Kitchen disaster


R

ule No. 1. While in the kitchen, even more important than being careful in front of the fire, MAKE SURE THERE”S NO SNEAKY PEST WATCHING! That way, if the dish goes…
HOPELESSLY WRONG -- you can always pretend it never happened

If it doesn’t look like the picture in the recipe, but tastes good – you can serve it up under another name (DON’T show the family the original photo)

 Unfortunately, Latha and I weren’t so lucky. While baking a cake at her house, one unnecessary ‘ingredient’ we had to deal with was her kid sister, Anu. If you HAVE to have a sister, she should be in college, like mine. 

Latha’s sister is in Std 3…the worst age. Right through our cake-making, she walked in and out of the kitchen, giving us the most irritating advice. After we’d measured out one large teacup of maida into a bowl, she piped in, “Mama always first sieves the maida.”

Latha and I exchanged pained looks. From experience, we knew this was only the beginning. While measuring out one heaped teacup of sugar into the 100 grams of melted white butter, Miss Know-it-all said, “Mama always preheats the oven, you know.” 

Latha, then sweetly asked Anu if she’d finished her homework. That was clever, because when the worried Anu left the kitchen to check her homework diary, we quickly switched on the oven. I’d have hated to do that in front of Anu.

The moment Anu left, Latha grabbed me, “We HAVE to finish before she returns. Any more advice and I’ll bake HER.” I giggled. Though I too was sick of Anu, I secretly enjoy watching a normally smart, always-in-charge Latha, lose control, totally, when Anu’s around!

We hurried through the rest of the cake-making. I beat the sugar and the butter into a smooth paste. Latha then broke 4 eggs into the bowl and we mixed it into the sugar-butter paste. (She broke 5 eggs, actually. One on the floor and we almost died trying to clean it up before Anu returned)

Then 5 teaspoons of cocoa along with the maida were added. I handed over the mixing to Latha for a while, since my hands hurt.

We were like express trains…racing to finish before Anu popped in again. Latha was singing a just-made-up song, ‘Mama says…, Mama says…, Mama always says…” in a voice like Anu’s. We heard Anu’s footsteps at the top of the staircase and like lightning, poured the batter into the oven-proof dish, put it into the oven and shut the door. 

When Anu stepped in, she found us both humming away…the same song Latha had been singing earlier, but without the words! The kitchen counter had been cleaned at top speed, because neither of us coulod bear a, “Mama always leaves the counter top clean,” from Anu. She dipped her finger into the cake bowl to swipe up some left-over batter to taste, and casually said, “HMMM, tastes good, hope you remembered the baking powder.”

Both of us stopped humming! Oh my God! We HAD forgotten the baking powder! But it was too late now…through the glass door of the oven, we could already see the top of the cake turning brown.

And we couldn’t admit THAT mistake in front of Anu. Latha recovered first. Sweetly, she said, “Oh, Anu, don’t you worry about all that…we’ve planned a surprise for you.” Well, that was a surprise to even ME!

Well, we managed to somehow get Anu out of the kitchen when the ‘cake’ was ready. Of course, without baking powder it looked more like a large, flat biscuit. This we cut up into biscuit-sized squares and laid them out on a flat tray. Latha and I then tossed a whole lot of chopped up fruit over the top of the biscuit/cake layer.

Then poured sweetened orange juice over it all so that it soaked into, and softened the ‘cake’ pieces! And when Latha’s Mum came back from the market, we served it up as a TRIFLE PUDDING! Anu ate most of it.

So you now have a 3-in-1 recipe! 1. How to make a cake (with baking powder); 2. How to turn a cake disaster into a Trifle Pudding; and 3. How to deal with know-it-all younger sisters!

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