Eggs, flour, oil, baking powder, baking soda, sugar—just a little—and salt—just enough. Sadie began combining the pancake ingredients and then realized that she was missing the buttermilk. She moved to the fridge, pulled the door open, and scanned. And scanned. And scanned.
“I’m out?” she said to only herself; Pete’s kids and grandkids were coming for breakfast in about forty minutes.
Certain that buttermilk was in there somewhere, she sifted through the contents of the fridge until she had no choice but to conclude that she was out of buttermilk. How was that possible? She hadn’t baked since . . ah, that’s right. She’d used the last of it in a devil’s food cake she made last Tuesday.
Irritated but not one to wallow, she pulled the regular milk from the fridge and then found the vinegar in the cupboard so that she could make sour milk instead. Then she put the bacon on a cookie sheet and began to heat the griddle for the pancakes.
Finally, the pancakes were on the griddle, the plates were on the table, and the pile of papers on the counter that seemed to multiply by itself from one day to the next was stashed in a cabinet. She’d just put the eggs in the pan for scrambling when she moved to tuck her hair behind her ears and realized she wasn’t wearing any earrings.
Oh biscuits, she thought to herself and hurried to the bedroom. Her favorite earrings had been a small set of diamond studs these last few years but as she was fishing them out of her jewelry box she found one of the gold filigree ones that Pete had given to her last. She could add the gold necklace with the locket on it that had her kids pictures in it, then it would seem like her kids were there too.
Smiling at the sentimentality of it, she began hunting for the second earring. It had to be here—she’d worn them just . . . when had she last worn them? She kept hunting but tried to remember when she’d last worn these earring. At the community production of Music Man last month . . . no, she’d worn the diamonds then. What about the church party? No, she’d worn silver hoops that day. The further back she had to go in her memory, the worse she felt. Pete must feel so bad that she didn’t wear them very often. She redoubled her efforts but the second earring wasn’t in the jewelry box. She checked the drawer and was becoming really panicked when she remembered the traveling jewelry case she took on trips. She always emptied it out, but maybe . . .
“Hooray!” she said out loud when she found it in a hidden corner. She put the earrings in and turned her head either way to watch the gold catch the light of the bathroom vanity. Perfect. It wasn’t until she was in the hallway and smelled something burning food that she realized how long she’d spent looking for that lost earring.
In the kitchen, smoke seeped around the edges of the oven door and the acrid smell of carbon rose from the pan on the stove. The pancakes were dry on top and she knew the bottoms would be black.
Sadie caught sight of the time on the microwave clock and realized there was no time to lament her poor time management. Sadie always had a Pan B but there was no time to waste. Everything went into the trash and the trash went outside. Windows were opened, the ceiling fan was turned on, and sliced up an orange to boil alongside some cinnamon sticks boiling on the stove would soon cover the smell of carbon.
By the time Pete showed up twenty minutes later, the frozen mini quiches she kept on hand for emergencies were in the oven and a coffee cake was on it’s way from Mindy’s bakery. The orange juice, luckily, had survived. Sadie was waiting on the porch with five bottles of bubbles—also kept on hand for emergencies—which would keep them entertained until the impromptu breakfast was ready and the air inside had cleared a bit more.
Pete leaned in to kiss her on the cheek while the kids went crazy with the bubbles and then when he pulled back, paused and flicked the earing on the right side. “Hey, nice earrings,” he said. “Where’d you get them?”
Sadie started to laugh, but then realized from his expression that he wasn’t joking. “You’re kidding, right?” she said, remembering the ruined breakfast that were due to these earrings.
“No, I’m not kidding,” he said innocently. “They’re really nice. Are they new?”
“You gave them to me,” Sadie said. Charcoaled bacon. Burned eggs. Hockey puck pancakes.
Pete cocked his head to the side and gave them a closer look. “Really?” he smiled and then shrugged. “Good for me then. Are you sure you don’t need help with breakfast?”
You can read more about Sadie in Wedding Cake, the 12th book in the “Culinary” mystery series, published by Shadow Mountain. The first book in the series is Lemon Tart.
About the author
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.