COVID brain strikes again . . . and again, this time in the kitchen!

My decades-old bread machine still works perfectly. Its operator does not.

Using a bread machine to bake bread is as easy as ordering books on Amazon. You simply toss your ingredients into the bin and press “Start” or in the case of Amazon, “Place Order”. I’m not like my friend Terry who spends two days baking wonderful sourdough or walnut bread from a homemade starter. While I admire her creativity and her stamina, I’m not that virtuous or ambitious. Instead, I hauled my decades-old bread machine up from the basement this past winter and decided to treat myself to fresh bread for toast every Saturday and Sunday morning. Yummm!

Things went well for several weeks. Then, as described in an earlier blog, I was out of commission for a while recuperating from hip replacement surgery. For a few weeks, I was excused from kitchen duties until I was well enough to prop myself up again at the counter for the time required to make something. My husband was delighted to see me back at my post (I’m afraid I did not share his enthusiasm) but I’ve started to resume preparing meals.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. In fact, as soon as bread is declared a bonafide all-inclusive health food I plan to eat nothing but toast and jam, three times a day for the rest of my life. Until then, I restrict myself to weekends only and I like my toast made with high-quality bread. Superstore’s PC Express service has been consistently remiss about delivering my favoured ACE brand with my weekly online order so I put the old bread machine back in service.

On Friday night, I dumped all the ingredients into the loaf pan to be ready for Saturday morning’s toast. Just before going to bed that night, I lifted the lid after four hours of churning and baking to peek inside. What faced me resembled a flat, five-by-seven-inch pancake.  Fortunately, I had time to start the process over again before heading to bed to watch Bill Maher. Much to my surprise and disappointment, Saturday morning revealed Failure #2. Another pancake, flat and unusable. Strike two.

I should have applied the carpenters’ mantra: “Measure twice, cut once”. I was a cup and a half short.

What went wrong? Was my yeast too old? Did the paddle on the machine not rotate? Do I need a new machine? With two strikes already against me, I decided to give it a third and final try. As I was scooping the flour into the bin, I just happened to notice I had used the half-cup measuring cup instead of the full one-cup, so I was a cup and a half short of a full load. The good news is I do not need a new bread machine and my yeast is still good. My hips and legs are working better but my brain continues to default to COVID-era mush.

It seems I still need supervision in the kitchen. My husband and I are constantly cross-checking each other to make sure all the burners on the stove are turned off. Is the oven off? Is the dog still outside? Did we feed her today? Who left the toilet running? Not me! Hubby burned the kettle so many times by not turning the burner off, we had to order an electric kettle that shuts off automatically when the water has boiled. Built-in safety features are now a necessity for old boomers dealing with everyday living. Should I really be trusted to use an electrical appliance to make my own bread?

So, today’s lesson, mes chères, is measure twice, cut once, even in the kitchen. Life under COVID may be simpler on so many fronts, such as, what to wear every day (yoga pants and tee-shirts), and what to do today (nothing), but it still has its challenges. It’s a good thing I’m no longer in the corporate world or I’d be getting a summons from H.R. to see if I needed some time off. Ironically, that’s what got me into this mess. I hope when the world returns to normal, so will my doughy brain.

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Gail Czopka
Gail Czopka
2 years ago

Yes, Covid confinement has us all second guessing ourselves. Not too much harm in a bread machine disaster but I do question driving skills on the roads due to Covid brain. Far too many minds not focused. Hopefully time will correct things for the better.

Gail from Oakville