frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adventures In The Cowgirl's Kitchen, Part 1

10:00 Since I arrived at my sister the cowgirl's place last Sunday for a visit, she's been talking a lot about a gingerbread house competition she wants to enter. Today is the day that we are going to embark on this project. I told her I'd "help" but we all know what that means. (Hey, someone has to make sure everything tastes the way it's supposed to, right?)

10:15 The cowgirl turns on the stereo and the soundtrack from O Brother Where Art Thou starts playing. The cowgirl begins trying to tape together the cardboard skeleton of the house, which has been designed and cut out by her husband the cowboy before he left to pick up some hay.

Apparently the house is going to be a mansion. The cowgirl hopes the gingerbread sections (which "we" are going to make from scratch) will fit on her baking pans. I hope so, too, if for no other reason than that it will be a lot more peaceful around here if they do.

10:25 It turns out that cardboard is less cooperative than you might think.

10:29 The cowgirl is taking measurements, making drawings, and trying to get the house to stand up. "The roof is going to be the bear," says the cowgirl. My thoughts exactly. Or something like that.

10:47 Not for the first time, the cowgirl expresses concern about how big the gingerbread pieces will have to be. In the background, I hear voices singing a mournful chorus: "I am weary, let me rest." I suspect it's an omen but for once I keep my opinion to myself.

10:55 I am given the job of whipping some cream and vanilla together until it develops "soft peaks." Not being experienced in these matters, I'm not sure what this means, but figure I'lll find out. The cowgirl says I can use the handheld electric whisk, or just do it on my own power. I opt for the latter because "I need the exercise" but in reality it's because I'm too lazy to put together and plug in the electric whisk.

11:04 Whoever invented the handheld electric whisk deserves a medal.

11:15 I get in trouble for pausing the whisk so that I can sing along with the last song on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.

11:25 Finally, the whipping cream is done, which is good because my right tricep is about to go on strike, electric whisk notwithstanding. R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People album is playing now. Ever so subtly, the atmosphere changes.

11:37 The gingerbread dough is all mixed! The cowgirl starts rolling it out. She stops, looks at the dough sticking to the rolling pin. "I can see this is going to get really obnoxious," she says. She's right. And what's even more obnoxious is how it takes both of us to try to lift the (giant) gingerbread pieces and move them to a baking sheet, and yet we still can't prevent the pieces from tearing.

"How does anyone do stuff like this by themselves?" I wonder aloud.

"I don't know!" the cowgirl wails. I pick up some of the scraps and eat them. Mmm, the sweet taste of silver lining...

12:05 Looks like we have a choice between making another batch of gingerbread dough or making the house smaller. The cowgirl and I glance at each other. She gets out her measuring tape and an X-acto knife.

12:15 The cowboy's returned with a truckful and then some of hay. The cowgirl has to run out and help him unload. I'd join them, but someone has to eat, I mean guard, the gingerbread dough. Besides, it's raining out there. Brrr.

More to come, I'm sure. Stay tuned.


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