Oh, sometimes I despair of ever being able to cook anything resembling a decent meal! All the times I tried cooking when I was younger, I always assumed it just got easier to do when you were grown up.
Well, it doesn’t. I’m beginning to feel sorry for Riley He tries so hard to eat anything I make without complaining, but it’s hard to miss his grimace every time he takes a bite. He tries to keep a smile on his face, but I can tell he enjoyed the food the ranch hands cooked better than whatever I try to scrounge up in the kitchen.
Like today, for instance. I was determined to cook a good breakfast. At home, it was one of my favorite meals. There’s nothing like a good breakfast to get you ready for the day.
Riley has a fondness for flapjacks, and I hadn’t tried cooking any since we were married, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I made my way into the kitchen and flipped through the handy recipe book Mother gave me as a wedding present. I have to say, that gift was better than anything else we were given! Mother understands how hard it is for me to cook. I located the recipe for pancakes and scanned the ingredients.
In all honesty, it didn’t look that hard. There couldn’t have been more than half a dozen ingredients, and every one of them was simple. Buttermilk, flour, baking powder, eggs, salt, and butter. The measurements were clearly listed, and I was confident this would be the one breakfast I got right.
I scurried around collecting everything I would need and setting it on the counter. I double checked to be sure I had the baking powder and not the soda. I learned my lessons with that a long time ago!
Within minutes I had everything mixed together and ready to be cooked on the griddle. I was feeling quiet pleased. The batter was smooth, and it seemed just the right consistency. I got out the cast iron skillet and placed it on the stove. It heated quickly, and I measured out three dollops of batter.
It sizzled when it hit the pan and spread nicely into small circles. When they started bubbling, I flipped them. I grinned. They were perfectly golden brown!
I made a dozen more, and then decided it would be enough. Even with Riley as hungry as he normally was, we’d still have leftovers.
It took me no time to get the table set, and get the syrup, butter, orange juice, and coffee on. Bless Nila, she had brought some fresh butter and juice (from Circle C orange groves, of course) to us yesterday. I felt like hugging her at the sight of it! Juicing oranges is another thing I have yet to master. By the time I’m usually finished, sticky pulp and orange seeds are everywhere.
Finished, I stepped out to the porch and called to Riley. Within seconds he rounded the corner of the barn, a smile on his face. He stepped onto the porch, pressed a kiss to my forehead, and then sniffed. “Boy, something sure smells good!”
With that he stepped into the house. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I had managed to make a decent breakfast!
We sat at the table, and Riley said grace. And then, he slathered his pancakes with butter and syrup and took a bite. I watched him anxiously, waiting for his reaction.
To my surprise, he half choked, grabbed the glass of orange juice, and downed it in one gulp. A sickening feel settled in my stomach, and I took a teeny bit of one of my flapjacks. When I tasted it, I knew something had gone terribly wrong. It tasted like it had baking soda in it, but that couldn’t be! I had doubled checked to be sure I had the powder…
Suddenly, I knew what was wrong. Pushing my chair back from the table, I rushed into the kitchen. In the cupboard sat the baking powder. Two cans of it, while no baking soda was in sight.
I felt like throwing them across the room. Just last week I’d accidentally burned a hole in the baking soda box when I’d left it too near the stove. That was the same day I had finished off the last of the baking powder in one can. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to reuse the can. Only one problem: I had forgotten to tear off the original label.
Once again I had managed to use baking soda—a lot of it too.
I felt Riley step up behind me and put his arms around my shoulders. I took a deep breath, hoping he wouldn’t say anything about the breakfast I had tried so hard to prepare. I felt tears spring to my eyes, and I blinked them back. There was no way I was going to cry over yet another breakfast gone wrong.
“Thank you for breakfast, Andi. I know you worked hard on it.”
Riley’s simple words surprised me, and I whirled around. He smiled down at me, his gaze sincere. “They were the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever seen.”
At those words, I started laughing, and Riley looked at me in concern.
I shook my head. “They’d better be, with four teaspoons of baking soda!”
He joined me in laughing, and suddenly everything seemed all right. Sometimes, all we can do is laugh at our mistakes and learn from them. And learn I have. Never again will I reuse the baking powder can for baking soda!
But one day I’m gonna master that recipe. And I’m gonna learn to cook a decent meal that any man would be willing to eat!