Lisa Quarantine, reporting from the kitchen.

With mixed results.

That's a euphemism.

Having “mixed results” is what people say when you screw up.

Which would be me, in the kitchen of late.

Nothing I'm mixing is working.

Leaving me mixed up.

Let me explain.

I started making banana bread, which has to be the easiest thing in the world to bake. I got a simple recipe, and it came out great the first time.

But I made it a second and third time, and it flopped both times.

I can’t say I’m completely surprised.

After my first success, I got cocky and started wondering how many corners I could cut.

For example, the recipe says that you have to use three separate bowls, mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in a second bowl, and the bananas in a third, then add them in a specific order.


I didn't want to have to use three bowls every time and clean them all up.

So I mixed the ingredients in one big bowl.

I can't even remember the order in which I mixed them. I just put them in the bowl and stirred them with a big spoon.

I mean, is it rocket science?


It can't be true that banana bread works only if you add wet to dry and not dry to wet.

In the end, they're all mixed up, right?

No, wrong.

Both times the banana bread turned out a runny mess.

And then the fourth time the banana bread didn't bake at all, and Francesca figured out by the dirty dishes that I had mistakenly used double the amount of sour cream.

OK, that I get.

The bread was like soup.

Of course I ate it anyway.

A girl needs her sour cream.

But it's not only food that I'm screwing up.

I started noticing that my silverware looked very dull. It's not real silver, it’s just normal forks, spoons, and knives, but there's old mustard, egg yolk, and cat food stuck to everything, especially the spoons, which are caked with peanut butter from giving medication to the dogs.

If you have geriatric pets, you know what I mean. There’s not a spoon in the house that isn’t brown.

And there are fingerprints in your Skippy.

Then I saw online that there was an easy way to clean silverware, which was to line a baking dish with aluminum foil, then add a cup of boiling water, a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of sea salt, and a half a cup of white vinegar.

Like a recipe for cleaning.

Which is against nature.

To me, if you’re going to follow a recipe, you should end up with carbohydrates.

But I followed the directions, though I had to quadruple the quantities to submerge all the silverware, and then the recipe said to stand back.


I ignored that part, since I ignore directions I don’t understand, or directions at all.

It happens every time I pull over in my car and ask for directions. Directions fly out of my head. I stop understanding after the second sentence.

It’s like someone’s speaking algebra.

I remember one trip to Connecticut, my phone was out of battery and I got lost. I had to ask for directions four times, but I started each time with: “Just tell me the next two things to do, and after I get there, I’ll ask somebody else.”

Anyway, to return to the kitchen, I didn’t pay attention to the stand-back part, and when I added the vinegar, foam erupted from the dish like lava, then raced all over the counter and spilled onto the floor.


It was exciting!