|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Jun. 24, 2012 - 6:48 a.m.
A couple of years ago I suffered a boxing injury, but like a Real Man (read: "idiot") I chose to ignore it and keep going. Until last January when the pain was bad enough that I quit both boxing and lifting in the hopes things would mend on their own and I'd get back into it again this year.
Lo and behold, my home remedy failed. I finally had to suck it up and grudgingly concede to medical care. So two weeks ago I went to the doctor, had an MRI, was given a prescription for some stomach-dissolving nuclear anti-inflammatory and 6 weeks of physical therapy, and an appointment for a steroid injection or three.
And Ambien, so I could fall asleep without screaming in pain.
Have you ever taken Ambien?
Seriously, I can see why Tiger Woods was hooked on that stuff. And hookers.
If you haven't ever taken one, the best thing about it - aside from the ability to fall asleep without screaming in pain - is that if you don't go to bed right away after having taken one you do all sorts of things without knowing it, then have absolutely no memory of it the next day. It's GREAT! You can do anything you want, no matter how stupid, and blame it on a necessary medical treatment. Talk about a free pass.
(I remember when I heard the term "Ambien eating" in the news a few years ago and thought it couldn't be true...until last week when I woke up one morning with the very, very scant remains of what was, the night before, a whole strawberry cheesecake scattered on the pillow next to me.)
So that all leads me to this morning. I got up, rolled out of bed, fed the corgi, and opened the fridge to get my breakfast cup of heavy cream.
On the bottom shelf of the fridge was a mixing bowl with what looked like 3 pounds of Spackle in it.
"Hey honey, what's that goop in the mixing bowl?"
"You've got to be KIDDING!" Wifey immediately ran to the kitchen. "You don't remember making that last night?"
"Er...no. What is it?"
She rolled her eyes. "Oh for gods sake. You took your stupid Ambien and sat down to watch a 'Penguins of Madagascar' cartoon -"
"Which one? Was it 'Popcorn Panic'?"
"I have no earthly idea. All I know is I tried to get you to bed and you said you were fine and you just wanted to see one cartoon and then you'd hit the sack. But when you went to the kitchen for a glass of water you saw two bananas turning black on the counter and you said 'you know, I think I'll make banana bread!' and you got out all these ingredients and spent the next half hour mixing them all in a bowl and then you put it in the fridge. THAT'S what 'that goop' is."
"So...it's bread dough?"
"That's what you said."
"Is it a yeast bread? Does it look like a bigger blob than what I put in last night?"
"How would I know? I do construction, not baking." (That's true. Wifey, child of a blue collar butt-crack displayer, can install plumbing to code and put up wallboard faster than I can make an Alfredo sauce.)
I was left scratching my head. What the hell had I made? At least I knew it had bananas in it, so that helped. But did it have yeast in it? It looked and smelled like it did, and when I pushed down lightly if deflated. So that answered that. Might as well cook it.
My first inclination was just to toss it in Jasmine Sous, my magical mystery fuzzy logic rice cooker. I've made bread in her before, several times. But I'd planned to make a batch of congee in her that morning, so I went with oven. I pushed the dough down further to let it rise a second time while things heated up. And it did rise, somewhat to my surprise.
I portioned the dough between 4 mini-loaves, mixing chopped walnuts into 2 of them. Into the oven they went, and a half hour later out of the oven they came. A half hour after that we sat down to warm banana breakfast loaves.
"These are disgusting" Wifey said.
I bit into one.
"Well, ok, they're not exactly traditional. But I wouldn't call them 'disgusting'."
"They're disgusting. It's like eating a loaf of Wonder Bread with bits of banana mashed into it. It's not sweet at all!"
She was right about that. Apparently I'd added enough sugar - if I added any at all, come to think of it - for the yeast to eat, and no more. In my stupor I'd neglected to realize that banana bread needs additional sweetening. Or it will taste like Wonder Bread with bits of banana mashed into it.
On the upside, it was very well made Wonder Bread with bits of banana mashed into it. I could tell from the crumb and taste that I'd gone with my stand-by American sandwich loaf, which adds milk to the water, melted butter, and honey.
Anyway, once I got over the shock of un-sweetened banana bread, I actually enjoyed it. I dragged out 7 or 8 of the Trappist jams still leftover from last Christmas's haul and had fun trying various ones schmeared on, along with apple butter I made last month, and honey. They all went very well, if I do say so myself. Even left plain the bread matched well with tea (I thought) in the way that less sugary pastries often do.
Of course, Wifey was having none of it. If it didn't taste like the sweet, dense, bakery standard non-yeast banana bread then it wasn't banana bread. And she wasn't gonna eat it.
Fine with me. I'm always looking for more excuses to eat Trappist jam anyway.
Well, it's about time for me to take another Ambien and get to bed. If I find anything interesting in the fridge when I wake up tomorrow I'll report back then.
Quick joke that nobody so far has liked:
A priest, a rabbi and a horse walk into a bar.