Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Historial Slice

My Grandmother
It’s funny how sometimes inanimate objects can pull on your heart strings. I was making a raspberry lemon loaf the other day (which I will post about soon) but it called for a rectangle pan that I didn’t have so I used a circular cake pan instead. I was telling my Mom about this when she went to her cupboard and grabbed a rectangular glass pan she wasn’t using. She told me it was my Grandmother’s and that she had two so I could have one. The glass pan had had years of use I could tell by its discolouration. It would never look new again, but somehow seeing its many baking days etched into the pan made it that much more special for me. It was like I had a piece of my Grandmother’s life in my hand and I could picture her baking in the kitchen with my mom and aunts. I never had the opportunity to meet my Grandmother because she died when my mother was young but my mom talked about her often growing up so even though I didn’t meet her, I still feel like I am connected to her. She was an amazing woman and from time to time I see bits and pieces of what she must have been like in my aunts and my mom. It’s now my favourite dish in the kitchen and when I bake with it I picture that she’s baking with me. I wonder what tips and tricks she would have to tell me?
Cream Cheese Banana Bread 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm No Cinderella

I’ve made Butternut Squash Soup many times, but never has it been this eventful. Today, I had a friend over for dinner and we decided on Butternut Squash Soup, salad and garlic bread. We were chatting away while the Butternut Squash roasted in the oven so it would be soft enough to add to my pot of tender onions and garlic that were simmering in a glorious dollop of butter.

Everything was going fabulously until I heard my friend say

“I just saw a mouse on your counter.”

Thinking I must be hearing things, I promptly said

“Did you just say you saw a mouse?”

Not thinking much of it because I was expecting the answer to be something else, I was

sadly mistaken when she said

“Yes!" and then jumped to a standing position on her chair.

I have known her for a long time, but never had we discussed her fear of mice. Panic set in, I had food out on the counter, a mouse nearby and a friend now clearly uncomfortable in the upright position. I don't want to say I'm afraid of mice, but my reaction everytime I see them would clearly suggest I am. I have a hard time admitting that something so small and cute could actually scare me. But I guess they do because my husband rescues me everytime I see one. They are erratic and fast and that just doesn't sit well with me. Maybe if I was Cinderella and the mouse made me a very stylish dress I would change my mind, but until then I'm not a fan.

Mr. Mouse, when you tailor this dress for me
then we will discuss permanent residency.
We live in the country, so from time to time I have seen them. But normally it’s when my cat has caught one and decided to show me, not when one is brazen enough to run across the counter. I thought mice were a) Nocturnal and b) Afraid to be out when there were people loudly talking, a 90lb lab walking around and a skilled hunter cat constantly scanning the premises. The mouse was clearly unaware of the rules to abide by when co-habiting in a humans dwelling.

This mouse had to be stopped or we were going out for dinner until my husband came home from work. We devised a plan. I equipped myself with the necessary tools or better word “available” tools for the job- 2 oven mitts and a plastic container. We kept an eye on him as he ran back and forth trying to figure out where to go and then we lost sight of him. The bugger was quick. We decided the best course of action would be to remove everything off of the end of the counter where he had been seen running because then he wouldn’t have anywhere to hide.
Cost effective hazmat suit.
Unorthodox, but effective.
When he jumped out I would put him in the dish and take him outside. Slowly I started moving each item off of the counter. All that was left was the microwave and it was clear he wasn’t there because I slid it all around and there was no sight of him. Then we were perplexed, how did he get away? There was a small opening on my wall so we eased our minds by saying he must have gotten through there and took off.
We both heard that mice can get through very small spaces so that had to be it. Grossed out by it running across my counter I disinfected it all and then started back to dinner. The Butternut Squash Soup smelled delicious and the fresh smell of garlic bread was wafting through the kitchen. I started on the salad as my friend went back to a sitting position and that's when it happened again. Back up on the chair my friend squealed
“The mouse is back!”

I was so confused because where was he coming from? That’s when we realized my dish rack was at the end of the counter and he must have somehow jetted that way when we were busy squinting and squealing. So the oven mitts were back on and I was ready to end this. My friend suggested I use the salad bag I had just emptied and catch him in that. I thought it was a good idea but didn’t know if he would willingly run into it. He kept scooting back and forth on the counter but because everything was off it on one side except my microwave, he had very little place to hide. So when he ran towards the microwave I knew we had a good chance at catching him because the distance to get back to my dish rack was so far that I could throw a towel on him if I had to, to slow him down. I needed a distraction though so I amped up his need for survival by putting my cat up on the counter. I had the salad bag open on the counter as an extra obstacle. 
Towel in oven mitt hands, cat intrigued at its purpose to be up there, I shook the microwave and watched the mouse spring out from under and dodge my cat only to run directly into the salad bag. Stunned by the fact that it had hit a plastic wall and my cat becoming overtly aware of its purpose the mouse had nowhere to go but into the mouth of my cat. I threw my hands over the opening of the bag and closed it up so he couldn’t escape. I jumped so quickly towards the counter in excitement that my foot got a massive cramp in it. Laughing by how ridiculous I looked but cheering in relief that we caught him without my strong husband, I hobbled to my friend to show her he was good and secure in the salad bag. I opened my front door and put him outside, salad bag and all.
With the counter officially mouse-free I finished preparing the rest of the soup and sat down for a very triumphant meal. I don’t think I’ll ever look at bagged salad the same way again.