My spouse has a fear of kitchens. God help him if I pass into the great unknown before him, because it will be back to toasted bagels and canned pineapples, which were his bachelor day staples — every day.
I will admit I’m not the world’s best baker. That’s why I’m not asked to make dessert at family functions. My kids always begged for a store-bought cake for their birthdays. My pie crusts were hard as rocks, you could literally break teeth on them. Add to that my need for gluten-free baking. Me plus gluten-free always equals a dry disaster.
Just recently it was my birthday, and because my sweetie is kitchenaphobic, there was no homemade cake forthcoming. Nor did I see a store-bought gluten-free cake of any kind in the fridge.
So I decided to bite the bullet and try my hand at baking a gluten-free cake from a mix I had stashed away. Now, I’m also known as short-cut baker. If it takes more than five ingredients, or too much time, I won’t attempt it. The instructions on the box were pretty simple. How could I go wrong?
Thirty minutes later, I had one huge, flat cake. It didn’t rise much. I became inventive and cut the cake into two cakes. I lathered icing on the bottom half, placed the top half, and lovingly iced it. Voila! I had THE ugliest cake EVER.
Disappointed and near tears, I emailed my BFF (misery loves company) whose spouse suffers from the same affliction as mine — mageirocophobia. There’s a mouthful! Mageirocophobia is the fear of cooking.
While I was lamenting my culinary catastrophe, hubby went out to the store and bought a cake. Neither this cake nor mine was any good, but on a scale of one to ten, the ready-made was a six, and my flat fiasco — a three.
As the week wore on, we choked down piece after piece of the drought-ridden debacle. I served my moist-less mess to my friend. I warned her. She politely never finished it. I prayed that my Dutch mother, an excellent baker, would not drop in unannounced and ask for a piece of the dry dud sitting on the counter.
Not one to waste, and with those danged Dutch-frugal genes at the forefront, I got the bright idea of pouring a mini-bar bottle of toasted caramel whiskey over it, in the hope of making it moister. An improvement in some ways. My teetotaler spouse giddily remarked that he could really taste the alcohol.
Then I received a belated, joke birthday gift. A can of — apparently — THE best canned whipped cream EVER. And made from real cream! My friend warned me to take a lactose-intolerant enzyme pill before partaking of this gift. And, of course, winked, nudged and hinted at more carnal uses.
Instead I slathered the whipped cream on the last of the remaining birthday botch-ups. It looked like a pile of whipped cream on a plate.
As I served the last stale slab to my mageirocophobic husband, I threw my free hand in the air and exclaimed triumphantly, “Let them eat cake!”