Friday, August 27, 2010

In Praise of Ingredients

About 12 years ago our nephew lived with us.  His folks came to town, and we decided to meet here after work to go to dinner. Well, the folks arrived before we got home, and sis-in-law decided to bake something. She started rummaging around in my kitchen.  She was appalled to find no flour, no sugar, no eggs... no ingredients.

What kind of kitchen has no ingredients?

Mine of course.  I was very proud of my clean, lovely new kitchen, and I surely wasn't going to spoil it with cooking and ingredients and such.

Fast forward to Wednesday of this week.  Impending vendor meeting on Thursday, which happened to be the tech guy's birthday.

Wouldn't it be fun to have a cake!

But, after work I was too tired & hungry to go in search of said cake. And, Thursday's meetings were too early to plan a side trip on the way in.

What to do???

I could have given up on the cake concept. David would have preferred that. After all, nobody expected a cake.  Nobody needed a cake.

But, one of the things I learned from my friend Carol: A good project manager is always on the lookout for ways to make work fun.  And, birthday cakes are, by definition, fun.

Leafing through my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, there it was: A recipe for gingerbread that used ordinary flour, brown sugar, molasses, shortening, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.

All stuff I had on hand.

None of which I had on hand the day Sis-in-law was rummaging through my cupboards.

So, before bed Wednesday I mixed up the dry ingredients.  Thursday morning after breakfast I mixed in the wet ingredients and put the gingerbread in to bake. 

I'd wanted a glaze for it, but didn't have powdered sugar.  So, I took some blenderized brown sugar and mixed with a splash of vanilla and a few teaspoons of almond milk.  Let that set while I went upstairs to shower.

After the shower, took the gingerbread out of the oven and let it cool while I dried my hair and did the makeup.

Back downstairs to drizzle glaze over the warm gingerbread. Loosely covered it, put on my sandals, and headed off to work, gingerbread in hand.

There are secret advantages to this healthy cooking thing:  You have ingredients, and cooking from scratch starts to to fit into your life -- even into those spaces where a trip to the supermarket would never go.

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