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IT WAS THAT KIND OF DAY
18 March 2014
It was Judy Jackson's fault. Judy is a singer, an actress, and the costumer for the Lamplighters. She is also a Facebook friend and this morning she mentioned that she was going to be making Guinness cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream frosting. That sounded so good that though we almost never do anything to commemorate St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make a big deal out of it. I am always looking for new ways to bring something interesting to my mother's life, however briefly.
First I needed to write a letter. I had received a wonderful letter from my sponsored girl, Shallon, in Uganda. She's the most rewarding to write to, first because she's older and second, she speaks English, so I get the longest letters from her and I write the longest letters to her because I know they don't need to go through a translator. Of course, her letters are full of religious comments and I feel somewhat hypocritical answering in kind, but today I sent her the story of St. Patrick and tried to explain why Americans celebrate an Irish saint who converted Ireland by going to pubs and getting drunk.
I sent it with a little notebook I had for her and so the package was heavy and I had to take it to the post office to mail, which I did before I went shopping for ingredients for my Irish dinner. Since the post office is on the other side of Davis, I listened to my audio book while I drove around. The book is on my iPod Touch and when I get to wherever I'm going, I unplug it from the car speaker and stick it in the console between the two front seats.
When I left the post office, I plugged it back in again and drove to the supermarket. Again, unplugged it, stored it, and went to the store. I went for broke. Bought corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes, and all the stuff I needed for the cupcakes, including sour cream, unsalted butter, Dutch cocoa and all the other things you need to make cupcakes.
When I got back to the car, I couldn't find the iPod. There are very few places to look in that car and I remembered distinctly putting it in the console between the two front seats. I looked on the floor under the seats, between the seat back and the seat, through my purse. It had just disappeared. We have a brand new car with an alarm system and there didn't seem to be any signs of break-in and heck, it's a busy parking lot. Who would break in and just steal the iPod and leave other things behind?
I finally looked through my purse again, and I had put it in the pocket where I normally keep my iPhone. I felt like an idiot. Not the last time that day!
I drove home and started unloding groceries. Walt asked "Did you get bananas?" I went "doh!" because we always get bananas and I hadn't even thought about it. Then Walt came in with the last two bags of groceries, and on the top of one was a bunch of bananas. I had no memory of buying them. But then I didn't feel too bad because when I told Walt about my Alzheimers moment earlier, he asked me what I used to listen to audio books in the car...when I've been using that machine for at least five years and he has not only seen me do it, but that's what we use to listen to Says You. I wasn't the only one having an Alzheimers moment.
It was time to start the cupcakes. When I shop for ingredients, I look at the list on the recipe, but don't actually read the directions before I go shopping. One of the ingredients was unsalted butter, which I never use unless I'm baking. When I got ready to bake and checked the recipe, the unsalted butter was to grease the cupcake pans unless you were using cupcake papers (which I was). So had purchased a pound of unsalted butter to use about 1 tsp. ... and then I didn't need it at all.
I was in the middle of mixing everything and getting something out of the refrigerator when I knocked a big jar of mustard on the floor. Not even the dogs wanted to lick it up. But I was in the middle of the mixing process and had to postpone cleaning up the mustard, so Walt got down on his knees and cleaned it up while I moved around him adding my ingredients to the cupcake mix. (He was rewarded because I needed someone to finish the can of Guinness that I was using in the cupcake mix.
After the cupcakes came out of the oven, I set them to cool, since they had to be cold before I frosted them. I took a short nap and when I woke up, I started to get the ingredients together: cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and Bailey's Irish Cream. We had 2 bottles in the "wine closet." They were both quite old and I knew that one had probably gone bad. I remember having old Baileys' once and the cream had curdled and it was awful. I unscrewed the top from the partially used bottle and discovered that it was so old everything had evaporated. But I had another bottle that was still in the box it came in, with the seal unbroken. Ahhh...this one would be fine. And after I made the frosting, I might have a little glass of it since it had been so long since I'd tasted Bailey's.
I opened the bottle and decided to take a quick swig out of the bottle itself, but when I tilted it up, nothing came out. I tried shaking it and I could feel something in there. I stuck a long stick in it to stir up what must have been sediment...and what came out smelled sorta like Bailey's but looked like vomit. Apparently you can't keep Bailey's, even unopened, in a cupboard for more than 15 years.
So I got in the car and went back to the store and bought another bottle, shaking it first to make sure it was actually liquid. There was a beggar sitting outside the store, so I bought him a roast beef sandwich and wished him a Happy St. Patrick's day.
Got home with the viable Bailey's and started mixing everything, when I realized I didn't have enough powdered sugar. It called for 4 cups and I had maybe 3, but I decided to just go with what I had, knowing that it was going to be too soft to pipe a nice looking top on the cupcakes. They actually turned out ok, with frosting glopped on and pushed into place with a spoon. And, if I do say so myself, they tasted quite good.
I took two in a container up to Atria to give to my mother, who covered them and left them on her kitchen counter. I know they will be there still when I go back in a couple of days and she won't remember who brought them to her, but owell, it was a nice moment giving them to her. We had our usual one-sided conversation, with me trying desperately to find something interesting to tell her (and today it was all about all the silly problems I had during the day). When I finished she sighed and said "well...nothing exciting is happening here. Is it cold outside?" Sigh.
My disasters seemed to end at Atria. I had cooked a corned beef in my Wonderbag and it cooked beautifully without the slight mushy texture that I sometimes get in the crock pot, so I was happy with that. We watched The Blacklist and enjoyed the Guinness cupcakes while people were being disembowled and beheaded. I felt like Madame Defarge.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Despite everything, they were delicious.
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