The kids are in bed. So I return to the kitchen though I still hear Sadie’s screams to pick her up ringing in my ear, and I still feel Logan tugging on me. The dog is still begging for food left sitting out. Two days’ worth of dishes are piled next to the broken dishwasher. I clear this meal’s dishes off the table and counter, and the mountain grows ever higher. Forty-five minutes I spend washing dishes. Forty-five damn minutes.
Then I have to bake muffins.
Never, in a million years, would I have guessed I’d be standing with my hands in a lukewarm sink of greasy water planning how to bake muffins at 10 o’clock at night. But that’s what Logan’s daycare is having for breakfast tomorrow, and I haven’t bought a CF alternative to send with him. So apparently, it’s time to learn to bake.
I can honestly say I’ve never baked muffins before. I opened my cookbook and assembled all my ingredients on the counter. Baking powder? Is that different than baking soda? I’ll guess it is. Luckily we have both. Place muffin liners in eight muffin pan cups? Are those important? More importantly that that, why do we actually have some in a cupboard?
I dump in my GFCF baking mix as an alternative to flour—I have no idea what it actually is. I mix in the baking powder and the salt and stir with a fork. I add the water and canola oil, hoping I measured the oil right—my glass measuring cup doesn’t have ¾ marked on it, and I have no idea how much that is. And on my plastic black measuring cups, the brightly colored measurements have worn off after seven years being jostled around a drawer. I sigh, and randomly pick one.
“Add water, oil, and agave nectar sweetener. Mix with a spoon.”
Mix with a spoon? Didn’t it just tell me to mix the other stuff with a fork? Screw that—my dishwasher is broken, and there’s no way I’m dirtying another dish.
I stir, add blueberries, and stir again. I place dollops of mixture into cupcake liners (which, yes, is difficult with a fork and yes, would have been easier with a spoon). I slide the tray into the oven. As per the recipe, I return in 25 minutes and remove them.
They’re “golden brown” on the top, so I think they must be done. I even go one step further–aren’t I clever–and insert a toothpick into one, as I’ve heard that people who bake do. I pull it out and stare at it. It’s supposed to look “clean,” if I remember right. But what the hell does that mean? How would it come out full of dirt? It looks clean to me, I decide, and head up to bed.
The next morning my muffins have sunk to half the size they were when I pulled them out of the oven. I pick up a muffin cup, and it’s basically turned to pudding. Apparently, something went wrong.
“You were supposed to put a toothpick in and check if it came out clean,” my husband informs me later that night, after I’d hidden my shameful tears on behind a book or computer screen all day. I’d been so upbeat putting the muffins in the oven, and seeing them wrecked the next morning just wrecked me. “But, see,” my husband continues, “this toothpick comes out wet.”
“Wet!” I yell. “Then why the f* isn’t the saying, come out dry? Why do people say it needs to come out clean? That means absolutely nothing! If I knew the toothpick was supposed to come out dry, I would have kept them in the oven longer!”
Angrily, I dump eight wet, puddingy muffin cups in the garbage.