Thursday, May 04, 2006

When Crisco goes bad

Ok, so most of you know that the staple birthday cake in the Templin family is none other than the "Coffee Cake". It is by far the best cake you could ever put in your mouth. It is my mom's recipe, I don't know where she got it from, but I don't ask....I just eat! Anyway, I have been deprived of this cake for a good 3 years now while in Colorado. I have tried time and time again to make this sweet confection but the altitude up here is a B*#$%. Excuse my "symbol" language, but it's true. There is nothing more frustrating than spending half an hour mixing and destroying your kitchen...then having to open your oven and see a deflated half-baked cake. Why is it so difficult? Again, another reason why Colorado is the "second skinniest" state in America. Cakes are non-existent up here. You can't even make a cake, much less enjoy sneaking a piece at 11:44pm. Anyway, back to the story.
So, I'm making another attempt at this stupid cake because it is my husband's favorite...and today is his birthday. I figure I should at least try. So I begin to pull out all the ingredients....sugar...check....flour....check...eggs....check...crisco...check...etc. I go through the whole process of measuring, sifting and separating only to open the crisco and see that something looks funny. I can't explain it, it just didn't look normal. You know the stuff is supposed to be a nice "lardy" white color, but instead it had a little yellow tint to it. Is this normal? I mean does anyone know what I'm talking about? Is this what lard looks like when it goes bad? Who knows? Does lard even go bad? Apparently no one knows, not even the manufactuer, because I looked all over that can for an expiration date. Nothing. Notta.
I sat looking at the stuff for a few more minutes contemplating my next move. Do I use it in this already proven impossible cake recipe, or do I try to get a fresher can of lard. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. I decide to take a risk. I figure the stupid thing probably won't cook right anyway...what do I have to lose.
Ok, so I finish the batter and I put the cake in the oven. Cross my fingers and wait. In the meantime I call my trusty neighbor Julia hoping once again she will save my butt. This woman is my kinda neighbor. She has everything. It's like living next door to a King Soopers. (Colorado's grocery store) So, I call her and for the first time in neighborly history she proves to not be so trusty. Dang! My second option is my neighbor across the street, Sheri. I'm in unchartered waters now folks, I've never had to go looking for other resources. Julia has always been my #1 provider. I call Sheri, she's not there. Crap! By this time I've come to the conclusion that when and if the cake does turn out ok, it will taste like crap because I used bad lard. I just can't get a break.
I make another phone call to Meredith thinking if she has some fresher crisco I could meet her half way and avoid at least getting 3 kids out of the car just to buy some crisco. She informs me that she has made cake icing out of the "yellowy" lard before and that it was fine. Hmmm! Is this true? Maybe. But, will the same results befall me? I'm not convinced. I'm gonna have to make another stupid cake.
Julia, my grocer, calls me back and says she's going to he store and that she will be happy to pick me up some new crisco. This is great! I don't have to load up the kids! Yes! Thank you Julia!
Well, I make another phone call to my mom to ask her about some stuff and we get to talking. I mention that I'm attempting a coffee cake and I'm pretty sure it is gonna have a suttle taste of bad lard because my lard is yellow. She procedes to tell me that she doesn't even use crisco anymore to make her coffee cakes...she uses butter. Well, isn't that just great! Butter! Not what I wanted to here at this point in my totally waisted cake making experience. I've got a whole box of butter in the fridge, not to mention the 3 other frozen boxes of it in my freezer. Oh, and don't forget my neighbor who as we speak is purchasing a can of crisco for me at the store. Ahhhhh! I could have strangled my mother. I would have liked to know about the "correction" to the 25 year old coffee cake recipe. Apparently she made the change about 2 years ago when she herself found herself in the "no crisco" dilema. Hello, mom! Have you ever heard of the term F.Y.I.!!!!
Ok, so at this point I'm completely frustrated. The cake with the bad lard comes out great, except for the weird smell and the funny taste. Just my luck! Well, here we go again. It is a good thing I had plenty of eggs, sugar and flour otherwise I would have to call my grocer again. Anyway, to make a long story short I make another cake with the butter and I finally have managed to make a successful coffee cake up here in this oxygen deprived state. Yea, me!


Wonderful Windy said...

I am sure Jimmy loved it..Now I really want some CAKE.. Do you think it would make it to Whitehouse if you mailed me a piece???haha

Michael said...

Sounds like Jimmy is having a great birthday this year.

Caci said...

Well, at least you didn't do like Jimmy did for your birthday and use Crisco that had already had stuff fried in it then put back in the Crisco can! That was gross! And kudos on making your first successful cake!

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