Thursday, April 5, 2007

Macarooned on Manischewitz Island

Or otherwise titled "Last Minute Fun with an EZ Bake Oven."

I'm typing in a hurry, but I'll be back.

But I just had to report in to say that both Seder nights DID happen, and remembrance and fun was had by all!

Did it all go off without a hitch? Well, what fun could a hitchless holiday possibly be?

I'll just give the highlight.

Never, no never, wait to the last minute to make the dessert. Especially a leaven-free one. Not even if it comes in a box and its instructions promise ease and freedom from complications.

Manischewitz marble cake mix?

I must have lost my marbles. I thought I was opting for the dependable, rather than venturing forth into the wobblier land of creativity. I was asked to bring dessert. Lots of dessert, for a crowd. This was discussed, and there would be fruit salad, macaroons, and leaven-free cake.

Scanning the mental list, and gathering the ingredients, here was the pre-event run-down.:

Fruit salad, (check!) Fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, two sorts of grapes. Enough for three crowds.

Macaroons, (check!) Straight from the can...Manischewitz, that is, and you pay an arm and a leg. These are a good stand-by since they require no preparation and come in coconut, almond, cappucino, chocolate chip, chocolate, chocolate-covered, etc. No matter what else doesn't turn out, you can set out the macaroons and know they'll be grazed down for lack of better selections. I'm not proud that these are not homemade, but with varying degrees of Jewish observance and interpretation of what can and can't be eaten, I am trying to keep things simple. Various flavors are bought. This way, if the cake doesn't turn out, there are consolation edibles.

Cake, (check!) Only there was SOMETHING I didn't check... Again, in a bid to keep the mysteries of soda-less, baking-powder-less and flourless (well regular-flourless) cooking simpler, I opted for a mix. To Keep Things Simple, mmm hmmm. Two boxes, larger than regular cake mixes and four times as expensive. That cake had better sing AND dance at those prices...

All was well, and things were percolating along towards the Passover feast(s), and with not many hours to spare. (and therein lies the problem...)

It comes time to make the cakes. Ahhh....I am ready. Mrs. Manischewitz, the Jewish Betty Crocker, is in control, and I am her mere handmaiden of mixing and putting in the oven, right?

Oh HO!!!! Off comes the box top, with only a few hour of sundown to go (this is important), and.....

well, what would YOU expect from a normal sized pre-mix cake box?? I had given it no thought. You expect an egg carton to have a dozen eggs. You expect a cornbread mix to make a pan of cornbread.

These two boxes of cake each were bigger than the standard boxes. "AMPLE cake!" I thought. I expected nothing out of the ordinary, meaning enough for.....a CAKE.

...a standard sheet cake, two cake rounds, or a bundt.

You know the old canard about assuming. I had Assumed. Not only had I assumed, I had waited until the last minute to make the unfortunate discovery otherwise.

(sound of lumberjack yelling Tiimmmmberrrrrrrr....)

Here's the basic math of the big event:

1. I have to feed a crowd.
2. The box opens to reveal a tiny shallow foil pan, no larger than the box, with enough mix EZ Bake Oven. I'm sincerely not exaggerating. You could have cooked this over a 40 watt lightbulb.
3. I became vklempt. No heart monitor available, I gasp and stagger and issue a longggggg whisper of "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
4. I have fewer hours left to bake than fingers on one hand.
5. I am 10 minutes from the store and its quickly dwindling teensy Kosher for Passover section.
6. If THESE newly purchased heart failure cake mixes DON'T turn out, we'll be eating macaroons till we're singing the hatikvah.
7. Multiples boxes of cake AND macaroons AND every conceivable Kosher edible are wiped from the shelves by MOI to the disgrace of my budget and the amazement of the checkout employee.

The cakes, er Legos, did get baked.

I baked enough for a crowd, which is to say that a lot of eggs gave up their lives to overcompensate for leprechaun-size cake morsels.

But bake I did! And by sundown, even.

And they did get eaten. Serve enough macaroons, fruit and ice cream, and the size of the midget cakes gets, um, passed over.

But I'm still laughing about that I can laugh ;-)

There's so much more to write about the great things that happened at Passover, but I'm short of time. Just wanted to jot this "highlight"...I really need to get better at all this, but have no Bubbe-In-The-Kitchen to mentor me...arggghhh! :)

Not sure what my great feat will be next year at Passover, but I doubt I'll bring dessert.

Unless it's macaroons.


Crunchy Chicken said...

Oh, I bet you were schvitzing!

Robbyn said...

Ha, yes! I'm a sponge cake schlemiel (and that now exhausts the full extent of my yiddish, haha)

El said...

You had me howling with this one. All that pressure and then having to do it before sunset, too!

Robbyn said...

LOL...I can tell you that night I sure needed more than the four prescribed glasses of wine...

I can laugh about it...NOW...