Projects and Things

Continued Adventures in Baking

I made bread this weekend! Real live bread that you can knead and let rise and all that. I have this recipe for French bread that can be made in a few hours, so I tried that. Our house was warm and the sponge poofed up so high — it was glorious. Then, drunk on my success, I decided to make a lemon meringue pie.

Note: I have made lemon meringue many times, from the same recipe, starting from when I was a kid to now. This is one of my easy go-to desserts. It’s so difficult to screw up! Or … so … I … thought.

The crust went fine. The egg separating went fine. I left the egg whites at room temp while I made the lemon curd (also fine) and then I dumped them in a clean bowl and took them down to the guest room to whip them by hand. I do not have a mixer, and I was worried the whisk against the metal bowl would wake Baby E., who was napping. I’d never beaten egg whites by hand before, but I figured, hey, meringue did not alight upon the world with the advent of the electric mixer. I sat down on the guest bed and whisked.

And whisked.

And whisked.

And whisked.

After I passed the fifteen-minute mark, I started looking up “beating egg whites by hand” online. I saw all sorts of interesting exclamatory advice. Use a CLEAN bowl! Use a copper bowl! Add a dash of cream of tartar! Keep going, they’ll whip eventually!

But they did not. After thirty minutes of whisking, I had the foamiest egg whites in all of the States, with no peaks in sight. I checked the humidity: 35%. In desperation, I dumped the whites into a jar, capped it, and shook it until my arms ached. No dice. I shoved the jar into the fridge and baked the pie without meringue. It was good anyway.

So, what happened, Internet? We had really windy weather yesterday. Could that cause egg white failure? I’m stumped.


In addition to baking, I’ve got two — TWO — crochet projects going right now. My parents and my sister gave me a bundle of beautiful Knit Picks yarn for my birthday a few years ago, and I have been dilly-dallying in using it, waiting for the right project to come along. (Hint: it never does. This is the great lie of beautiful yarn and crocheting, for me at least.) I finally bit the bullet and am in the middle of an infinity scarf and a hat, in bright veggie green Felici and (discontinued) Ruby Slipper Imagination, respectively. God, but Knit Picks yarn names are better than lipsticks and nail polish.

In short, I feel super accomplished. I am doing stuff other than baby bottom-wiping! Maybe accomplished is the wrong word — I feel a little closer to human.


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