Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: Sugar and Spice Surprise…
By Helen Dowd
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It was to be a surprise. My husband's mother was flying in for his birthday. Pretending to be nonchalant about his special day, I told Hubby I was going to make his favourite cookies, "Sugar and Spice Surprise".
I had all the ingredients in, except for the final one--the allspice--when the phone rang. Mom's plane had arrived early. "I've got to go to town," I said to Hubby. "You'll have to finish the cookies. Just add the allspice to the flour and mix them up. The kids can help."
Hubby called the kids. "Ellie, Mom said you kids would help me finish making these cookies. She said all I had to do was add all spice. Do you know what she meant?"
Ellie looked blank. She called her older sister, "Sis, Mom said to add all the spices to the cookies. Do you know where the spices are?"
"I do. I do," little Dena piped up. Mommy keeps them up there in that cupboard.
All eight children gathered around Hubby, eager to help.
"We have to add all the spices to the cookies and get them into the oven, real fast," Ellie instructed. "Hurry up. Get down all the spices. Hand them to Dad."
"Okay," said Hubby. "Each of you pick a spice to add. The recipe says one-quarter teaspoon of all spice. A quarter teaspoon isn't very much," he instructed the little ones, handing them each a spoon. The children stood with a spoon in one hand and a spice bottle in the other, waiting their turn at the cookies.
Donny, the youngest, was first to add his spice. Daddy helped him measure the CAYENNE into the spoon. He carefully dropped it into the flour. Then it was Dirk's turn. His spice was GARLIC POWDER. In it went. Then Dena, wanting to pick the prettiest, measured out some CURRY POWDER. Davie, always the cautious one, picked out TUMERIC. Dane came along with his contribution, OREGANO. He took a deep sniff. "Boy that smells great!" he said, dropping his spice into the flour. Now it was Ellie's turn. She picked CUMIN, again because of its pretty colour. Sis, looking doubtful, was sure that MACE would make a good addition. She carefully measured out her quarter spoonful. She'd helped Mom with cooking a lot, and had learned the importance of exact measurements. Denny came bounding into the kitchen. He grabbed his spoon. He picked MUSTARD. Now it was Dad's turn. He was dubious about all the additions, but he knew that PAPRIKA wouldn't hurt, so he put in a quarter spoonful of paprika. It added to the pretty mixture already in the flour.
Hubby stirred up the flour, dumped it into the shortening, sugar and egg mixture. The kids helped roll the dough into little balls, and with Sissy's instruction, placed them correctly onto the cookie sheet. She set the oven for 350, remembering that's what Mom did. Placing the cookies carefully on the rack, she turned the timer on to 10 minutes.
Mission accomplished. Dad got down 9 glasses and poured out the milk. The kids sat around waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven. The first batch finished, Dad carefully removed them from the pan, warning the children they'd have to wait until they cooled before sampling them. "When I was a little boy," he told to the kids, "Mom made these cookies a lot. They're my favourite. I could smell them a block away. Even before I got into the houseâ€”"Suddenly, in the middle of his sentence, the door opened.
"Mom!" Hubby threw himself at his mother. The kids all clamoured around. The cookies were forgotten.
When supper was over, I suggested that we sample the family's joint effort of making Grandma's cookie recipe. I poured milk into fresh glasses, and everyone grabbed a cookie.
I will never forget the look on the faces of the family when they took their first bite of cookie...I think it Hubby who made it to the kitchen sink first, to spit out his cookie and to rinse his mouth out with water to rid himself of the taste of those disastrous cookies.
I wonder if that's where the saying, TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE BROTH came from. Oops!
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