Tag Archives: motherhood

More Muffins.

I don’t bake.

That is, I don’t bake anymore.

When I left culinary school, it was largely because my pastry chef assured me that I could indeed, NOT, bake. Like, AT ALL.

So I left school, and I went to work for a coffee shop, where I went in each morning at 3:30 a.m. to work. And what did I do, you ask?

I f*cking baked. And that chef was WRONG because I was good at it.

But I never liked it one bit. The recipes and rules and precision of it all.

Keri. No. Likey.

I love to cook. To riff. To toss things in a pot and see what happens.   My roast chicken coping method is the closest I come to a rule book, and that my friends, is an ART.

Baking is math. I hate math. (Sorry boss…  I know you don’t like me to admit that.)

It’s just not me.

Except that now it is.

March 15th I had to do something.  I looked across the room, at my son sitting on his tablet, content for the moment but concerned about what was then his “extended spring break,” and I needed action.

In the kitchen I had bananas. I had ancient flour in a good airtight container in the depths of the pantry.  I had baking soda.  I had mayo. (yep. Mayo. Google it.) And I had these dudes in my house who were just going to BE THERE like, for WHO KNOWS HOW LONG (ok… they are my family, and they live here, technically – but still…. WTF!?)

So I took out some stuff, and I took out my big ass mixing bowl that gets like, NO action, and I started baking.

I kind of haven’t stopped since those first banana muffins.


those first banana muffins

Because right now, in the face of absolute chaos, the rules of baking feel good.

I can follow a recipe and if I do it just as they say, it comes out just as it should.

We can’t say that about anything right now. You can follow everything they say and still end up sick, or jobless, or mourning or whatever other shitty thing might randomly dump on you.

Baking is control. In a time when we have no control.

Judging by the amount of #breadporn pics blowing up every time I open Instagram now, I am far from alone in this.

Incidentally, I have mad respect for the bread effort – it was very specifically what I think of as “the French bread incident” that finally drove me out the door of culinary school forever. So if you have bread skills, I salute you.

So I stick with what works. Goodness knows these boys can put away some muffins, and so there is a constant demand from the (albeit fairly captive) audience around The Casa.

Outside of my kitchen, the world, and sometimes even other parts of my house, are saturated in unpredictability. (Seriously, what the hell kind of art project/Tasmanian Devil impersonation is going on in my living room right now!?)

But back in the kitchen the warmth from the oven is making me feel toasty and safe, and the well-loved big ass mixing bowl now has a place of honor in the front of a convenient cabinet, ready to help me restore the order in my mind and in my soul – at 375 degrees, 18-20 minutes at a time.

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Filed under Just Sayin'

Mom’s night out


Oh look! The oppressive fog of Mom Guilt! (No? Just me?)

I saw the text as I was exiting Jr’s room with my usual grace after a particularly quick bedtime. (In other words, I fell over the laundry basket and landed in a pile of library books, stubbing my toe on his dresser and holding my breath as I glared over to see if I’d woken him. Nope. Stuck that landing.)

“I know you may be in Jammies, but you wanna meet me at the brewery for a beer at 8?”
Two things….
1. It was like, 7 pm on a Saturday night.
2. I was TOTALLY in jammies.

An internal battle began. The Mr had just brought home a new load of wine that was calling my jammie-clad name, along with my comfy chair and puffy dog.
Nobody wants to be the lamest mom on the block, right? Jr had fallen blissfully asleep super quick, The Mr had some hideous Bob Marley concert on the DVR he was dying to watch; in short, the stars were aligning to send me off into the night.
I would bet 20 bucks that my friend swore audibly from the shock of seeing my “sure I can do that” return text.

Mama was breaking out.

With almost no notice. On a Saturday night. WAY past the usual happy hour time for typical outings.
I took one last look at my snoozing offspring on the monitor and told The Mr adios. Then I backed out of the driveway, cranking up the Banner Pilot as I stole away from the subdivision like thief stealing freedom.
If I was going to do this, I was going to go all in. What did teenage Keri do when she was out and about in this town on a Saturday night?
Oh Hayyyyy, Taco Bell drive thru. Bell Grande me, por favor!

Except I sat in that damn drive thru for 20+ minutes. My pumped-up-edness totally deflated by the time I finally rolled up to the window, where the uber uninterested girl took my money and then didn’t come back FOREVER. When she finally stuck my order out the window, I was like “what’s going on in there!?” She looked at me like I was crazy. Every substance on those nachos comes out of a freaking caulking gun – how could it take 20 minutes!!!

Was the universe conspiring against me due to my horrible decision? Was it just me, or was Taco Bell girl giving me a “why aren’t you home with your small child!?” look?
I pressed on – I had REALLY hard-earned nachos to share, and there was beer to be had.
We laughed, we drank, we ate nacho-type-product. All was well. I only semi-obsessively checked my phone/imagined my son waking up and being devastated beyond what therapy could heal when he found his ever-lovin’ mommy had abandoned him. (There is a small chance I might be inflating his image of me in my mind. Nahhh.)

After a couple hours of girl-timey goodness, I departed to head home in time to give Jr his booster of cough meds, LONG before the hour that Cinderella’s accessories were in any danger of becoming fodder for the farmers’ market. But hey – baby steps, yo.

A layer of super dense, weirdly stilling fog had settled over the town. Like, “can’t see the stop light until you are almost running it” fog. “Thick like potato soup, but not my grandma’s gross watery potato soup, REAL potato soup” fog. “Serial killers come out of this shit, don’t stop by that clump of trees, stupid” fog.
Like SERIOUS fog.

Again – my mind wandered to thoughts of universal signs, and images of Jr reading a fairy tale of a mother who left her son for selfish reasons and was swallowed up by a fog in the woods, NEVER to be seen again… except it wasn’t a fairy tale, it was YOUR CRUMMY MOM, JR!!

I hunched into granny-over-steering-wheel posture and soldiered on – MAMA’S YO’ RIDE OR DIE SON, even in the fog – I am coming!!! I am like the U.S. MFing P.S. – no weather can keep me from my appointed rounds!!!! (My parents always said I was “over dramatic” when I was young… I clearly grew out of that just fine.)

I punched the button on the garage door and did a total runner into the house, convinced that was the smoke/CO alarm I heard going off, or SOMETHING.
There was The Mr. sipping on some Jeffersons, monitor humming an image of Jr peacefully off in dreamland, possibly having not even moved since I pulled my laundry basket dismount from his room hours ago.
As my Aunt Della would say – guess I’m not so mucking futch around here after all.

But that Taco Bell wait was still totally messed up, yo.

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Filed under Mom life, musing