When Baking Leftovers Combine, I am…

June 2011

I am the daughter of invention.

When I first changed my eating habits, I was excessively and naively vigilant.  I wouldn’t touch anything other than 100%, whole grains.  I tried to avoid fat (foolish, young Quelcy, fat is for all), my sugar intake was low, and I barely ate meat.  If that approach to eating sounds miserable, know that it was.  Eventually, I came to see food quite, quite differently for reasons that should ring clear throughout With The Grains.

However, in that epoch, my sister was extremely frustrated by my laundry list of “won’t eats.”  She told me to find a dessert recipe I would eat for the conclusion of our Thanksgiving meal.  Dessert is a very important course in our household, and she didn’t like taking no for an answer.

(Tosha probably washing dessert off my little baby body)

Though it seems like ancient history, this was the time pre-internet-inundation of recipes and food blogs offering solutions for every type of pickiness and dietary woe.  Still, I found a “healthy” pumpkin pie recipe with a whole grain crust and probably without butter (no longer my enemy, in fact, my old friend).

The big dessert moment arrived.  My sister presented the beautiful pumpkin pie with the healthy coloration of whole grains.  I appreciated her efforts to accommodate me and anxiously took my first forkful.  It took every ounce of reserve to chew and swallow that bite.  It was awful.  It was a spice pie with a pinch of pumpkin.  How could a pie be that awful?

My mother took a bite to help answer that question.   It was the nutmeg, the overpowering nutmeg, rendering the pie inedible.  My sister brought the recipe for my mom’s experienced review.  There was a costly typo, and what should have been a minor teaspoon or so of nutmeg was some outrageous, exaggerated quantity (instilling in me a healthy paranoia about posting recipes to the world wide web.  Dear Readers, I hope never to lead you astray resulting in a costly, spicy consequence).

I stared at my slice of pie really wanting to eat it for my sister’s sake, but there was no amount of mind-over-matter that I could muster for the sake of her efforts.  Nor did I want an entire pie to go to waste.  I looked at my mom, at my mother, the master of changing recipes according to the cupboards’ supply levels and asked, “Is there any hope for this tragic incident?”

There was so much more than hope!  There was an unrepeatable and overwhelming success!  In a typical, unassuming and humble manner, my mother mashed up that spice pie, muted its flavor and incorporated it into a pumpkin bread recipe.  I kid you not, it was the best pumpkin bread I have ever eaten, and it was a one-time occurrence, but it was a one-time occurrence I will never forget.

Not only did this incident exemplify my mother’s flexible (and delicious) baking style, but it instilled in the future baker, in me, a flare for the experimental.  I wasn’t scared of baking, and I definitely didn’t view that branch of the food world as one laden with rules, as most people do.

Thus, I owe my mother many thanks!  I owe my mother maaaaaaaaaaanny thanks actually, but for the sake of this story, I would specifically like to thank my mother for imparting in me a joy of baking that extends beyond rules and boundaries and converts mistakes into the best bread I have ever eaten.

Thank you, mom!

When Two Leftovers Combine, I am… a Planeteer?

It happens:  extra batters, extra icing, extra whipped toppings, etc.  It’s just a part of the baking game, or at least, my baking game.  What to do with them?  I channel my mother’s lessons and create something brand new.

When your leftovers combine, I am…

… mildly still obsessed with one of my favorite childhood cartoons (click on the image to see the theme song!!).  Have you noticed how heavy handed the Cold War theme is?  That element was completely over my head as a child.

I digress.

When Two Leftovers Combine

I had leftover icing from this birthday cake and leftover batter from this barter cake.

I also had some chocolate chips and pecans in the baking cupboard.

So I chopped the pecans…

and spread them across a buttered, 9×13 glass pan and followed with a chocolate chip layer.

Then I mixed the beet whipped cream and the chocolate batter and poured the vibrant result across the chocolate chips and pecans.

I baked the new creation and then gussied up a slice.

Then came the best part…I dug in!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Sandra

    Quelcy, that first photo…wow. Before I scrolled down to reveal the baby bump (idk why they call it that..) I thought, “Oh there goes Q, playing with the photoshop again…” and then BAM! It’s you, your face, on your mom, it’s amazing.
    I really liked this post, and not just because of the photos. It’s just such a wonderful story, it makes me want to call my mom…and I would too, if I hadn’t already seen her earlier today 🙂

    1. withthegrains

      Ha! I haven’t photoshopped myself pregnant yet- too scary at this point?!? However, if I do have kids one day, I will indeed have to try to recreate my mom’s outfits and poses. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Erica

    Your mom would love this. Has she read it yet? Good ole Momma Kogel – I will testify to her baked good greatness…always a treat. And this site (and you) are incredible. Good stuff all around.

    1. withthegrains

      Thanks Erica for visiting my corner of the blogosphere! My mom did see the post, and she loved it. It was a really unifying moment for us.

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