In the wake of Thanksgiving, I’d like to tell a story. It’s the first of Turkey Day posts, so stay tuned. It sounds dreary, but I promise it turns out all right.
In my household — an effectively “fobby” one, due to both my parents having immigrated here from Taiwan, albeit nearly thirty years ago — Thanksgiving begins with lunch. My mother claims her kitchen back from me and I’ve learned never to mess in her stomping ground. Larger-than-life steamers and huge pots filled with unidentifiable concoctions to the Western eye abound; it is truly a feast of authentic Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine prepared round a hot pot that’s probably older than me.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the ethnic food. But being an American holiday, I sometimes like to shake things up with a Western flare: Last year, I made potato-leek soup. This year, I thought it could be cool to whip up an easy batch of pumpkin squares — a festive yet relatively healthy spin on standard autumn dessert, I actually acquired this recipe from my personal trainer. (It’s low-fat, low-sugar, and is technically a protein bar.) I very much enjoy the culinary arts, and while baking is not my favorite activity, I find it hard to attend a dinner with loved ones without contributing something to the table.
The recipe is simple: Throw the first eleven ingredients together, then add the last three, and bake.
For whatever reason, I completely brain farted and (likely because I’ve been thinking about protein shakes a lot lately — that’s a story for later) got the idea in my head that everything should be mixed in a blender. I tossed everything into my glass Oster blender (a purchase I’d made as an undergrad) and blended, only to discover a huge leak from the bottom of the blender — and there was pumpkin everywhere. It leaked from the glass and onto the metal base, onto the counter as I lifted the glass to inspect it, and because I tried to clean it with a small rag, it ended up all over the sink.
Infuriated, I decided I’d disregard this old blender and bust out my Vitamix. The mixture was thick — and I had to scoop most of it out with a wooden spoon. But of course, I lost about a third of the ingredients in the transfer, and again lost a significant amount transferring the mix from the Vitamix to the baking pan. As I tried to pour it out onto the pan, the mixture was too thick to cooperate and slide down. So I placed the handle of the blender into my affected left hand and attempted to scoop the stuff down with the wooden spoon.
Of course, my grip on the handle was neither stable or strong enough to withstand the force of the spoon and the force of gravity, so it didn’t work.
I was so irate that I just started yelling. ARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! WHY IS THIS MY LIFE????????? (I’m sure that all the small pets in my household are still in shock by this sudden outburst reverberating throughout the house.)
I wanted to break anything and everything. I pounded my fists and shook my body like a trembling seizure had taken hold.
Thing is, stuff like this happens all the time. It doesn’t matter what I’m trying to do; the task is always menial. If it’s not making pumpkin squares, it just goes by another name: cleaning, packing up, loading a car, bringing in the mail, carrying groceries.
Except cleaning turns into dropping a container of hundreds of rhinestones on the tiled floor, packing becomes dropping a container of tens of vitamins and supplements in front of the garage door. Bringing in the mail also equates to dropping multiple magazines and letters all over the dirty garage on the way into the house. A trip from the grocery store to the car involves dropping a fresh new apple in such a way that it rolls under a neighboring car.
Trivial matters, you may think? Maybe, if these weren’t the exact tasks that constitute daily life. Best part is, these disproportionately disastrous consequences usually occur when I’m by myself, thus this becomes my perception of what my life is. Simple tasks that lead to vastly inconvenient results — and you (or maybe just I) never learn to just adapt to it. These results require about three times more time than you originally projected because you have to undo whatever the hell it was you just inadvertently did.
The squares came out thin. Totally unacceptable to share with a table of guests, and I knew I’d have to try again later.
It wasn’t until hours later that it dawned on me I was being an idiot in the first place. Who mixes ingredients for a baking project in a blender, anyway?
I tossed everything into our KitchenAid mixer and the squares came out perfectly.
To our healing,