Scoop of the Day…

Baking from scratch is something that has been engrained in me since I was a mini Scoop. It all began in my second grade class with my teacher Miss Athenasiatis. It’s a mouthful , I know. Imagine saying that 10 times a day when you’re eight years old and you’ve only been speaking basic English for 6 years. Not so easy. So, for our sake, and to save her face, we will refer to her as Miss A. When I was in Miss A’s class we had weekly spelling tests, and I HAD to get a 100% on each one. If I didn’t get a 100%, I didn’t get a new troll doll, and if I didn’t get a new troll doll, the whole world would come to an end. Seriously, you do not know what I was capable of at that age, and I hope you never have to feel the residual effects. Well, one day Miss A gave us a spelling test, and there was a really difficult word on our study sheet. Even though I was prepared, and even though I kneeled down next to my bed the night before, stretched my chin to the edge of my mattress, and prayed for this word to magically not be on it, the very next day, Miss A stood before our class and said, “Spell the word…”Because.” Laugh all you want, but for one reason or another, I just could not master this word. Maybe it was because I frequently heard it paired with “…I said so,” or maybe it was the silent ‘u,’ but whatever the reason, as soon as she announced the word, my face got hot and my mind went blank. To my advantage, right after she announced the word, she was called out of the classroom to speak with another teacher. This was my chance, this was my one moment. In my little cubby to the side of my leg, my blue spelling book was standing tall, ready to be flipped open and reveal the true spelling of “Because.” As I sat there, however, I started to get the sweats. And then I got the shakes. Innocent Miss A would have no idea what I had done, but I would have to live with the fact that I had cheated. Every time I spelled the word “Because,” I would have to think of that one time Miss A was testing us and I cheated… for a troll doll.

This moment, believe it or not, helped define who I am today. Due to my inability to defy Miss A, I am now unable to cheat or cut corners in anything I do. And while I do envy those who are so comfortable swiping past years exams, entering equations on their calculators, or even having someone else do their work for them, I am wholly uncomfortable with it. The only time I really enjoy cutting a corner is when I J walk across the street… there’s something so thrilling about it, you know you agree.

While I know the easy way out would make my life, well, easier, I find pleasure in doing things from start to finish. This way, I am learning and manipulating steps as I go along, and creating an end result I can call my own. I take this quality with me through life, and I especially take it with me into the kitchen. Do you know what a box of Duncan Hines cake mix does to me? I get that same feeling I got in Miss A’s class when I tried to cheat, I get hot, I break into the sweats, and I start to shake.

Baking without cutting corners, a.k.a baking from scratch, is one of my favorite tasks to take on from end to end, and I had the ultimate scratch experience this weekend when I baked my left over homemade challah bread into a Maple Spiced Bread Pudding. While the bread making was exhausting, the bread pudding I could have done with my eyes closed, and the finished product was absolutely divine. The feeling (and results) you get after successfully baking from scratch do not come in a box. As Christopher likes to say, “Made from scratch, down the hatch.”

Oh, and about that last spelling test in Miss A’s class… I didn’t cheat… and I got my troll doll. ūüėČ


Scoop of the Day…

Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when young Forrest and Jenny were hiding from her abusive father in the corn fields? They got down on their knees and Jenny began praying, “Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far. Far far away from here.” Well, for some reason, I immediately thought of this scene when I walked by this guy the other day:

Action Art in Madison Square Park

Maybe it was¬†because I had just gotten off work,¬†but I saw something in myself as I admired the huge, buoyant¬†bouquet of balloons suspended in his hands on a single string. It was almost a metaphor for what I¬†was feeling at the time… maybe if I just cut the string¬†from that one¬†heavy, monotonous¬†thing holding me back, I would¬†finally be able to fly¬†free and do what I want. Crazy, I know, but there is something so desperate yet peaceful about what he was doing.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure WHAT he was doing. As I approached him during my stroll home from work through Madison Square Park, I stopped (yes, I’m a New Yorker and yes, I actually stopped) ,and tried to put myself in his shoes. It was a little difficult doing this, as he was lying down and I was standing up a good 20 ft behind him, but I managed… And then I saw it; if I was this guy at this¬†moment… I would probably be diverting people’s’ attention so as to diminish the boundless line at Shake Shack and make a run for it before anyone knew what hit them. They’d still be staring up at the balloons as they drifted off into the clear blue sky, and I would be greedily ordering a juicy double cheese burger with fries and an Arnold Palmer to go…Success.

Sometimes we think so much about the little nagging things, that we forget about the sweet, delicious¬†reality we have right in front of us. What a smart guy ūüėČ