April 2, 2010
I’ve taken an unannounced break from blogging for the last 3 months.
I was writing.
And taking care of sons #1 and #2. Which, surprisingly, is not less work when they leave home. But more on all of that in later posts. Right now, I have a story to tell.
This is Easter week, and even for non cooks, such as myself, there is generally some baking going on. More than usual at Casa de dos Quesos, because with #1 almost always away at school, I am trying to provide the illusion that his home was ever a haven of domestic tranquility.
And there is also a trip to my parent’s house scheduled. I have assured her repeatedly, Don’t bother cooking. Really. Don’t. No. For God’s sake. My favorite type of meat?
ANYTHING NOT MADE BY YOU.
We are still talking about the last meal she made, several years ago, with a main course of party ham, and a side of burned kielbasa. I have no idea what party that ham was going to, but take me off the guest list. The thing was so rubbery that it bounced.
She bought it at Walgreens.
I am not a cook. But I do not buy meat at a drug store. Let me handle the meal, please mom. We will probably go out. But since she is divesting herself of the contents of the kitchen cupboards, I helped myself to the lamb cake pan, with the plan of making one for her for Easter.
She used to tell me, back in the 60’s, when I was still a wide eyed child, that lamb cakes were too much work. She also used to tell me that I wouldn’t like butter. I do not believe everything I hear, in that house. And the lamb pan is over 40 years old. It is time to give the thing a shot.
I dragged #2 son into the process. I thought he’d be amused.
I did not want to make this too far ahead of time, because I do not like stale cake. We started out, with a basic yellow cake mix, and baked the thing in two halves. My mother used to tell me that it needed to be clamped together. See above about not believing everything you hear. But I encouraged #2 to beat the mix according to directions, and we ended up with something that, I think, was technically a sponge.
It baked to golden brown. We sliced the uneven tops off, filled it with apricot jam, and managed to get the two sides out of the pan without sticking.
And then, everything went to hell.
We stood poor lamby up. He bled apricots, and nodded at us. And nodded some more. And appeared to be about to fall asleep. Clearly, we were about to lose the head. I stepped in and grabbed him by the chin while #2 hunted for skewers. We were all out. So he grabbed a collection of toothpicks, and some bendy straws.
The first straw went in through the top of the head and out through the neck.
#2 (budding engineer): This provides no structural support.
Me: Toothpick him in the jugular. And count them as you put them in. We want to be able to find them. We do not want to choke grandma on Easter.
#2 He would look fine laying down.
Me: No, he wouldn’t. Get more toothpicks.
6 tooth picks later, we have an increasingly spiky lamb whose back is beginning to slip.
Me: Maybe duct tape.
#2 Maybe we should lay him down. His back is flat. We can stand him up later, when he starts to dry out.
Me: And fix everything with frosting.
We get a pair of spatulas, and use the sort of maneuver that you need in first aid, when someone has a back injury. The lamb is now resting comfortably, waiting to become stale enough to frost.
We will be trying this again. We are thinking brownie mix, since it is made to dry out.
Or perhaps, we will make a ground lamb meatloaf.