I was looking for a pair of tickets (“which will be sent to you in an unmarked envelope” the Telecharge guy had said) when I became overwhelmed by clutter. I went from stack to stack—magazines, bills, folders of writing projects, recipe clippings, books I’m meaning to read and on and on. And it hit me. Why do I have so much junk in here? Do I really need to keep the 2006 editions of New York Magazine’s “Cheap Eats” and “Best Doctors in New York?”
Are they even considered the best and the cheapest anymore? And what about all of the catalogues from which I will be ordering nothing? Oh, and the five books I’ve made it half way through before moving onto the next? Something had to give. And then I remembered something I heard a wise woman once say, “Never leave a room empty handed.”
Marilu Henner. I know. I can’t believe I just quoted her either. Elaine from ‘Taxi’ has been a healthy living guru for years and spreads the word on everything from the thrill of a dairy-free life to organizing your home.
But she’s right. If you remove something that is out of place every time you leave a room and put it in its rightful place (or get rid of it altogether) you will have a clean, clutter-free life in no time at all! So, I decided to take a fresh look at my apartment, as if I was walking in for the first time.
Bad idea. Where do you stop? After trying to tackle all the obvious surfaces and sorting things into put away, throw away, give away (I came up with that on my own!) I thought about all the unnecessary stuff lurking behind doors of cabinets and closets, drawers and shelves and I started to feel my chest tighten with anxiety. Would I ever really fulfill Marilu’s directive? Live an organized and calm life? And did I really care enough to dive under my bed to sort through the bags of tights I once wore everyday in my old office life and now never consider in my current jeans life? It’s like the way Martha Stewart has a recipe for ketchup. I mean come on, Heinz isn’t good enough? When does madness stop and acceptance begin?
One thing that did really surprise me was how accustomed to disarray I had become. I’m a very clean person and a pretty neat one too. But with a fresh eye I realized I’d gotten used to this tableau of semi-litter. Like that crumpled dryer sheet. I’d done my laundry three days ago and had been stepping over it ever since.
Wake up lady and pick up your stuff! I also found a sock I’d tossed on my closet floor when I’d discovered a hole in the toe and was running late so I pulled out another pair from my sock drawer and left holey just lying there. And let’s not even start on the leaning tower of New Yorkers that sat mocking me from their perch on the coffee table. Oh dear.
Aside from all the scraps of paper, stacks of periodicals and piles of I’ll-get-to-that-later-stuff I started noticing some lovely things I had stopped seeing and appreciating—works of art by my niece, a bowl I’d bought in Mexico and, on the red wall of my kitchen the framed pages of a Royal Baking Powder cookbook I picked up at flea market five years ago. They have been hanging there ever since and I have yet to bake a single one of the recipes. Until now.
I had never made popovers before and I couldn’t believe how easy they were. I only had a muffin tin but after this experience I may break the bank and cough up the $ for an official popover pan. These would be great cracked open and spread with a little jam, or as a vessel for scrambled eggs or chili or just plain—so easy, so good and right in front of me the whole time. And yes, I found my tickets.
Thank you Marilu!
Sorry, I Didn't Even Notice You Popovers
Adapted Royal Baking Powder Cookbook
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2 Tablespoons Canola oil, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450
Pour 1/2 teaspoon canola oil in each cup of 12 cup muffin pan. (If you have a six cup popover pan, more power to you. Use that instead and place one teaspoon oil in each cup.)
Place in preheated oven for 5 minutes
Sift flour and salt in a large bowl
Make a well in the flour and pour butter, milk and eggs into well
Whisk until smooth
Pour into heated muffin or popover tin, filling the cups halfway
Bake for 20 minutes
Reduce oven to 350 degrees
Bake an additional 15 minutes until dark golden, puffy and risen
Cool slightly and serve immediately