Our New Year’s Eve was pretty chill. I spent the day in a fever cleaning in preparation for the New Year. How dumb of me. As if the New Year was going to walk into my house at the stroke of midnight donning a white glove and take a finger to my windowsill. Well, personification or not, I passed that test, baby. At least in one room.
Yesterday brought the sharp realization that actual cleaning is way more time consuming than straightening up. I scrubbed. With hot soapy water. I polished candlestick holders. I even went through the boxes of miscellaneous stuff that we haven’t unpacked, only added to, through two house moves. I found a brand new set of measuring spoons which was a bit of a treat. You know what they say: you can never have too many measuring spoons.
My husband worked yesterday and is working again today, so a nite of severe partying with a case of Perrier was out of the question. He needed his beauty sleep in order to keep up his “hot nurse” look. Me, being a housefrau and all, need not look beautiful so I stayed up way too late and continued my mission to welcome in the New Year in a spotless house.
Another realization forced upon me last nite is that my house is too big for a one day overhaul. Come midnite, I had to settle for half a house of cleanliness. The other half was there to remind me of the previous year, all my failures and the fact that my kids won’t pick up a damn thing.
I had this fantasy that at 12 o’clock I would be polishing my fridge so that I could post as my Facebook update: Devadeva Mirel polished her fridge in both 2009 and 2010. This would have been cool because it would have simultaneously shown what a major loser I am while also inciting envy from the people who wish they could polish their refrigerator in back to back years. That probably would have made me the world record holder in something.
But again, plans dashed. Around 9:30 I started in on a big bag of Indian River grapefruit, paring and peeling and de-pithing. It takes so much time. Like, so. Much. Time. Call me slow, but one episode of 30 Rock didn’t even equal 2 grapefruit. More like 1.7 grapefruit. Needless to say, I was watching 30 rock until 3 am.
I didn’t candy any peel last nite. I just blanched what I worked on. Will do some more today and then cook it up with sugar. I want to make little parchment envelopes (stress on the word *little* since this handmade stuff is so time consuming) filled with an assortment of candied citrus peel as little party favors for my b-day celebration.
Okay. My birthday party. Is tomorrow. It is small scale. But I want it to be nice. There are too many details to tend to. I should have started a week ago. I have napkins to iron. NAPKINS! This always happens to me. I need 2 weeks prep, minimum. I have kids, dammit. Today I am going to put their little hands to work sewing buttons onto trim for simple napkin rings. Hey, that’s how the ones in Pier 1 are made. Some of the child laborers may even have the same names as my little slaves, er, I mean, kiddies.
Because I was so engrossed with applying Brasso to ever dulling metallic surface during the day, I neglected the huge mess in my kitchen. Poor husband got fed a New Year’s meal of pre-cut salad mixed with leftovers. I tasted it and it was good. But I still had to hook him up with a lunch for today. And did I mention that he volunteered me to make brownies for the New Year’s Day party at his work? Well, I’m mentioning it now.
Before I unleashed the beautiful scent of citrus into the night, I cleaned that kitchen. After midnite I started in on a pot of kichari for his lunch and got cracking on the brownies. Now, if you remember the brownie recipe, the main ingredient (besides chocolate) is condensed milk. Before I became addicted to the brownies, I never had a reason to keep condensed milk stocked in my cupboards. That didn’t keep me from having a bottle of corn syrup or a huge bag of poha. Why? Why do I have these things that I never use? Because you just never know.
Now that I make the brownies with frequency, I buy sweetened condensed milk in quantity. It is a household staple, like rice, pasta, sugar or broccoli. So I didn’t even check if I had any when I went out to Ward’s at 7pm to buy more citrus. It wasn’t until after midnite that I went to preheat the oven. When I opened the cabinet for the cans of milk, I couldn’t find any. I checked the shelves in the laundry room where I stockpile foodstuffs. Three cans of tahini, five pounds of nutritional yeast, 50 lbs of chickpeas (which reminds me, have to soak the chickpeas!). But no condensed milk.
I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I could do was panic. I contemplated stimulating my nipples to see if I could bring about lactation. After I expressed enough milk for quintuplets, I would boil it down into a thick, sweet pudding. But then I remembered that I had cow milk in the fridge. Suddenly, the effort seemed too great.
Back to the kitchen, behind jars of spices, I find one lonely can of condensed milk, scared and lonely in the back of the cupboard.
I had no choice. My husband signed up for brownies. I would have to half the recipe. But who shows up to a party with *9* brownies? Might as well be a white fool showing up at the Apollo in black face circa the mid-80’s. Cause even if you don’t get your ass whooped, you know you deserve an ass whooping.
I had to think quickly, despite the unnatural hour. It was after midnight. I should have been eating sweets, not cooking them. Despite this disturbance in the universe, I managed to figure out a solution. A solution which involved chocolate and….by god…corn syrup. That’s right. This bastard bottle of Karo Syrup which has been in my house for I don’t know how long for I don’t know what reason would finally make sense. The internet, a recipe for marshmallow-less Rice Krispie treats and the sacrifice of my very expensive almond butter (I knew I should have stuck with peanut butter, that faithful old friend) and I had a respectable amount of sweets for my husband to bring to his little nurse’s party.
Still, there were only 9 brownies.
*Update: It is Saturday. Nothing has been accomplished. Slave labor revolted. I don’t like the way the candied grapefruit peel turned out. Too much like something and old Southern lady would have in her candy dish. Too tired. Napkins will be wrinkled. Going to make some pie.