Mr. Ingredient Man

My wife informed me that she wanted to make some banana muffins this afternoon. This is when Mr. Ingredient Man springs into action.

Well, “spring into action” may be a bit of an exaggeration. What I really wanted to do was lie down on the couch and continue reading the latest Stephen King novel.

My wife and I have an understanding. When Mr. Ingredient Man is in demand, all else is secondary. So I put my book aside and assumed the role.

“I need some flour, some sugar, some salt, some baking powder, and some baking soda,” my wife said.

“That’s the white stuff isn’t it?” I replied.

Slightly exasperated, my wife said, “It’s all white stuff dear.”

So I rummaged around in the pantry looking for all this white stuff. The flour and sugar was easy enough to identify as they were in transparent containers where I could clearly discern that the contents were indeed full of white stuff. I brought these containers to the counter, proud of myself thus far.

“I can’t find the other white stuff,” I said.

“The salt is in a blue and white box, the baking soda in a yellow box, and the baking powder in a yellow and black cylindrical container,” my wife replied.

I rooted around in the pantry some more until I found the necessary items. I transported them to the counter but dropped the box of baking soda on the floor where it emitted a little cloud of white soda that settled nicely on the dog lying on the kitchen floor.

My wife said, “You can clean that up later. Right now, I need the oven set to 375 degrees – and don’t set it to ‘self-clean’ like you did last time, unless you want blackened banana rocks. Then you can get me the milk and eggs.”

My wife places an inordinate amount of trust in me.

She added the milk and eggs into a mixing bowl full of white stuff and commenced to stirring. “Please mash me up two bananas.”

Now here is something I can relate to. I grabbed one of our potato mashers and strode over to the banana section of our kitchen counter. There were two bunches of bananas, one with nice yellow skins and one with black splotches all over them. I figured the fresher the better so I grabbed two of the nice yellow ones, placed them in a pot and commenced to mashing.

“Uh, dear,” my wife intoned. “First, you don’t use a potato masher, second, you don’t use a pot, third, you need to mash the older bananas, and fourth, you need to peel them first.”

So I grabbed two of the older bananas, peeled them, put them in a mixing bowl and mashed them up with a fork.

“I usually use a plate to mash them up on,” she said.

I transferred the mushy mess to a plate and said, “How’s that?”

“Well, you didn’t have to dirty up another dish for nothing!”

I sensed a mounting frustration emanating from my wife’s side of the kitchen. She mixed in the mashed bananas and asked me to spray the muffin tin with some Pam.

Now I am very familiar with Pam as this is what I use to grease the pot when I pop popcorn. I gave the muffin tin a liberal spraying, leaving a nice oily outline of the tin on the counter top.

“Please put all the ingredients away,” asked my wife as she began filling up the muffin tin.

As I was carrying the milk and eggs back, the baking soda dog picked this precise moment to notice the cat preening herself across the floor and darted through my legs after the cat. A half-liter of milk and half a dozen eggs makes an impressive display on the floor.

My wife let out a small sigh and hung her head over the kitchen sink. “Hey, that wasn’t my fault,” I said.

My wife put the muffins in the oven and set the timer for twenty minutes and said, “I’m going upstairs for a nap. Please take the muffins out when the timer goes off. And clean up this mess!”

“Sure,” I replied and took up a prone position on the couch with my novel.

I woke up an hour later when the combined beeping of the oven timer and the smoke alarm penetrated my doze.

My first thought was “uh-oh.” I slid through the milk and eggs on the floor and took out a dozen blackened banana rocks.

Later that day as my wife was tending to the burns on my hands from the hot muffin tin, my wife suggested that the next time she wants to make some muffins, I might want to leave the province.

Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.

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