Monday, April 04, 2011

Easy Bake Ovens

The Meringue Debacle (A Tragedy in Two Acts)

Act I: (The Dining Room, St. Patrick's Day) We invited some of Ken's running friends over for dinner. One of the guys, a kid really, 24-year-old Evan, came bearing cloud cookies. The kids devoured them.
"They're so easy to make," he said.

Act II: (The Kitchen, several days later) The twins are engrossed in their favorite mid-morning activity, playing in the bathroom sink and I, looking to distract them, say, "you guys wanna bake some cookies?"
I print out the first meringue cookie that Google provides, and we're off. Ingredients added, I snigger over instructions to whip the batter into "stiff peaks" because that's the kind of immature 43-year-old mother of four that I am, get out the electric mixer, and get to it. Twenty minute later and my peaks are nowhere near stiff, barely aroused is more like it; in fact I ask them what their problem is and first they pretended to be asleep, they they roll over and tell me they are too tired - and - they have a headache.
Disillusioned I consult Google again. This time I find all manner of meringue caveats. Don't make meringue on rainy days (it was raining). Use room temperature eggs (ours were straight out of the fridge). Don't dump all the sugar in at once (I dumped). Make sure no yoke gets mixed in with the egg whites (I let the twins help separate the eggs). Don't let the batter sit for more than five minutes before putting it in the oven (OMG! I've been reading these online instructions for like 15!)
Know how you go to explain something simple to someone and when you're finished you throw in a conciliatory "it ain't rocket science?" It turns out that making meringue IS rocket science and my bachelor's degree is in graphic design.
Lacking an emergency stash of culinary Viagra, and feeling my parenting skills being usurped by a 24-year old bachelor, (good mothers can makes cookies right? especially ones that are mostly air) the question now was whether or not to push on through or to throw the whole thing out and pretend like it never happened.
I put them in the oven, figuring that bad cookies were better than no cookies. They came out flat; as flat as the course of the Nantucket Marathon; as flat as the shoreline at low tide; as flat as my profile in my prom dress.
My kids condescended to eat them anyway but I can tell that they wish Evan was their mother.

song: Easy Bake Ovens • artist: Girlyman

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