I’ve had several people in my life tell me I’m Type A and I have never bought it. In my mind, the evidence against me being Type A is enormous and insurmountable.
Exhibit A: My basement stairs? Don’t remember the last time I vacuumed them.
Exhibit B: My laundry? Everywhere, most likely unfolded, definitely not put away.
Exhibit C-D: I have an outside furniture project I started over a month ago and still have yet to finish and we can’t even start talking about the state of my room/bathroom because I will have to resort to day drinking to combat depression.
Despite this (and many, many other examples of my slovenly existence), I have been likened to Leslie Knope more than once (A fantastic compliment that I take even though I consider it misplaced.) and one of my newest friends has repeatedly laughed and said “you’re so type A”.
One of the first time I was told this was right after I told someone I enjoyed baking.
“You must be Type A.” she said “You probably enjoy doing things exactly the way they’re meant to be done.”
I’ll admit, I do appreciate that aspect of baking. (Follow the recipe and boom! Cake!) I also love the transformation that takes place when you bake. Mushy brown blobs become irresistible cookies. Boring white cream becomes fluffy whipped topping. It’s very rewarding. As are the compliments that come whenever people taste whatever I’ve made. (Unless the taster is my professional chef brother, who likes to tell me things are “fine”.)
I also enjoy the challenge of baking and find it a very calming hobby. I learned this week, however, that I apparently do not find it calming when I’m trying to help someone (say, my husband) do baking for me.
On Tuesday this week we were scheduled to have dinner with some friends. We were asked to bring dessert, a thing I usually love to do. Leading up to Tuesday, however, we had a hectic weekend and then a late-ish Monday night with guests. So I didn’t get a chance to peruse cookbooks or baking sites and find something fun to make. I was distraught that perhaps we’d have to just go the store bought route when Matt said the words I’m sure he soon regretted.
“I’ll make something baby, don’t worry about it.”
Quick additional note…not only do I not consider myself Type A, I also don’t consider myself to be a micro-manager. I’ve worked for a world class micro-manager before and it was so horrible that I’ve always tried to not be that way.
Try to keep all of that in mind as you read the following exchange between me and my beloved husband, all in the name of dessert:
Me : so…what if Amy (Note: babysitter) and GiGi made cookies or something while Georgia napped today? Is she taking them somewhere? Because we have to bring a dessert…
Matt: I don’t think she’s taking them anywhere. I’ll make cookies. I’ll go grab some supplies at lunch.
Me: Yeah? If she’s into it they could do it, i’m sure GiGi would like it. But whatever’s easiest. Sorry I didn’t get it done last night.
Matt: It’s cool, we had company.
Me: Do you want me to find you a recipe or something?
<Five minutes pass during which Matt possibly realizes he’s made a huge mistake.>
Me: Does this look easy enough to you? You combine things in a food processor basically. And it’s just a few ingredients.
<I send him this recipe for mini chocolate hazelnut cheesecakes from Food & Wine>
Matt: I was thinking more along the lines of a cookie dough that I roll into balls and place on a baking sheet.
Me: Lol fine. This seems way easier to me, even though it looks more complicated. But I’ll find a cookie recipe if you want.
<Two minutes pass>
Me: You want to make a dirt cake?
Matt: <referring to the cheesecake recipe> Baby, that is not a simple recipe. It might be simple to you.
Me: omg that recipe has 3 steps! It’s so easy!
Matt: Three giant ass steps. Each step has five steps.
Me: Grind up the first set of ingredients, put in muffin liners. Bake. Grind up the other stuff, put on top of crust in muffin cups, bake.
Matt: How about this: mix ingredients, place on baking sheet, bake.
Me: I hear you. The “mix ingredients” part for cookies is just usually messier and involves multiple measuring cups/spoons and prep bowls. I was also thinking of dishes damage here. BTW I’m serious about the dirt cake option. I also think that will be less work than cookies.
Matt: I think I’m okay with using multiple measuring cups and spoons, I’m envisioning one bowl…you know what? I’ll find something.
Me: hahahahaha. You don’t like my dirt cake idea?
