How I learned the proper way to make a cake.
So as some of you may know, I’ve started a blog. And I’m completing a #bloggingfundamentals course which now that I’m getting into it, appears to be about 2 years or so old. Because pages they link to and assignments I’m supposed to find are no longer available or locked. That’s fine with me though because this blog is about going places new, and doing things just slightly different than expected. Today’s blog prompt, from 2018, is “laughter.” So I’m thinking about laughter in the kitchen, and my first memory of trying out cooking on my own.
I have no idea how old I was, perhaps 8 or 9. My mother wasn’t feeling well and was lying down in bed. Something she NEVER did… so not even sure what was going on in the world at the time. But her room was right off the kitchen and she was going to instruct me as I worked. I got out the big bowls and the electric mixer. I got out the sack of flour, and the canister of sugar and the Crisco (because yes, back then we did rely on that white oily cream instead of butter which I’m sure we would have considered a luxury to use for something like a cake. And I measure the flour carefully into the hand sifter. It was one of those metal things with a handle you cranked on the side, wooden knob, a bit bent, but it did make such a lovely crunchy sound as it turned and blended whatever you put inside.
I added the flour and sifted it well into my big ceramic bowl. It was an old one, perhaps from my grandmother. Pottery with blue stripes around it and a few chips to show it knew a bit more than I about cooking. I asked her what came next and she told me, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder… boom, boom, and one more dusty boom and they were all in and being mixed and sifted into the bowl along with the flour.
“OK, done with that,” I told her.
“OK, now put in the Crisco, the eggs and a tablespoon of the vanilla. Be careful with the vanilla, it comes out of the bottle fast!” she warned me.
So I cracked the eggs into the sifter, picked out a few bits of shell, then added the rest and started to turn the crank. Something wasn’t right. Nothing was coming out the bottom, and what I saw inside that sifter did not look right.
Maybe not the actual conversation but you get the gist…
“Mama,” I said. “I don’t think this is right.” I walked into the bedroom with the sifter dripping bits of egg and vanilla…
I do remember these exact words as my mother quickly got out of bed and walked me and my drippy sifter back into the kitchen!
“What is that???” My mother quickly got out of bed and finished the cake for me. But I never forgot that wet ingredients do NOT go into a sifter!