On Tuesday afternoon of Week Thirty-Two, Rachel arrived for her weekly Hurley House visit with her fifteen-month-old son, Hogan, in a bit of a crisis. On the way over, Hogan had blown out his diaper in the worst possible way. Poop was everywhere. All over the carseat, all over his clothes, and worst of all, all over him. Hair. Face. Clothes. Hands. Everywhere. To make matters worse, Rachel had just the day prior removed the extra outfit she normally keeps in the diaper bag for situations just like the one she found herself in. It was a mess.
She did her best to clean up the carseat, and then we headed to the bathroom armed with disinfecting wipes and lots of paper towels to clean Hogan up the best we could. When it was all over, and all the yucky was wiped away and Hogan was calmed down a little bit from the trauma of cold wipes on his little naked body, we realized he didn’t have a single item of poop-free clothing to wear. The best solution? An extra-small Ina In A Year shirt, tied up with a rubber band. Hogan toddled all around the store, happy and clean, and we laughed openly at our littlest fan.
The incident with Hogan felt like a metaphor for my week. The poop exploded everywhere, metaphorically, and all I could do was clean it up, make creative solutions work, and move forward the best I could. I cooked five things this week out of the twenty-five recipes on the schedule. If you were grading my performance, I would have scored a 20 out of 100. There is not a feeling I hate more than watching a week’s worth of recipes float right on by, spilling over in the non-existent margins of this time-sensitive project. It feels like being in debt with an interest rate that guarantees I will never be able to pay off the balance. But I couldn’t help it this week. I could not make the cooking happen. Things kept coming up that needed my attention, and it is not an option for me to walk away from my responsibilities as a business owner.
I’m still smiling, still happy to be here doing this work, chipping away at this project, but this week Hogan and I did the best we could recovering from a mess that we could not control.
WHAT I COOKED
WHAT I LEARNED
CHOCOLATE BANANA CRUMB CAKE.
I would definitely make this again. Imagine banana bread with chocolate chunks and a crumbly topping, and you get the idea. It’s an elevated version of the breakfast staple, and in my opinion it would make a delicious dessert option as well. Ina’s Banana Breads are always delicious because she doesn’t skimp, which I appreciate. If you’re going to go to the trouble to bake, make it worth it. Don’t make it a dumbed down version, attempting to side step calories or infuse something with “health” that is designed to be a treat. Just go for it. Use butter. Use cream. Use it all.
RASPBERRY CRUMBLE BARS and OUTRAGEOUS BROWNIES.
These are both a part of the Hurley House bakery menu for a reason. They are the best version of a fruit crumble bar and a brownie that I have ever found. Granted, at Hurley House we omit the nuts in the brownies because we have found most people want it this way, but when I make these at home, I follow the recipe exactly. They are decadent, full of the most intense chocolate flavor with a hint of coffee. I always feel a sense of gratitude to Ina for both of these recipes because they are two of our top sellers.