Monday, September 24, 2012

Birthing Martha Stewart

This past weekend my oldest daughter was in town to prepare the food for a baby shower we were co-hosting with some family friends. We started baking and cooking on Friday night and were still working on the finishing touches thirty minutes before we loaded the car up to tote it all to the hostess's house Sunday afternoon.

The shopping list for ingredients for this project started with 4 pounds of butter, 5 pounds of regular sugar, 12 boxes of powdered sugar, 3 boxes of brown sugar, and a bottle of brown corn syrup. And, that was just what I didn't have on hand in my pantry and 'fridge. Obviously, this was not going to be a low calorie, low carb affair. But hey, when was the last time you went to a baby shower where they served carrots, celery, tofu, and rice cakes - and you didn't leave hungry and mumbling under your breath.

The first item were these peanut butter pretzel goodies that are dipped in white chocolate. Although, I'll be honest, I don't think you do them justice unless you eat them straight out of the freezer. However, that was not an option at the shower. Even though I do not care for peanut butter, the first time I had these at my daughter's house in Texas, I was certain that the intervention of a 12 step program would be the only way able to stop me from dying from consuming them. Luckily, I wasn't the only one addicted and due to a limited supply, my life was saved. But, I digress. 

Our next project was 60 sugar cookies we baked in the form of giraffes that were then decorated with royal icing. These (or at least the ones who escaped with all their tails and legs still attached) were put in clear bags tied with pink ribbon for parting favors for all the shower guests. Any rejects or injured ones were set aside as sustenance for the cooks. 

After the giraffes came dark chocolate cupcakes that were baked then topped with rich butter cream icing. We needed 45 "perfect" ones, so naturally we baked 65- 70. (Always be prepared.) 

At this point it dawned on me, 27 years earlier, I had birthed Martha Stewart. How did my daughter have the energy to do all this?  Where did she get all her ideas?  (For example there were toothpicks in the top of each cupcake decorated with papers giraffes, elephants, zebras, and lions to match the "jungle" theme.) 

And, all this time, I am grazing. I don't even want to know how many calories I have consumed in preparation for the event. Naturally, over the weekend breakfasts and lunches were skipped. Who needs fruit or cereal when there are stray giraffes about or random peanut butter and pretzels - the breakfast of champions? After one has taste tested the rich chocolate cupcake batter (several times), butter cream icing (a bunch), and white chocolate dip many times - who is hungry? 

And, there were the caramel oatmeal lace baskets we made to hold diced fruit - but I'll spare you the details of that creation. That was a cook on the stove, bake in the oven, mold on a cup, and cool on a tray - production of epic proportions. One I plan to leave for the professionals in the future.

Finally, it was time for the event. The food was taken to the the shower and served to the guests. A grand time was had by all. By the time I got home late Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted. How much weight had I gained? Oh, how I had sinned. But, I had been successful in not bringing any of the food back home, so there would be no guilt or temptation from the evil peanut pieces, iced giraffes, caramel lace baskets, or butter cream iced chocolate cup cakes. 

All I wanted for supper was something simple, like a bowl of soup - something guilt free I could eat knowing that I was not pasting more fat onto my hips. And, I knew where to find it. We had two containers of tomato soup in the refrigerator.  I opened the refrigerator door and sure enough there was the tomato soup just as I knew it would be - on the bottom shelf. 

Then to my horror I saw next to it a bag of pink butter cream icing. I needed to throw it out. I knew I needed to throw it out. I had to throw it out. Maybe I needed to taste it first to make sure it was OK before I threw it out. Oh, the things we will justify. Tomato soup? What tomato soup?

PS- Yes, there should have been more pictures but I was not present as a photographer. Who had time? I was on the line as a food prep, junior chef in training. 

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