On a recent cooking show contest one of the judges made a comment about one of the contestants. “She’s a disaster in the kitchen.”
Yes, I could relate to her. Everyone who knows me personally knows I can be a disaster in the kitchen. That contestant, despite turning out to be a disaster in the kitchen with the mess, created some pretty appetizing foods.
I am not known as the Christmas cookie-baking grandma. The other grandmas get that title and my grandkids can decorate Christmas cookies so beautifully that they look like they were professionally done. If I am doing it, I slap a little frosting on, and it’s good to go. However, I do sometimes like to putter around making new things that need to taste good, but don’t have to look good.
Since it is the Christmas season I decided to invite some friends over for coffee. My husband has to eat gluten-free, and so he could join us in the eating, I decided to bake some pumpkin gluten-free doughnut holes before my company arrived.
This is the part where I tell you that my husband and I cannot share a kitchen because my creative way of baking drives Mr. Neat crazy. This day he only entered the kitchen when I asked, and I know he had to clamp his lips shut for a few minutes as he was helping me.
I chose that morning to wear a black sweater. Do you remember the “I Love Lucy” shows where Lucy had flour all over her? Yup, that was me. Mr. Keep Lips Clamped Shut couldn’t keep from laughing and making some kind of remark when he saw me.
There was gluten-free flour all over me. I couldn’t help it if my baking cup had turned into a powder puff.
I have fun when I am putzing in the kitchen, and I don’t care if I make a mess. I would be perfect for a television cooking show for the funny cook. I don’t agonize over the comments anymore. I have fun and don’t take my cooking methods too seriously. On this baking day, however, I had great joy in a couple of mishaps by Mr. Neat and later on in the day by a story shared by a Facebook friend.
It was finally Mr. Neat’s turn in the kitchen. His job — dipping the doughnut holes in butter and tossing the holes in sugar and cinnamon. It was an easy task if you have the right tools such as a big plastic bag to shake.
We were out. Digging in my cupboard he found an old Tupperware container. When I say old, I mean old, such as 40 years old. You might remember in those days the lids were a little harder to secure.
I left the kitchen since we don’t sync so well. I heard a little noise and a few under-the-breath comments. I had to see what was happening. My floor and tabletops were redecorated with sugar and cinnamon. The top had not held and my kitchen got a shower.
I loved it! Someone else could bake like I do. He was learning from me.
Later in the day another friend of mine had been making holiday treats. She left them on top of her car in the garage to cool. You guessed it — she forgot about them.
In her haste she jumped into her car, backed out of her garage and traveled to her destination forgetting that her holiday treats had been — the operative words — on the top of her car. I loved that she was comfortable enough to share her little mishap with us and take a lot of ribbing.
I don’t apologize for the fact I am Mrs. Mess in the kitchen. My food turns out OK, sometimes delicious as the doughnut holes did, and I have fun not worrying about being so perfect and keeping my kitchen spotless. I am the one who has to clean up my mess.
My grandchildren joke and laugh about Grandma in the kitchen. I am the craft Grandma, and so we do other things. But they also know I make a mess when I do that, too. You should see the mess we make when we make homemade marshmallows.
I work better if I don’t have to worry about keeping everything perfect. It is a part of my creative process even when it comes to cooking. But I do keep it sanitary for those out there who now are scared to eat anything I make. Have you seen my chapped hands from washing them so much?
If you are staying away from the holiday baking because your cookies don’t turn out as beautiful and perfect as your neighbors, don’t worry about it. If you are staying away from creating gifts for your loved ones because they might turn out a little strange, don’t worry about it.
Have fun doing what you love even if it is not perfect. I have to tell you that when you are being unperfectly creative, it will be one of a kind.
Create away and — if you like to take a flour shower — don’t wear black.