Tag Archives: baking

Frivolous Friday: Greasing Palms…er, Pans

So, this morning I made muffins. No matter how many tried-and-true methods and products I’ve used, my muffins always stick tot he pan. Always. I buy good pans. Sticky. I buy “the best on the market” oils and greases and sprays. Sticky.

Let me tell you, it gets frustrating to always have chewed-on looking muffins.

Bad looking muffins=new product or method.

Finally, I found a cake grease that actually works. If I use a lot of it. Which I didn’t for two of my poor muffins today. And it got me thinking that in life, we are always greasing the way for things to go smoothly.

Some call it networking and some call it…well, this is a family friendly blog, so I won’t quite go there. But the point is the same. You behave a certain way, or do certain favors to gain a foothold in this tenuous thing called life.

As parents, we may suck up to other parents so our kids get invited to the coveted birthday party of the season or play on a specific baseball team or start as quarterback. As employees, we may butter-up our bosses to get that promotion. Students brown-nose while politicians glad-hand.

We’re all guilty on some level of playing the greasy-palm game.

Writers, you are too. Ooops, we are. It’s how we make ourselves marketable. We may glom onto the twitter queen in hopes of garnering half her followers just by association. Or, we schmooze at conferences when we’d rather poke our eyes out with a sharp stick.

Life is greasy, and sometimes those who get the dirtiest get ahead.

Alas, however, the case cannot be said for my poor muffins. My poor sad muffins who now taste like grease instead of poppy seed, and fill my hands with a slimy residue I can’t get rid of.

I guess greasing palms and pans can have some serious consequences, too.

So, what do you think? Have you greased any palms lately to get ahead in your life? If so, did it work? Has a greasy-palm plan backfired for you? Or, are you the hard-working, quiet muffin that looks a little rougher for the wear, but is really delicious inside?

And what, pray tell, do you use to get your muffins out of the pan without altering their inherent goodness?!?!?!

Curious minds want to know.

Novel Failings of a Non-Baking Mom

Middle was asked to go to a friend’s house.  He excitedly relayed a fond memory from sleep-overs past at this particular home.  Namely that the mom makes dessert.

This triggered a memory for me: one in which Eldest told my sister (after he spent the night there baking dozens of cookies) that his mom (ie, me) didn’t know how to make cookies, only buy them.

For the record, I do know how to bake and can whip up a mean pumpkin pie–homemade crust and all.  I also only ever buy Oreos for my kids,  even though Eldest made it sound like our pantry is filled with boxes and bags and containers of these sugar-filled treats.

Early on in our marriage, Dear Hubby and I simply ate our meals sans dessert.  It was a habit we haven’t broken.  Neither of us are huge cookie fans, so batches of them mold well before they are consumed.  Ditto for cake.

In fact, we don’t even make cake for birthdays anymore because nobody in our house really eats them.

I’m a bad mom.  A failed mom.  A dessertless mom.

But…but, none of our kids are chubby, they devour zucchini and think that pomegranates are candy.  They are deprived, but not too much, as every once in a while, I will bake as a special treat.  They eat a little of it and we usually throw the rest away.

In other words, while they like desserts, their love for them is more ideological than real.

In my mind, great novels are zucchini and pomegranates.  They are roast beef and baby baked potatoes, chicken breasts and salads.  They are rare desserts on special occasions.

All the way from word choice to plot points and characterization, stable and steady is the key.  Solid, filling, healthy.  Then when we use an adverb, it really packs a punch.

Desserts–love them or hate them–too much is never a good thing.

As a reader, what do you consider the dessert of a novel?  What little things sweeten the books you love?  What makes a novel hard to choke down?

As a writer, what is your stand-by dessert, the one that usually needs cut to lean up your manuscript?

One of my shortcomings is packing too much into a tiny space.  Because I write about heavy issues, I have to be very careful not to make my novels issue heavy.