Thursday, November 12, 2009


They’re everywhere.  Halloween, autumn decorations, every yard is adorned with at least one.  Pushed into my consciousness, a few weeks ago I felt compelled to make pumpkin bread….the 50 cases of canned pumpkin piled at the entry of Cub foods perhaps having some effect on my growing fixation.  Liv loves pumpkin bread and although I enjoy my seven dollar Starbucks mochachocolattefatty, I feel it slightly outrageous to pay 2 bucks for a piece of quick bread. 

So, for a recipe I went to the cooking Bible....the Davison Family Cookbook.  Chip’s mom is one of 11 children born to a Kansas farm family with scads of grandchildren and great grandchildren now and the inevitable cookbook was born.  The recipes include generous amounts of cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, velveeta, oleo, rotelle tomatoes and sugar. Good hearty fare that can be made quickly in large amounts for hard working farm families and suburban soccer families alike.   I haven’t been steered wrong yet on a casserole or a baked good. 

I make the fabulous pumpkin bread, even tweaking the recipe to use half the oil since the only labor we do in this house is reach for the remote.  I don’t like to monkey with the recipes too much because part of what makes Kansas homecooking so good is using the above ingredients in their full abundance.  I’ve tried to cut the fat and sugar in some recipes and well, the taste is equivocal to a life without love.

I tell my friend Marsha about my triumphs in the kitchen…. the virtues of my pumpkin bread with half the oil, the use of smaller pans for my banana bread with chocolate chips and how it’s all been a bit nerve wracking  to mess with the recipes and how it’s much better if you freeze then thaw the loaves as it gives the bread a really nice texture similar to the Starbucks pumpkin bread……She lovingly and thoughfully replies, “...mmmm, interesting…. you really do need a job my friend.”

No kidding.  I’m mulling my situation daily.   Industry vs. inferiority. “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’”.  Protestant work ethic.   A lifetime of messages circling in my head like sharks ready to chew the legs off my feminist ego.  I throw all my energy into being chief cook and bottle washer and now quick bread maker.  But there’s a sense I’m never doing enough when I’m not earning some coin.  So I frantically bake and really not that well .  What I’m good at is doing a whole bunch of things simultaneously and satisfactorily, not one or two things painstakingly and expertly.   I don’t have painstaking in me.  My lack of attention span does not permit it.

Which brings me to today, a half day at school and Ally says this morning,
“My French horn is really harshing my mellow right now.”
“What are you saying?” I reply.  It’s the subtext I always botch.
“People might be going out to lunch and I don’t want to bring it with me.”
“Alright. I’ll come get your horn if it turns out people are going for lunch.”
“Really? I’ll practice this weekend!”  This reference is related to some non-dulcet notes heard during French horn four person solo at band concert two days ago.   She claims it wasn’t her, as they do.

She texts me later that indeed her friends are going out for lunch and school ends at 12.30.   Never mind she’s texting during school, I reply back, “I will be at band room at 12.35.” 

Her final text relieves me of my need for any further industry….for today anyway.

“I hope uk how loverly u are.”


  1. I'll see your pumpkin bread and raise you two pies. Not just any pies, but Practice Pies. That's what I did today. Practicing for Thanksgiving. Like the old You Might Be a Redneck if... jokes, I'd like to start a series that begins with You Might Need a Job If...

  2. Practicing for thanksgiving does indicate a fair amount of time on one's hands. Since we're not making the feast this year, I wonder how drunken pie making will work this year?

  3. From a very reliable source whom I shall never divulge--The reason Starbucks bread tastes like yours is because BOTH are frozen--think those busy baristas have time to bake??