stumble through the measuring and mixing, put up with the plopping into pans and baking parts…all so I can get to the hypnotic peace of using a pastry bag to pipe icing on their little, rounded tops.
It’s like Thai Chi, piping is. Seriously. You should try it.
I believe it’s how those women-of-a-certain-era managed to welcome everyone home in Leave it to Beaver fashion day after day, even when life in bouffants and polyester chafed.
Piping icing: it’s probably why they didn’t need yoga.
Even though I may look like the picture of vintage domesticity, working in my kitchen, apron apparently tied to the stove, I know the truth: my modern vintage life is about zen-cupcake-making and a partner who loves bread baking and future junkyards to explore.
Now, if I could just get my hands on one of those great vintage-inspired fridges!