My Scottish grandmother was a terrific baker. The Waterloo for most home bakers is pie crust. Snap. How about nice crumbly scones? Double snap. I can make those both very well, thanks to her. Having left school at 14 (typical then), and with no desire to work in a factory (horrible work), a shop (nice young girls did not mix with strangers), or a pub (are you kidding?) she had been a housekeeper to a couple of, as they said in the U.K. way back when, “retired gentlewomen.” Bake well, keep your job. That will raise your game. Marriage whisked her away from all that. World War II finished the social re-ordering begun during World War I, and I assume retired gentlewomen now order in. Or maybe they have Posh Meals on Wheels?
All by way of saying today, here in Southern California , in a world unimaginable by my Granny Glen, was Muffins With Moms day at Juliet’s elementary school. Earlier in the year was Donuts With Dads. Next month, Oatmeal With Old Folks? Kidding.
Juliet awoke at about 6:30, got dressed and woke me at 6:42, informing me she would come back at 7 a.m. at which time I would be getting up. She’s been getting herself up and dressed for the past week, much to our fascination. I dozed a bit and then she did return at 7 and I dutifully got in the shower. By 7:35 I was wearing a nice blouse and jacket with my customary jeans and we were curling her hair so we would both be looking our best.
To make it on time for the 7:45 beginning (we always arrive as close to first as possible for all school events. It’s not considered uncool until you are about 15, I think), we drove the 2 blocks to school. Mock me if you will, but that nice warm car was awesome during today’s 20 mile an hour winds. We parked near the school, joining the throng of mostly Hondas and SUVs bearing moms and kids. The Multi Purpose Room had plenty of mom and child volunteers directing us to the treat-laden tables. Today was a modest fundraiser mostly meant for us to have a little downtime before the rush of real life. I mean how much money can you make when the muffins are 25 cents for small, 50 cents for big, and coffee or milk costs a quarter?
Back to my Gran and her home baking. Everything on offer was a steroidal leaden bomb from the grocery. Not even a bakery muffin in sight. Sigh. Who bakes any more? Answer: no one, at least when it comes to feeding 700 moms and kids. We spied some mini cinnamon rolls and bought 3. And they were pretty darn good. So was the Starbucks coffee and actual half and half for said coffee. Since our choice was between sitting outside in the wind and having a picnic in the car, guess where we went?
So we hung out for about 30 minutes, watching people arrive and fight the wind up the hill to the school. We cruised for tunes on the radio and blasted the heat. Too many drive time commercials. We put in our well-worn Kids Bop 20 c.d. Those are covers of popular songs with cleaned up lyrics sung by talented kid singers who are not famous. Cleaned up Lada Gaga. Cleaned up sexy dance numbers with the sex taken out. Cleaned up ballads without references to drugs or suicide. Kinda nice, actually.
We joked about keeping our cinnamon rolls secret since they did not start with “m.” We tried to think of other breakfast foods that start with “m.” “Milky Way”, chortled Juliet. “Milkshake”, she added. “Meat”, said I, half-heartedly. At the thought of meat, Milky Ways and a milkshake for breakfast, Juliet laughed too much and spit milk on her shirt, her knee and parts of the seat. Thank god for black pants and plenty of napkins. Too soon, it was time to face the wind.
Back home, John asked where his muffin order was. Hmm. Juliet did not mention a muffin order.
Oh well. Guess I’ll be making muffins this weekend.