A change of environment can sometimes refresh and recharge the brain. Do you normally write at a desk or at your kitchen table? Today, go someplace different to write. For example, try writing outside or in a public place such as a coffee house or mall….
I chose to stand at my kitchen counter because I am waiting for my laundry to finish so I can start packing for my vacation to Las Vegas. I am not sure that it really counts, except that I do not normally stand there to write.
“Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.”
“That was easier said than done.” Charity frowned at the mess on her counter tops. At least most of the mixture made it into the large mixing bowl. Her counter tops were covered with an array of measuring cups, scoops, measuring spoons, small bowls, large bowls, and packages of ingredients. Everything was covered in a thin layer of flour, like white dust.
The receptionist at work swore by this recipe. Said it was the best cake that were ever made. Not that there was ever any left by the time Charity got down there every time there was a tray. She finally gave in a begged for the recipe. This is what she ended up with.
In hindsight, this had been a terrible idea. Charity would not call herself a cook. In fact, if she was being honest, she would have to admit that sometimes she was too lazy to read the instructions on the back of the lean cuisine box and just put it in the microwave until it looked like it might be warm.
This went far beyond microwaving a frozen meal. She should have just stopped when she realized she would have to buy, not only all the ingredients since she had nothing resembling the items called for in the recipe, but all the utensils. She could not remember a time that she needed to use a measure spoon or a sifter before.
The dry ingredients were in the bowl, more or less and now it was time to start on the liquids. Melted butter dripped from the plastic plate she tried to microwave it on. She needed to remember that for the future, if she ever thought baking sounded like a good idea again. The eggs were in a small bowl sitting near the measuring cup that was now covered in flour and sugar. She had been proud of herself here; it only took four tries before she was able to get two eggs into the bowl with a minimum of shell. Shells had calcium, right? They were healthy.
Vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon were also on the list, as well as a couple things she had no idea had anything to do with baking. She had searched high and low for the newt tongue and witches nails. She wondered if they were herbs or man made things. She would have to ask her mom next time they talked.
“Stir 4 times clockwise and 5 times counter-clockwise.” Charity did as the directions asked.
“Pour mixed batter (batter will be lumpy) into prepared pan.”
“Oh crud.” Charity had forgotten to prepare the pan. She pulled the new square pan from the Walmart bag and ran it under the faucet briefly. The heat in the over should take care of any germs. She gave it a quick spray with the can of no stick stuff the girl at the store recommended. Poor thing had looked confused when a very frustrated and almost hysterical Charity had accosted her, demanding to know the secrets of the pan sprays.
The batter was indeed very lumpy and the unmixed spiced swirled around in the pale batter to form what looked like a pentagram in the bottom of the pan.
“That’s just creepy.” Charity swiped the better to disperse the unwelcome symbol with her finger and stuck it in her mouth. It tasted vile and then she wondered how long it took to get salmonella. She spit the batter into the sink and vigorously rinsed her mouth out. She assumed the finished cake would taste much better.
The oven had beeped at her ages ago to let her know it was up to the required 375 degrees, so she just grabbed the pan and tossed it in, noticing as she closed the door that the star was back.
There was nothing for her to do now until it was done baking so she left the lumpy mess alone and grabbed her tablet and sat down to play flash games on Facebook for a while. That was not too last. She still had three lives left when the first banging sounds came from the kitchen. She got up and peeked around the corner. Nothing seemed to be amiss, so she went back to her game. Another life down and more noises, this time something clearly hissed and there was an ominous creak. It was too early for the cake to be done, but Charity went back into the kitchen anyway.
From the over rose a wisp of black smoke. It didn’t smell like burning cake, it smelled of rotten eggs and matches. She grabbed her over mitts and threw the door open. More black smoke rolled out, and from the depths of the over she heard a voice rumbling.
“Who dares call me from my slumber?”
“Well, damn it.” Charity slammed the door shut. “I try to bake one thing and manage to summon a demon. I think I will just go get take out.”