Monday, September 14

Group Science Experiment

Have you ever tried to cook while talking to a friend? How'd it turn out? My experiences tell me it's usually a comedy of errors. I will relate my latest because my mom told me to, and because it was just one of those classics.

My friend Dawn recently had a nice round cherub she named Sophia. Her and I are a lot alike in my opinion, because we commit ourselves to projects early post-partum when common sense might counsel us otherwise. She signed up for a dinner swap where you pull together six full meals and swap with others who've done the same. I told her she was crazy and then offered to help her out while my boys were in school one morning. Mind you, we didn't really know each other well yet so this was more like a "tell your life story in an hour" session. We really had a lot of fun with it even though the baking sometimes got in the way.

I was really impressed that when I arrived that morning, she was ready to go! First I watched the kids while she ran to the store for all her ingredients. See, I was actually helpful, just remember that for later! Then she got out all the supplies to mix up 6 batches of oatmeal cookies for me before she sat to nurse her cherub. I began to mix ingredients while attempting to tell my life story and answer questions with varying success. It was akin to cooking on a first date. You're trying to make a good impression but can't focus on two things requiring your focus at the same time.

Baking is an exact science, right? Hmmm. . . ya know how you're supposed to mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet? Well, we were also trying to wait for the butter to thaw which really seemed to overcomplicate things for me! I never seem to be able to thaw butter in the microwave well so I didn't want to mess it up for someone else. And why don't recipes list ingredients in the order they are to be mixed? We're chatting away and I notice I had the sugars in with the flour mixture. Oh dear! We both caught my mistake and luckily she shrugged it off as I tried to correct it. Good thing our friendship wasn't built upon my simultaneous ability to bake and chat!

Since we were making six batches, we just made three double batches. Simple enough, or so we thought. I forgot the salt and vanilla on the first batch. For the next two, I or we forgot the vanilla, baking soda, eggs, half the butter, or flour in some combination. By the end, we had all three double batches mixed and "rolled" for easy baking. As I was leaving to go pick up my boys, it dawned on Dawn that she'd forgotten flour in one of them I think. Or all the extra butter still thawing on the tray could have been our clue. Either way, we realized what each batch was missing and she jotted it down to fix after I'd left. Who knew two college grads would find following a simple recipe would be so difficult!

She called recently to tell me that everyone in her dinner group ordered her oatmeal cookies again! And I asked, "So when do you want my help?!" Oh how fun it is to laugh at ourselves!

Interesting things about my buddy:

- Her dream job would be to modify and package common items to make them more user-friendly. She really gave my new mop a thorough once over and now my mop makes me think of her. Puts a smile on my face every time. Too bad it doesn't inspire me to mop.

- She fell in love with her husband over an egg sandwich he made her. That may be stretching it, but it did eventually lead to her conversion to the church. Alright, so that might be a stretch too, but I really love her story!

- She began home schooling their oldest son when he had a teacher who was over-extended professionally and personally. Now it's hard to give up because they both love it at alternating times! I think their co-ops sound fabulous and it tempts me. She's got some great resources here!

- Her husband became an Army chaplain which means they are actually set apart as an LDS missionary couple. One time I saw her husband in the PX right after she had her baby. We began chatting and then he saw a member of his congregation. All of a sudden, it was like I could feel the mantle of his calling so visibly and it was awesome! Ever had that happen to you?