My father-in-law Jerry turned 92 last week, and all seven of the siblings and many of the spouses gathered to celebrate. At this point in his life, he lives with daughter Kathy and her husband, Charlie in Knoxville, TN.
Because there were eight us joining her already bustling house for the weekend, we told Kathy not to prepare a thing. We’d handle the food. She mostly listened, but like any good cook and host she couldn’t help herself.
As we were cleaning up from our first night’s dinner, Kathy pulls dough from the fridge and shows us cookies that never materialized. Turns out it was dough for Gingerbread Straws from Perfect Recipe For Losing Weight and Eating Great, a fun cookie I hadn’t made in awhile.
She had hoped to bake the cookies that afternoon, their spicy aroma to welcome us as we arrived. In her rush to ready the house, she was frustrated that she had simply run out of time. Her best-laid plans lay dormant in the fridge.
After a late leisurely breakfast the next morning, the brothers headed outdoors to play horseshoes with their dad. (At 92 Jerry not only still plays horseshoes, he beat the crap out of his three strapping sons.) Some of us continued to hang out in the kitchen and start on lunch.
As we chopped and sautéed, Kathy quietly pulled her dough from the fridge and set up shop at the kitchen table, rolling, cutting, baking, cooling. As a couple of the sisters returned from an outing, the potent gingery scent led them straight to the kitchen. A little rowdy from their game of horseshoes, the guys quickly quieted as they grabbed a cooling cookie from the wire rack. One by one over the course of the afternoon, the Ginger Straws dwindled.
Trying to cram multiple celebrations into a very short weekend we had bought a cake for Saturday lunch. There was another massive cake for the big birthday celebration on Saturday night. No surprise here. There was tons of leftover store-bought cake from both parties and not a single Ginger Straw to be found.
Lessons re-learned. When store bought goes up against homemade, it doesn’t stand a chance. Don’t fret to get it all done. There’s always another day and likely a better way.