After a most encouraging choir practise this morning, followed by a fun lunch out with a friend who was celebrating her birthday today, I came home buoyed by elation and started to make the fruit loaf I want to serve tomorrow to our afternoon guests.
It started off positively enough. I had sufficient ingredients for the loaf without having to slip'n'slide on the icy sidewalks over to the grocery store. The fruit I thawed out overnight in the refrigerator was all plump and juicy and fresh looking. All was well. I got the batter mixed up, stirred in the fruit and spatula'd it into the loaf pan.
As I was putting in the last bit of batter, I bumped the bowl against the edge of the loaf pan, which then flew across the counter like a wet beer glass sliding down to the end of the bar in a nightclub and flopped itself completely upside down, thunk, on the kitchen floor!!!! It fell off the counter so quickly and so perfectly upside down that every last atom of batter stayed in that pan!!! Plop! No splats, no splooshes, just a complete and utter plop! Upside down on the floor!!!! O no!!! I slid my huge, flat, round pancake spatula under the pan, once I recovered from the shock and horror of what I managed to do, and flipped it over in one swift motion that kept the batter locked in place. There was a perfect rectangle of batter left on the floor, but I had been able to get the spatula in closely enough to the upside down top of the pan to create a separation between the first 1/8 of an inch of batter stuck to the floor and the remainder still in the pan.
So, obviously, despite my careful lifting of the batter and pan off the floor, I would not be serving it to guests, but what to do with all those ingredients, particularly the expensive fruit. Only the patchiest layer of batter was actually on the floor, after all. I tried, truly I did try, to convince myself to just scoop the entire mass of remaining batter from the pan into the garbage. I got as far as opening the cupboard door and pulling out the garbage bin in preparation to dispose of it all, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Oooh, I tried SO hard to convince myself that what was left was not fit for human consumption, but I failed. I decided to cook it anyway for my husband and I to eat if there were no obvious bits of lint on the top of the batter (and there weren't), used the 5 second rule despite the fact that it only refers to dried foods that have fallen on the floor, not sloppy batter, and popped the whole works into the oven.
I congratulated myself on having made a decision and set the timer for an hour to bake the possibly now fatally diseased fruit loaf and exhaled in relief. The relief lasted until 20 minutes later when the electrical power for our apartment (and as I discovered later the entire southern half of our city) went out and stayed out for over 2 hours!!! Sigh...........
I left the loaf in the oven, assuming there was no point in scraping barely warm batter into the garbage when leaving it in the 350F degree oven would at least cook some of the batter to a more solid form and make it easier to dispose of later. I spent a good deal of the 2 hour outage on my hands and knees under my husband's desk with my trusty wee flashlight trying to disconnect the wires and plugs of his 4 computers from the battery power surge protection unit so it would stop beeping every 30 seconds, cussing him out for all the computers and their wires and cords and plugs and the sheer amount of old electronic parts, boxes and other computer related "junk" I had to pull out from under his desk to get at the blasted wires and cords and plugs to disconnect them!! (OOOOOOH, I will be so glad when he is done with his present computer project in the coming days and we can get rid of all that STUFF!)
Finally the power returned and I pulled the fruit loaf out of the oven, it looking none the worse for wear despite its many adventures. As the oven had cooled down it still managed to bake the blasted thing all around the edges, top and bottom and only the very center of the loaf was still mushy batter. I decided to just go ahead and put the oven back on to finish baking it and see what kind of experiment results I would get, just for the heck of it. 20 minutes later I pulled it out and cut a big slice off the end to see what had happened to it.
I couldn't believe it. Other than being a bit overcooked along the bottom, the loaf didn't look or taste (yes, I tasted it...rather a large slice of it actually) any different than if it had neither fallen on the floor nor been left largely uncooked in an oven with dying heat. I sliced it in half crosswise to make sure the centre was cooked and it was and it had the right texture, just like the end piece. Wow!!
So, there it sits, covered with cling wrap and tinfoil. In the morning I will cut it up and wrap it and freeze it for lunch desserts or evening snacks. It has been 5 hours since I ate my hunk (yeah, it was definitely heftier than a "slice") of loaf and no dire consequences have been experienced. Perhaps the heat in the oven managed to kill off any unhealthy "things" that it picked up from its previously fallen state. My husband is not averse to helping me eat the rest of it. Mind you he is kind of like that character from the old cereal commercials on tv: "Give it to Mikey! He'll eat anything!!" haha
My company will have to put up with some other kind of secondary snack tomorrow to go along with the vanilla/almond cake. I will thaw some more fruit to spoon over it and call it good enough! Maybe I have enough packs of airplane pretzels left in the cupboard from our travels a couple of weeks ago to put into a small bowl without looking too chintzy?
In other news, my husband is safely home from a good meeting in Maple Creek and a lot of fun with his friend last evening. It is good to see him. I missed him despite having such a grand time myself while he was away. Hopefully he will feel rested enough to come to church with me in the morning. If I sleep even half as well as I did last night, I will be all set and ready to go to church with no worries about being late getting ready to go. For once.........