Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cupcakes A-No-Go

This evening, I decided that I had to make cupcakes. The sudden baking desire may have been fueled by having left overs from when rr made her super fabulous, ultra-spectacular caramel frosting for my dad's birthday cake. And what's a woman to do when she has left over frosting but nothing to put it on?

Anyway, baking is not my strongest skill. I used to be quite the little baker, but at some point, all of my abilities in the kitchen just up and left. I don't really consider that a bad thing, because it means that I spend less time and less money on a fattening habit. But it also means that when I do attempt the culinary arts, I'm practically doomed to failure.

At first, I decided that I didn't need a mix, because who needs a mix? I got a recipe online and went to work. The recipe called for 2 cups flour (sifted). That's not a problem, because I have a (sift)er, left over from my baking days. So I (sifted) once, and then for extra measure, I (sifted) twice. Then I guess I got a little (sift) happy, because I (sifted) again and in the process got flour everywhere.

Then I noticed that we were out of baking powder. Since when don't we have baking powder? Everyone has baking powder!

I went to Target to get some, because that is the nearest place that sells grocery items. It is neither a Super Target nor a super Target. It is, at best, a little bit better than mediocre Target. They did not have baking powder. They did, however, have cake mix, which I purchased. I wanted one that used butter, but naturally they didn't have that kind. All they had was one that took cooking oil.

So then I got home, added the water to the mix, and then I went to add the oil. I discovered that, unfortunately, our oil is "best" if used by November of 2006, which was two months ago.

I called my mom to ask if it was ok. I should have taken warning from the fact that there was a perceptible pause before she answered. My mother drinks milk past the expiration date. There is medicine in her medicine cabinet well past the "best if used by" date. She has given me face cream that expired more than two years ago. So the fact that she didn't immediatley say, "oh, I'm sure it's fine" should have made me forget the whole idea. But I didn't. "I don't know," she said, hesitantly. "It will smell if it's gone rancid," she said. I smelled it. It smelled like oil. Maybe not rancid oil, but then again, I don't know what rancid oil smells like. "It will taste bad, too," she said, "so taste it, and if it tastes ok, it's probably fine." I dutifully tasted it.

Who tastes cooking oil? Why did I do that? I don't know what cooking oil tastes like when it's rancid, and I don't know what it takes like when it's fine, but this left a taste in my mouth that is still lingering, an hour later, and it's gag-inducing. I ate two oatmeal cream pies, and it's still with me. It just won't go away.

When the cupcakes were done, I tried one to see if it tasted like something containing spoilt ingrediants. It tastes fine. Except that the taste is either still there, or there again because of the cupcakes. I am trying so hard not to throw up right now. I don't want to go down that road again.

So I am abandoning the cupcake idea, and if I ever stop feeling like I'm going to yak, I'm just eating that frosting straight, like I should have done in the first place.


Amstaff Mom said...

Your cooking skills "went up in smoke", eh?

I didn't know cooking oil COULD go bad. Although I did toss out my Crisco, b/c evidently vegetable shortening can. What kind of vegetable is so oily it can make oil and shortening? I need to avoid that one.

I read a few mos. ago that you're supposed to replace your baking powder every year. I didn't know that. Seems such a waste though since I only use it at Christmas!

JLR said...

Maybe that's why I don't have baking powder? I tend to be very vigilant about getting rid of old stuff in the pantry. Maybe I saw that it had expired.

And yes, cooking oil can go bad. It's a fat, and all fats can go rancid. I was very disturbed when I first learned that a few years ago.

And I loved the pun, btw.

Katie said...


You hit the nail on the head with the last statement as the answer to your prior question of:

What do you do with leftover icing?


Though I did enjoy your retelling of the cooking debaucle (or is it with a k? I could go over to word and spell check it but it is so much more fun to just keep typing here for no reason at all)

Deals On Wheels said...


I LOVE icing! Yum! But you already knew that.

My nose itches...

jes said...

!) I am glad to see you are reading Lawyerish. You will love her, and she will love you, and you will both be madly in love with one another.

@) I think it's both weird and funny that your mom told you to taste the oil. Who does that? And why did you obey?

#) I think it's both random and nerdy that I'm holding down the shift key when I type numbers. But it makes it fun, yes?

Emma Sometimes said...

Eww on the cooking oil. I'd watch it because you start with cooking oil and pretty soon you'll be hitting the hard stuff like margarine and butter. And Crisco, well, that's the end of the line.

I didn't know it expired either. I'm always burning up baking soda and powder but that is what happens when you have as many kids as the partridge family and brady bunch combined. Okay, not really, but it feels like it.

JLR said...

katie: that's really what I should have done, and I really wish that I had!

deals: when I wrote that, I thought of you.

jes: My mom is a big believer of the you can tell if it's bad by tasting it theory. I am not. I should have stuck to my own beliefs.

emma: dude I could almost eat butter straight now. I love it SO much. But shortening, ew, you're right, I don't want to go down that road.