[Should anyone be wondering why the posting has been so thin as of late, read the following as a typical day and wonder no more.]
“Let’s make blueberry muffins, Grammy!”
“Yes, blueberry muffins. Please, please please!?”
Now The Moose is an avid chef. He has just turned four; I expect by the time he is five he will have all the necessary credentials to apply to the Cordon Bleu school in Paris. However, we are in day four of a heat wave. Baking is not what I do in a heat wave. The house does not have a/c. But it was The Moose asking. And he asked so nicely.
Sooooo…. we baked. This is how it went.
First, we had to find a recipe that looked Moose Friendly, and for which I had all of the ingredients. Fortunately (or not, I suppose, depending on one’s point of view), I had a huge bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer – any other kind of muffins, and the young chef would have been out of luck.
Then we had to print the recipe as I don’t think my computer and The Moose baking on the same counter is a good combination. That meant a trip upstairs to Papa’s office. Up we went.
Our recipe said it made 15 regular size muffins. I only have mini muffin tins. But I do have two of them, so I figured we were all right on capacity as we could make as many as 48 little muffins. That meant a trip down two flights to the cellar to retrieve the muffin tins. The Moose insisted on bringing up both of them.
Back in the kitchen, I went to get the blueberries and discovered they were not in the kitchen freezer, but in the big one …. in the cellar. So, back down we went. The Moose accompanied me every step, even insisting on turning on and off the light at the head of the stairs (with me holding onto his shirt so he wouldn’t tumble down the steps as he reeaaached with the tips of his fingers to just flick the switch.)
“Where are the papers, Grammy?”
I gave my helper the mini muffin papers and he happily and very carefully separated them and put one in each cup. After he finished the first tin, I said: “That’s enough. We only need one pan.” And I moved the second pan over onto another counter behind us.
He looked at me as if I were daft and said, “No, Grammy. We need two.” He dragged his step stool over to the other counter and began methodically lining the cups of the second tin. I figured what harm could it do, and turning my back, started to beat the butter and sugar by hand (as the beaters on my old mixer had exploded in a tangle two Christmas’s ago and I’ve been making do ever since.)
I asked The Moose if he wanted to help beat the butter and sugar and he said “sure.” He dragged his stool back and gave the bowl a couple of stirs, but then had a better idea. He would just eat it. I rescued the wooden spoon milliseconds before it was set to clear his teeth.
“We don’t eat the batter while we are cooking,” I said.
“Why not, Grammy? It’s good.”
He went back to his muffin cup lining project and I got out the flour, baking powder and a small bowl.
Then I called my helper over to measure the flour and baking powder into the bowl and whisk them together. He did so with quite a lot of energy, saying: “Look Grammy. I have cauliflower all over my toes.”
At that point, I had been thinking two steps ahead, which, even though this is necessary with a Moose about the house, it is also a mistake. It’s best to stay laser focused on the present. So, while I was vaguely noting the mess of flour all over the counter and drifting about on the floor, I was really thinking about cracking the eggs with the least amount of mess and all I heard was “Cauliflower?”
“Yes, Grammy. Look. My toes are all sandy.”
They were indeed white.
We cracked the eggs into custard cups, rescuing bits of shell before they went into the butter and sugar. I asked the lad with the cauliflower toes to scoop some flour into the butter and sugar. He scooped once and I said, “Scoop some more.” And he did. Then I told him to put some more in and he looked at me quizzically. I said: “We have to use it all up.”
A look of ‘why didn’t you say so in the first place’ crossed his face. He dropped the scoop into the butter and sugar bowl, picked up the flour bowl and in another cloud of white, dumped the rest of the contents on top of the scoop.
We poured in the milk and vanilla and then the frozen blueberries. I filled up the first tin and still had half the batter left. Chef was right. We did need the two pans. I turned around to the second tin, which had been sitting on the counter behind me, next to the saltshaker I keep by the stove. In addition to filling the cups with the paper liners, The Moose had also added salt, because …. well I don’t know why unless it is because that saltshaker has him in thrall.
The floor and the counter were covered with flour; my hands were sticky with batter (which was odd as I am usually a meticulous cook); the oven was heating up the kitchen. I started taking the paper liners out of the muffin tin and shaking the salt off. We had used all the liners I had in this project, so I couldn’t just start over again with fresh ones.
“Slowly, slowly Grammy. It will be fine.” The Moose said this with his head cocked to one side, and a half smile on his lips.
The two tins of muffins went in the oven. The Moose insisted on setting the timer himself (something with its clock and four separate timers I can barely figure out.). While he was investigating it, I had the sense to set a timer on my phone, because even if I looked at the clock, I wouldn’t remember what I saw. I wiped the phone down. We checked the muffins three times before they were finally ready.
The Moose having a sense of style for these occasions took out a large melamine platter in the shape of a very vibrant fish.
“Here Grammy. Let’s use this lots of colors goldfish for the muffins. It will be good.”
Mommy came to pick up her Moose and he left with some muffins for his daddy. I rummaged in the refrigerator and found an almost used up bottle of prosecco. Anyone who knew how to drink would have finished it on Sunday when it was opened. But I don’t know how to drink, so I finished it with a muffin or two.
It was all fine, just as The Moose promised.