It’s Saturday morning and time for another story. I was waffling about whether to write about my most spectacular cooking fiascos or “why cats” from Ally. But it’s Saturday morning and this story is all about Saturday mornings. Plus, I’m making banana, candied walnuts and bacon pancakes for breakfast this morning. Well, brunch. It’s a little too early to eat yet – maybe by the time I’m done writing.
When I was a kid – like 6 or 7 – I used to get up very early on Saturday mornings to make a surprise breakfast for my folks. Funny, I don’t remember Mom ever coming out to see what the hell I was doing. I’m sure she figured it out after the first time and she had the grace to play along.
You see, I was a Brownie. That’s a kind of Girl Scout for little kids. And a big part of the Brownies was the Brownie Story. Brownies were magical creatures who helped around the house – out of love, not because they were being paid for doing chores. Kinda of like random acts of kindness, I suppose. I remember the little ceremony we did, listening to the Brownie story and then
Twist me and turn me and show me the elf
I looked in the water and saw myself!
So, for me, I tried to be a good Brownie by making surprise breakfasts. The folks drank instant coffee at that time and I imagine mine was either brown water or mud, but they drank it. I probably made toast or something simple like that most of the time. Hard to remember, really. But I do remember the time that I decided to make shortbread. I didn’t know what shortbread was but it had bread right there in the name so I thought it was a breakfast food.
You know, shortbread is not that hard to make. The classic recipe is pretty much just butter, flour and sugar. I was cooking with my mom from the time I could stand on a chair and reach the counter. Maybe that shortbread was the first time I tried to follow a recipe all on my own. I can’t really remember what happened except that I made a hell of a mess. There was shortbread dough inside the kitchen drawers. My mom claimed she was still finding bits of shortbread dough fifteen years later when they moved out of that house.
There’s something in my pocket
it belongs across my face
so I keep it very close at hand
in a most convenient place.
I know you couldn’t guess it
if you guessed a long, long while.
So I’ll take it out and put it on
it’s a great big Brownie smile!
That was the beginning of my cooking escapades. Fiasco? Maybe. There was the time I decided to make cream puffs (as a surprise of course) when no one else was home and I managed to lock myself out of the house while they were baking. Or the time I made biscuits for supper while Mom was in the hospital and I wound up in tears calling Mom because my biscuit dough was soup. I swear the recipe said one quart of milk! I’ve had things that didn’t turn out well – like croissant shaped rocks – and things that burned or substitutions I tried that I probably shouldn’t have. I’m a much calmer cook now. I rarely make a huge mess and almost all the time my food is edible. I still can’t make instant coffee, though.