“Today I woke up to my mom knocking on the door with coffee, she wanted to watch an episode of I Love Lucy with me. The door was open and the cats watched squirrels through the screen door's mesh. Milo sat on my lap and I had some toast. It's been a good day so far.”
I wrote those words to my friends yesterday, in the morning before I worked outside for five hours. I wrote those words to have others share in my experience, to bear witness to the new life I’m living. How I’m not so scared anymore, not running away. I won’t be moving for a while, but I’m sure as hell happy about my decision to be here.
New rituals. That’s how I am living now. In between the concept and the creation, there is this part of me that remains languid, relaxed in this new routine. Wake up, drink coffee, kiss my mother good morning. Check emails, feed the outside cats, feed Milo, and take it a little slow. Get frustrated, take a nap, bake a cake. I go down on my lunch breaks to see my mother again. We talk about my sister’s pregnancy, we talk about how I would beg her to draw stick figures for me when I was little. We don’t ever talk about her mother, her childhood, when she lost her job, but the gaps in conversation do all the talking for us both.
I mowed the lawn for two hours, long expansive lines that waver on the small inclines of the backyard. We cut down trees yesterday, piled them up and set them on fire. The pit my friends and I would roast marshmallows around is now a burn pile for old trash, dead wood, sick grapevines, and junk mail my dad wants rid of. Melted bottles and pale, pale ash.
My parents moved on, took over the things that were once ours, made it their own. The house wasn’t kept how I left it when I moved out seven years ago. My old bedroom now houses a cat that is too old and sick from surgery. The quilt my great-aunt made me hangs like a tapestry in the stairway. And the pool we received from donations when my brother had cancer now has a wrap-around deck. Unfinished, only half painted, the wood a little rough and the towels snag.
This is my routine now, to be complacent with where I am. How I live. What I am doing. I’m raised in the meeting point of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Appalachian Mountains. I smelled the apple trees’ smoke on my clothes and there was soot underneath my nails. And I didn’t know why my eyes were watering so bad, but I didn’t bother to wipe them right away.
While you do not need a specialty pan for these, they do make for a nice presentation and a more consistent baking. With a popover pan, this recipe yields 9. With a muffin pan, it yields 12-15.
- 1 ¼ cup AP flour
- ½ cup graham flour (I love Bob's Red Mill's for this recipe)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 TB brown sugar, dark
- 2 TB molasses, dark
- 1 TB clover honey
- 1 TB pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
- 3 TB unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup store-bought marshmallow fluff
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 graham cracker, processed to dust for toppin
- Sift flours, salt, and brown sugar in a small bowl
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together molasses, honey, vanilla, eggs, milk, and butter until yolks are broken and liquids are a pale yellow
- Whisking slowly, add flour mixture to wet
- Whisk rapidly until bubbles begin to form
- Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 450*F, prepare popover pan (or muffin tin) with cooking spray
- When resting is complete, spoon mixture into pans ¾ of the way full
- Top with a spoonful of marshmallow fluff and a few chocolate chips
- Bake for 20 minutes at 450*F
- Reduce heat to 350*F and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes (do not open the door, but check through your window to see tall sides that are golden brown)
- Remove from oven, cut a slit into the popovers immediately to allow steam to escape
- Turn popovers out of pan, sprinkle with a little graham cracker crumb and a few more chips and serve warm