December 08, 2014 - 7:42 AM
I’ve never confessed to being much of a baker. In fact, I’ve openly confessed the opposite.
True, I don’t give myself much credit. I mean, I can bake gluten free Graham crackers from scratch, and that’s more Martha Stewart that your average threat to the kitchen. However, I’m not winning any awards. I’m not going to quit my day job to open up a savory donut shop (or are those just called bagels? What makes a donut a donut? See, I’m clueless), but once in a while I like to try my hand at attaining Suzy Homemaker status.
“I think we should make macarons,” my mother messaged me in response to my plea to set a day aside for Christmas baking. “They can’t be that hard,” she said, “I found a recipe!”
Let me tell you about my experience with recipes.
I once made a chocolate cake three times before realizing the reason it kept coming out of the oven even runnier than when it went in was because I was using icing sugar as opposed to flour. Please keep your comments to yourself on that one.
Nevertheless, when a mother-daughter baking day is about to commence and half the party really has her heart sent on french treats, who am I to say no. My only experience with macarons is that they are far too expensive for something the size of a quarter and guaranteed to give you cavities. I was up for the adventure.
“I’ve heard they’re really finicky, “ I cautioned her.
“They can’t be much different from making a meringue!” she countered.
Me, the one with the attitude problem. She, the one with the answers.
Maybe it’s all the fashion blogs I follow, or maybe it’s just my really annoying high-strung expectations, but my anxiety surrounding the whole situation was astounding. What if I accidentally baked an uneven number (I did), what if they spread out on the pan and attached themselves to each other (they did), what if they didn’t rise (they didn’t), what if they cracked and I couldn’t get them off the cookie sheet in one piece (I couldn’t).
There were so many what-ifs attached to the situation the only moment of pleasure I got was when I got the egg whites to “flow like magma” as per the instructions. I even added red food coloring to accentuate this part.
On the other hand, my mother crooned over the whole process.
“I think they’re beautiful,” she exclaimed after I pronounced our tray of magma-like raw egg whites as “easter puke.”
I’m always intrigued by the way people respond to negativity in any given circumstance — be it getting a parking ticket, getting diagnosed with an illness, or making shitty macarons. Here I was, being a Negative Nancy, while she stood her ground and defended our hards day's work with giant beams of sunshine.
It’s exhausting to be someone elses joy all the time.
Which is precisely why, when we opened the oven doors with Christmas-like excitement, I wasn’t shocked to hear my mother respond with a sigh. Her tune had changed.
“Shoot,” she said, “they’ve all cracked and turned weird.” Her sunshine had set in the West and it was my job to rise.
I dubbed them macawrongs — because even in moments of disappointment I can be quite witty — and started laughing.
“What are we going to do with them?” she asked.
I suggested we turn them into gourmet ice cream sandwiches — I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to eat pure sugar, no matter how ugly it looked — and she thought that sounded OK.
We spooned ice cream into bowls, tossed in a handful of berries and nestled two very odd looking egg white wafers into the mix.
“You know,” she said, “if we hadn’t set the precedent as to what these were supposed to turn out like... this would actually make quite a servable dessert!”
And just like that, our macawrongs became a macaright.
— Andria is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops
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