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Al Owne in the kitchen (12/16/2012)
By Al Owne
I had been waiting for a snowy day, but I didn’t need anything like Sunday. I wanted to start my winter baking schedule, which is always good for a few laughs and many frustrations.

I started off with something easy, my raisin bran cookie recipe. I’ve been caught with a cold hard stick of butter so many times in baking, this time I thought I’d be prepared. I took out the butter while I was fixing breakfast, putting it close to, not on, the stove. I thought it would soften the hard stick so it would be a perfect texture.

After eating breakfast and reading two papers, I decided to get baking. I took out the big orange bowl and thought I’d put the butter in first. Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about the location of the butter. It was softened OK; it was dripping out of the wrapper on to the stove. I slurped it into the bowl and added what I thought had melted from the butter dish. “Well,” I thought, “Things should be Ok now; I’ve had my big problem.”

I got out my big mixing spoon, made sure there was no Summer Sludge residue on it, and started mixing in the ingredients. Sugar, baking powder, baking soda, brown… “What the heck is wrong with the brown sugar?” There it was in its usual place in the vegetable drawer, but it was a chunk of granite! I thought I could scrape some off with the spoon. All I got was a few big chunks. Having a male brain, I know the answer to most problems is a bigger hammer. So I placed the chunks of brown sugar in a glass measuring cup and gently tapped them with my indoor hammer to produce something on the order of frac sand rather than Sugar Loaf. Smaller chunks was the best I could do without smashing the measuring cup, cutting myself, filling the orange bowl with red stuff, and going to the ER for stitches. I am smarter than that (barely).

I got out my antique hand mixer. Once the brown sugar gets in with the other ingredients, it will get the idea, soften up, and I can reduce it with the mixer, I figured. Were you aware that when those revolving mixer blades hit something with the consistency of gravel, they will throw it great distances around a kitchen? Now I went back to the big spoon and smushed each big chunk against the side of the bowl and left the little hard pieces as surprises for the cookie eaters.

I baked them and they tasted really good, so what the heck. While I was cleaning up, I wondered if someone had come into my kitchen and seen a claw hammer drying in the rack with spoons and mixer beaters, what would they think.

Only about two more weeks to go and I haven’t sent any cards yet. Of course I haven’t gotten any either. I haven’t got my tree up and I can’t decide on the small tree or the miniature one; I’d better get the hammer.

Help a widowed person decorate a tree this week. Alnada2704@gmail.com, or care of Winona Post, P.O. Box 27, Winona, Minn., 55987



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