Well. It seems I’ve gone feral.

Feral — that’s the opposite of domesticated, right?Well I’m there, or almost. Soon as I learn to scratch my ear with my hind foot, I’m all set.

I have never been a fancy cook. But I could turn out a casserole or lasagna or pot of soup or, occasionally, a baked ham, for the enjoyment of my then-husband and our friends. I also baked cakes, cookies (ex-hubby LOVES cookies), or cobbler from scratch.

And then, I got divorced.

Over the past 7 years, I’ve been cooking for myself less and less and eating more and more cereal, frozen pizza, canned soup, spaghetti, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, raw veggies, and fresh fruit. Some weeks, I only have to wash dishes once because I’ve used so few of them. However, this week I needed to bake a batch of cookies for my friend Mark. He recently built a cat door onto the basement window for me, and last year when he did some work around my house, we developed a baked-goods-based economy. So new cat door = 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, I bought the chips and skipped home to be domestic. That’s where things went very, very wrong. First, I couldn’t remember how long the last two eggs had been in my fridge. But they didn’t smell, so I threw them in. Then, as I was measuring out the flour, I noticed a few bugs….live, wormy little bugs in the flour, which has been in my cupboard for, well, forever. Now, I do know a few things about flour and bugs — the eggs come in the flour, right in the package, because they are as tiny as flour grains and can’t be sifted out. The thing is, we usually use the flour before they hatch (sticking the flour in the freezer works, too). And I also know that our hardy forebearers simply sifted the inevitable bugs out of the flour and so, being both cheap and broke, that’s what I did. I do want it noted that I would have been perfectly comfortable eating the resulting cookies. But then, as we are finding out, I’m practically feral.

If the idea of feeding my friend the handyman buggy cookies bothers you, don’t despair and keep reading. After sifting the flour, I had just barely enough for the recipe. The cookie batter was very liquid, like pancake batter,* so I decided to bake it up as a pan cookie. I poured the batter into a greased pan, stuck it in a 375* oven, cleaned up the kitchen,** and settled down at the kitchen table to grade papers. After about 15 minutes, I smelled something burning. Somehow, the oven dial had gotten turned all the way to broil. The pan of cookies had risen about 2 inches, fallen in the middle, and was now charred black.

So, on Monday I confessed my cookie sins to my buddy Kathy, Mark’s wife, and asked her to bring me two duck eggs on Tuesday. Kathy and Mark keep their own ducks and often give me fresh eggs, since I usually just need one or two. This morning, two enormous duck eggs sat on my desk, wedged into a regular cardboard chicken egg carton. I would just run to the store after work, buy some chocolate chips and flour, zip home, and cookie goodness would ensue. Except I got all the way to my car in the parking lot and realized I’d left the eggs in my office. I ran back in, grabbed the eggs, and promptly dropped one.

Kathy was standing right there when I dropped the egg. She looked at the mess, looked at me, and said, “for dinner on Thursday, you just bring the ice.” Our two student workers may still be laughing.

I took my remaining duck egg, went to the store, and bought a box of brownie mix. It seems I can still follow directions and stir, because a pan of lovely, correctly baked, bug-free, not really homemade brownies are sitting on my counter. I am not counting this a success, however, until they are safely in Mark’s possession.

And now, I need to go have a flea dip and then run around and mark some territory. Being feral — it’s the new yoga.

*could this be due to old eggs?

**I may be feral, but I’m clean

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4 responses »

  1. This reminds me of the time in junior-high home ec when we were supposed to make chocolate-chip cookies, except that my group somehow substituted the baking powder for the flour, which meant that shortly after the batter had been put in the oven, we smelled something odd and heard a strange bubbling, sucking sound and turned around to find the Mutant Chocolate Chip Cookie Monster creeping through the edges of the oven door as it cackled in glee and extended its evil pseudopods, while we all fled screaming into the hall.

    This is why Gary’s the cook at my house.

    I met Kathy and Mark, right? They’re the ones with all the critters? Please say hi for me!

  2. Poor, poor Mark. I have the feeling he will only eat your cookies and brownies after thorough inspection and sniff test from now on. Speaking of you making homemade cobbler–do you know (have a recipe) for how Mom used to turn a can of cheap peaches into a really great cobbler? Or was that only during “Hard Times for Linda and Diane?”

  3. Ah, bugs in the flour. Brings back fond memories for me… you see, while we lived in Yap and the only flour we could get had bugs in it – fresh from the store – well, it was my job to pick the bugs out of the flour. Standard practice at my house. I did not know about the eggs in the flour, though, and it is probably a good thing I didn’t. BTW, it was also my job to pick out the bugs from the cake mixes we bought at the store. Good times.

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