Me: How about rice krispy treats? And we could bring a thing of strawberries and whipped cream and do a sort of modified strawberry shortcake?
Me: Rice krispy treats are no big deal! I’ve made them while drunk! (note: true story. best rice krispy treats of my life.)
Matt: I am going to make some cookies. That’s it.
Me: <not letting the krispy treat thing go.> Melt butter with marshmallows, add rice krispies, put in dish to cool. Boom. Done.
<Almost 10 minutes pass with no response from Matt>
Me: Are you just ignoring my baking options now?
Matt: I texted you.
I go to check my phone and sure enough there’s a text from about 10 minutes earlier:
Hey, it seems like my chats aren’t coming through, so I thought I would text you and let you know that I’m going to make cookies tonight. Love you!
I go back to chat:
Me: hahaha. omg. I want you to know that what I googled was “easy impressive desserts”. I was trying to go easy for you!
Matt: Everything seems easy to you. I need something that is both easy and not time consuming. I don’t really care about the “impressive” part.
Me: It’s not that I’m not hearing you. It’s that I think cookies are more time consuming than what I’ve been proposing, especially since you usually have to make several batches – it’s not like you get them all on one sheet.
Matt: I seriously underestimated how much discussion there was going to be when I said I would make something.
Cue me feeling a pang of anxiety as I think I’ve stepped over the line and now have an Angry Matt on my hands. I’ve been laughing this whole time, aware of my insanity, but who knows how he’s taking this over the impersonal medium of gchat? Has he resolutely placed me in the “Nag” category forever?
Me: Sorry. I’ll leave you alone. Honestly I thought I was helping.
Matt: It’s fine I just think it’s funny.
Me: Oh really? You’re not frustrated? I thought you were getting mad at me.
Matt: No I’m not mad.
Me: Phew. I’ve been laughing too.
Matt: You’re a total baking micro-manager. You can’t help it.
Me: I can’t remember the last time you baked something. so….in my mind this is uncharted territory and I look at it more as a mentor/mentee situation.
Matt: Which is why it was so funny that the first thing you sent me was mini chocolate hazelnut cheesecakes that need to be baked twice.
Me: But see I see that as the oven doing all the work for you! “mix this – bake. mix that – bake – done”
At this point we move on to other things and I don’t hear about this for hours. And then…
Matt: Okay I’m going to try this, do we have what we need and what would I have to get? <He sends me the link for the mini chocolate hazelnut cheesecakes>
Me: You don’t have to do that.
Matt: Do they sell skinned hazelnuts? Because I’m not buying hazelnuts and skinning them myself.
Me: Just use almonds or pecans, we have both in our pantry.
Matt: So we have unsalted butter?
Me: No I never use unsalted butter. Just use butter.
Matt: Where are the liners?
Me: Baking cabinet – the one underneath my mixer – left hand side – pull out the shelf.
Matt: Fuck me.
Matt: I forgot the Nutella…also I didn’t spray down the liners.
Matt: well in a move that will almost certainly end in disaster, I pulled everything out after one minute in the oven when I realized I didn’t have Nutella in there. Tried to mix a dollup of Nutella in with each one, and put them back in, subsequently mixing in the chocolate chips.
Me: It’s going to be delicious.
Matt: “Mixing” in the Nutella is a very generous term.
Me: It will be a swirl. Perfect. People love marble cheesecake.
Matt: “Stirred the blob of Nutella” is more accurate. “Moved around”.
Me: I’m dying. I can’t wait to eat them.
I get home from work and we head to our dinner. The kids know dessert is coming and can barely choke down their pork chops and broccoli before we finally tell them it’s time for dessert.
And you know what? They were pretty good!
The Nutella kind of settled in the middle of the cheesecake filling so it actually seemed almost intentional. Like a bonus shot of hazelnut chocolate goodness. I had always planned on serving them with a can of whipped cream someone had brought over. Matt took this as an insult to his baking skills but I promised him it was just a way to use up this whipped cream.
Can you see the Nutella center in there?
In the end I think we all learned something. I learned that perhaps there is some credence to these Leslie Knope comparisons…
And Matt learned next time, if there is a next time, he should just stay quiet and make the damn cookies.