Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Memory Loss And Ageing

Recently, Fred and I attended a seminar on Memory Loss and Ageing.  The multi-titled Doctor suggested many tips for coping with   hiding the memory loss  so common in those of us of a certain age.  One of the tips was not to multi-task.  Leave that to the younger, more memory-abled brains was the suggestion.

The problem with these suggestions is that when you have ML&A you forget.  Which is why I decided to run a marathon of the baking (not the Boston) type yesterday.

My assignment for the family Easter dinner is desserts. My one dessert is a last minute thing, but the second dessert planned is Carrot Cake.    Easy to make ahead and freeze.   And since we had a giant supply of carrots (ask Fred, the household grocery shopper, who  suffers from ML&A too, about our giant supply of carrots)  I decided to also bake Carrot Muffins. Grate one pound, grate several, right?

Although my assigned  Easter dinner duty is simply dessert, because our family get-together is a sleep-over (and I'm an over-achiever) I volunteered to make home-made Hot Cross Buns for breakfast.  Not as challenging as one might think.  Just my routine bread recipe with the addition of spices and currants.  Lastly, because Marie of Sel&Poivre had shared her recipe for the world's best Chocolate Chip Cookies,  I decided to bake them as well. Why not?  The flour's already out, right?

The plan was to grate the giant supply of carrots, mix the carrot cakes ( my recipe makes two ), get them in the oven, then start the bread.  Once the bread dough was set to rise, make the muffins with the already- grated carrots, then lastly the cookies. 

Now, any sane person would  set aside the entire  day to run a marathon of this sort.  But me, having always suffered from a delusional deception of what I can accomplish in any given number of hours, set aside a couple of hours after lunch. With the food processor full of grated carrots and only a few little orange bits on the cabinetry, I  made the cakes.  Into the oven they went, then on with the bread dough.  Once it was rising, I started to prepare the muffin batter.  Half way through, that job, I glanced at Marie's recipe to note that the cookie dough had to be chilled before baking.  Hmmm.  perhaps I should re-order things.  Mix the cookie dough, set it in the frig, then finish the muffins.  No problem.  I might suffer from ML&A but  I'm adaptable.

Marie's recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.  Holy Doodle!! No wonder they were the world's best chocolate chip cookies.   And it seemed to be difficult to get that amount mixed in.  In fact I stopped far short of that amount.  There just wasn't room for any more chips.  At the bottom of her recipe, Marie had written a note that she often doubles the recipe as it freezes well.  I wondered if maybe she was thinking about  the  doubling process and incorrectly doubled the amount of chips. That's what I - a sufferer of ML&A - would do.    I thought about emailing her to ask.  But I was running a marathon here.  What if she was out?  Walking the dog or some such?   My day wasn't really set up to wait patiently for an answer.  And Marie is way younger than I am.  She doesn't suffer from ML&A yet.  She wouldn't make such an error.  I carried on.

I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and into the frig it went.  I checked on the cakes, the rising buns and then turned back to the partially mixed muffins.  What the heck?  What was that bowl of flour?  Where did that belong?  White flour.  Not much.  In a bowl on the counter.  Did I miss putting it in the cakes?  Not likely, they looked fine.  Was it meant for the buns?  No , I make them with whole wheat flour.  Should it  go in the muffin batter?  No, I intended to make them with whole wheat flour and had only mixed the liquids so far.  Hmmm.  Could it belong in the cookie dough?  Oh, My Gosh! That doctor was right. I suffer from ML&A.   I am too old to multi-task.  What recipe have I ruined?

If the flour was meant for the cookies, had I already added the soda and salt?  I couldn't tell.  I grabbed the dough out of the frig and examined it closely. It did have that grainy texture of creamed butter and brown sugar.    Was it missing flour?  By the process of elimination, this was the only place it could belong.  Should I add soda and salt? What if I already had added that?  Would double soda and salt be worse than no soda and salt?  I decided it would be.  I added the flour to the dough and guess what?  2 1/2 cups of chips are possible. 

Except for the war-zone appearance of my kitchen by 5pm, all was  well that ended well.  There were two Carrot Cakes, one dozen Carrot Muffins and  36 Hot Cross Buns in my freezer.  And 36 of the world's best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the  jar.

I think people run marathons because when it's over, they feel so darn good about having survived it.   Another baking marathon survived!  Plus,  the additional, euphoric feeling of knowing that  I beat back  the dreaded ML&A for one more day.


Sandra said...

I'm famous for melting the butter in the microwave, then forgetting it. My apple cheddar muffin recipe really NEEDS the butter, as I found out last time, after finding the melted butter in the microwave, and the sad looking non buttery muffins on the counter...

Deb said...

I am famous for putting the kettle on the stove for a pot of tea and then start something else while it boils and boils and boils away. I should get a whistling kettle but I can never remember when I'm in a store where I might buy one. Well done with your baking marathon. I wouldn't even take that on.

Vera said...

Your Blog gave me the first chuckle of the day. Priceless. Loved your writing style. Keep it up. Have a great Easter and how about sharing that recipe for the cookies please???

Sel and Poivre said...

You figured out why those cookies are so good! I've given that recipe to many people, they usually go light on the chips and then complain they aren't as good as mine.

My Beloved says if you increase the ingredient named in the recipe it almost always tastes better. (Although with carrot cake I don't increase the carrots, I double the icing!) I've tweeked a few things from the recipe found on the back of the "Chipits" bag from which my cookie recipe is derived but the quantity of chips is 2 1/2 times whats originally called for!

It sounds like you're going to have a fabulous Easter feast!

LynS said...

Your kitchen must have smelled so wonderful at the end of this marathon baking session. Enjoy your family Easter.

Needles said...

One task at a time. I knit. One task. ;)

Laurie said...

I think I have to go take a nap after reading this post. Brenda, you're starting to act like me...try to do ten thousand things in one day, yup, that's me. But I'll bet you could bottle and sell the wonderful smells in your house after all that baking. :-)