I’m Not The ‘Worst Baker In America,’ But I Guess I’m A Bit Rusty


A few years back, my daughter nominated me for the TV show Worst Baker in America. She didn’t tell me she had done this and, when they called, I insisted I was not the worst baker in America.

Ultimately, I didn’t get on the show, but I had to submit a videotape and all kinds of identification, do a call with the casting company and answer a questionnaire that asked for my entire history, including whether or not I had ever been a porn star. (“Check out these cupcakes!”) No.

Fast forward to last week when my daughter, in a time crunch, asked me if I could bake 24 little banana breads for her daughter’s class by the next day. Of course I could! I’m a grandma!

Unfortunately, I soon realized it had been a decade or two since I last made my famous mini banana breads. I was woefully unprepared. I ran to the store to get a few missing ingredients (bananas) and fired up the oven. I have a gas oven now, so I knew to turn it down a couple of degrees. I figured 13 would be enough. I couldn’t find my big mixing bowl, but eventually located it right in front of me on the kitchen counter, housing oranges.

Here’s the thing about today’s kids — their precious little tummies have issues with everything. Even while my daughter cautioned, “And don’t forget the nuts!” I knew I had to leave some loaves nutless and prepare several different kinds of cream cheese frosting — with nuts, without nuts, with pink food coloring, without pink food coloring, and some with neither cream nor cheese for the lactose intolerant.

I popped all the different loaves into the oven. Then I remembered I hadn’t added nuts to half of them. I pulled them out, sloshed some nuts in there with a teaspoon and pushed the trays back in. A full 10 minutes before they were supposed to be done, I smelled the little devils burning. I yanked them out again, dumped them onto the counter to cool and realized that now I had no idea which had nuts. The solution, of course, to crack each one open and glue it back shut with frosting.

I had seen a YouTube video about a young mother making a pastry bag out of a baggie simply by cutting off the corner, so I decided to try this. It took me forever to cram all that gooey frosting into the bag. I closed up the bag, gave it a squeeze and, instead of a well-controlled swirl like on YouTube, I got a swirl with a forked tail! My bag had two or three punctures!

This was where the mess initially started. Well, that and the fact that I had to slice the burnt bottoms off most of them, flip them over and frost the bottoms so my secret was safe. I wish I was kidding!

When they were all frosted (or not) and dipped in nuts (or not), I started to feel sorry for the kids who had naked loaves. That’s when I hit upon the ingenious idea of no-bake bakery. I got some loaf liners, filled them with m&ms and cinnamon imperials and voila! No cake, no frosting, only the good stuff — candy toppings. Then I started to feel sorry for the kids who had to eat my baking and filled up 24 liners with nothing but candy. And that’s what I brought to school. (The kids loved them!)

When I arrived, my daughter took one look at my little containers of candy and said, “Tell me again why you shouldn’t be on Worst Baker in America?”