Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Pumpkin Bread Kerfuffle

 My neighbors are generous. Every year they gift me holiday cookies and fancy quick bread. This year for Christmas, I returned the favor and baked homemade pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin bread is easy to make, but I've baked nothing in five years. I even downsized my spices, because they were decades old. So I had to start from the beginning. Besides eggs, butter, and canned pumpkin, I needed flour, baking powder, and ground cloves. After I got home, I realized the recipe made two loaves. I'd purchased double helpings.

I began by mixing the flour, spices and salt together, and put the sugar, butter, and eggs in a bigger, second bowl. Trying to use my electric mixer for the sugar concoction, I couldn't get the beaters to stay in the sockets. After struggling for 10 minutes, I drove to Target and bought a new mixer. 

This was a big afternoon concession because with the pandemic I always shop as soon as a store opens for the day. There are fewer shoppers then. At the store, I selected a hand mixer and was lucky to find a clerk looking for people to help. With no lines and no waiting, I paid and was out the door in fifteen minutes. 

Back home, I sanitized the mixer and beaters with Clorox wipes then finished the cooking process. The recipe made more than I expected. I really bought too much stuff.

Washing the bowls and utensils, I started a second batch. When I got to the sugar mixture, I couldn't get the second beater to go in the new mixer. Frustrated, I took a "time out". Looking around my kitchen drawers, I found another set of beaters. Wondering why they were there, I tried them on my old mixer and they worked. So I finished the second batch of pumpkin bread with my old mixer.

The next morning, with more quick bread to make, I put the beaters in the new mixer with only a little effort. Now I have two hand mixers that work. I like the new one because its beaters' shape fits the bowl better than the old one. But - there's always a "but" - the new mixer's vibration is annoying.

At the end of my baking, I had 9 pumpkin loaves, three unopened cans of pumpkin, six eggs, plus assorted fresh staples. The day before Christmas, I wrapped three loaves and drove them to my daughter and stepkids' houses. Like a reverse trick-or-treat, I left them on their doorstep, rang the bell, and left. A homemade surprise for the morning.

Returning home after my Santa Claus distribution effort, I put bows on the remaining six loaf pans and wrote cards to go with them. After the sun was up Christmas day I carried each to my cul d sac's six generous neighbors, hoping they're found before they freeze.

There should be a moral to this story. Please, tell me what you think it is.

What I learned is ...  I enjoy baking for friends and family. It keeps me on my feet and moving, lowers my blood pressure. I look forward to more.

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