Despite a Couple of Setbacks, a Very Very Good Day

The day of Cooking Great Grandmas’ Recipes has come and gone, and overall, it was a very good day.

To start the story at the beginning, I got home after dark yesterday evening, checked the mail and unloaded all the stuff I bought for the pups and kittens.  Earlier in the week I had done some online shopping, but didn’t expect anything to get here by yesterday.

This morning, after coffee and checking the internets (YaY! it looks like the HCR will get through the Senate by Christmas — what a relief), I started a shopping list for today and the rest of the week.  I had put some yellow squash and eggplant in the little stand alone freezer, but I wanted to check how much before buying stuff to make casseroles.  I opened it up and it was dead.  Dead.  The green “on” light was ON, but the freezer clearly wasn’t working.  I had a turkey, lots of vegis and fruit, a frozen dinner, soup and some lasagna in it — along with a bag of ice.  All of it was damp and warm.

Since I had the trees cut down (the electric lines were all tangled up in them) two of the breakers have tripped twice.  I don’t know if that is related to the freezer meltdown or not.  I called my mom to make sure she had enough flour and then told her the news.  She said I could bag it all up and we could put it in their dumpster by their shop instead of in my garbage (which won’t get picked up for another week).  Thank goodness!  Thanks mom!  I’m still really bummed about it.

Shopping was a bummer, too.  I just got what I needed for today.  I cooked the potatoes and then packed up everything to go.  I went out front to get Dora in — she was sitting in the sunshine and didn’t want to come in when I noticed CD cases near the bushes.  Clearly, my CD’s came yesterday and Tammy and Murphy decided they were a toy.  Luckily all of them were ok.  I got two Phoenix CDs and one Harry Connick, Jr.

After I got to mom’s, my sis and I took the ruined food over to the warehouse.  Along the way, I played her some of my new CDs and told her a work story — or should I say “the” work story about the guy I work with who will NEVER SHUT UP.    She complained about mom and my brother a bit, and amazingly I agreed with her.  I told her I would back her up, and I will, for what it is worth.

Back at mom’s, I started getting things ready for the Hawaiian and Strawberry bread.  They had to go into the oven first since they take over an hour to bake.  Along the way, I discovered that mom HAD NO BANANAS!  We double checked all the recipes and discovered that we had no ground clove either.  I was dispatched to the store.  Since the bananas had to be mashed, I looked for the narliest ones and got four (only later to find that they equaled exactly the right amount for the recipe.  SCORECARD!!!!!! )  By the time I got back, my brother and crew had arrived.

Mom and sis had little gifts for us all — cooking aprons. cookie-cutters for the girls and gift boxes to put the products of our efforts to give to neighbors, family and friends.  (I ended up with two boxes and more to spread.)

The girls and I started on the sweet bread, my brother on grandma’s cream candy, and my sis-in-law on a new project — pumpkin rolls.  My brother has bought them at craft fairs for the last few years, and so mom decided since my sis-in-law is such a good baker, she could make them.

Everything was going along fine — the girls were measuring and mixing and recording it all — until my sis-in-law discovered that she had put in too much pumpkin.  We had to make 5 rolls instead of 1.  We lacked supplies, so my oldest niece and I were charged with a store run.  Since granny had spilled all the toothpicks on the floor (to check the doneness of the bread) we needed more of them, and cream cheese and my littlest niece decided she needed baby lotion, and also plastic wrap.  While we were at the store, my oldest niece decided I needed to get something for her.  I convinced her to get one of those holiday goblets Kroger has for a dollar.  We went through the self-checkout and I let her do it.  It was her first time.  Before we got outside, I gave her some bills to put in the Salvation Army kettle.  She was shy about it, but she did it.  I asked her if she knew what it was for and it led to a good discussion.

Back home, we finished the bread and the girls and mom and sis got to work on sugar cookies.  Unlike previous years, it went smoothly.  I remarked upon it to my sis-in-law and we agreed — they are all growing up and get what we are up to with this day.  It is a day of joy and family.  In years past, the sugar cookies were more about flour dust flying and squabbles over cookie-cutters.  The results were haphazard pieced together cookies.  The results this year are BEAUTIFUL.  The girls are amazing.

The pumpkin bread rolls were a group effort.  They are difficult to make and my sis-in-law and I were nervous about breaking them at every step.  I won’t go into all of the details, but between four of us, we got them all done just before my sis heard Santa’s firetruck in the neighborhood.

At that point, it was time to start dinner.  Showtime for me!  First, my excuses.  My mom has an electric stove.  I have cooked with gas for the past 20+ years.  My brother’s cream candy 5 hour project was on the biggest burner and could not be moved or it would fail.  The result:  I had to make chicken fried steak in a huge pan on a little burner that I could not adequately control, all while getting 30 second updates that SANTA WAS COMING.

At one point I went out and told the girls to come get me when Santa had gotten to a certain pickup parked on the street.  They get me outside four times after that and before he had gotten to the designated point.  One steak burned on one side.

Santa came and my littlest niece still hates him.

Santa left, and everyone was ready for dinner, but I didn’t have the cream gravy ready.  My mom was nagging me:  it’s not going to get thick, do you need some help, it’s not going to get thick ETC.  I asked her if she had anything going at the stove.  She said no.  I told her to go fix her plate; the gravy would be there shortly.

Dinner wasn’t ready in the right order, but everyone got their chicken fried steak, green beans, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and FINALLY GRAVY.  HURRAY!  While we were eating, my nieces wanted me to tell a funny story.  The only one I could think of was the one I had told my sister about work, but I told them it was adult rated.  They begged and begged.  I tried to make the freezer failure story funny, but that didn’t work.  My sis came to the rescue and filtered the story I had told her.  We all had a good laugh — especially about people who will JUST NOT SHUT UP.  It was fun.

Then we watched the video my two oldest nieces had made of the day.  It was pretty darn funny.

By then it was 8:30 and I had to get home.  I packed up and gave everyone a hug.  This time my sis walked out to the car with me — usually it’s mom — and I knew that she was counting on me.

I bought her a new computer for Christmas.  I think that will help her in achieving the independence she desires.

This was one of the best days ever.

One response to “Despite a Couple of Setbacks, a Very Very Good Day

  1. What a great post! And this is probably your longest, right?
    The girls are going to remember these special yearly nights forever. You’re a great sister and daughter, and coolest aunt ever!
    That is so funny about the little one and her visceral hatred of old Saint Nick.
    Oh, and thanks for the Mick Ronson CD (I haven’t listened to it yet but it looks pretty darn promising). I think he started work on it after he found out he was sick and so there’s bound to be a bittersweet quality to it). Thanks again.

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