My birthday was a few days ago. The big 2-0. I’ve already received numerous phone calls, texts and a whole Timeline full of awkward Facebook posts both from people close to me and those random people I haven’t talked to in five years who still feel the need to wish me a happy birthday on Facebook.
After 20 years on this planet, homemade gifts always have a special place in my heart. Especially baked goods. I always have so much respect for those fortunate souls who seem to have a built-in ability to bake, because I unfortunately do not. When people try to make those dumb “You’re a woman; get back in the kitchen” jokes toward me, I just laugh and ask if they really want food poisoning that badly.
I remember a particular incident my senior year of high school. It was my friend Mitch’s birthday party, and my friend Katy had already called me up. She had forgotten to get something for Mitch and wanted to see if she could mooch off of me in the form of a “joint present.” Well, I had also forgotten to get Mitch a present and was currently flipping out about what to do.
A brilliant idea popped up in my head: why not just bake him a cake?
Problem was, we had no cake mix in my house, and my car was on its last leg of gas, so I settled with baking easy-bake cookies. You know, the kind that are already pre-cut, and literally all you have to do is pop them in the oven.
Fairly simple, right? Wrong. So very wrong.
I was in a hurry, seeing as I was already 20 minutes late for the party. I grabbed the tray, and in a swift motion, made my way over to the oven. There was one problem. The single soccer cleat my brother left in the middle of the kitchen.
Naturally, I tripped over the cleat and face-planted. But not before all the cookies and the parchment paper slid off the tray, fell to the burners at the bottom of the oven and spontaneously combusted.
Needless to say, I freaked out. There was now a semi-life-threatening fire raging at the bottom of the oven.
I did what any teenager would do in a crisis like this: I called my mom.
“MOM! MOM! OHMYGOSHITHINKIJUSTLITTHEHOUSEONFIRE!” Clearly calm, cool and collected. “DO I, DO I, THROW WATER IN THERE OR SOMETHING?!?”
“Taylor, shut the door,” my mom said calmly.
I shut the oven door. The fire went out.
“Oh… um… thanks…”
The phone clicked off.
Needless to say, that was the end of Taylor Wanbaugh’s baking career.
I guess that’s not the proper attitude to have when it comes to something that is pretty much vital to sustaining life. Even if you aren’t good at something the first time around (or the second, third, or 22nd), you should be persistent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also, it might not be a bad idea to always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
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