The Story of the Travelling Baking Soda

I had a whole Saturday to kill this weekend so I decided to do some baking. I am due to give birth smack dab in the middle of December and figured maybe I would get some cookies or something baked up and stored in the freezer for Christmas time.

I know. Not like me.

First, I usually couldn't care less about Christmas.

Second I don't bake.

Cooking - yes. Baking - not so much.

So I found this peanut butter cookie recipe from a reputable cookbook, that looked easy enough and I knew I had all the ingredients on hand so I got to it.

And so I was happily measuring, beating, stirring, and just about to add the baking soda to the concoction when I just happened to look at the box of baking soda. I caught a glimpse of the expiry date on the side of the box....

December. 2003.

Now you know I don't bake often but have I really not baked anything that required baking soda since 2003???

And when you buy baking soda, just how long is the shelf life of it? I mean, what year did I actually buy that box of baking soda?? 2002? 2001???

Which got me thinking about just where that box of baking soda was purchased and how far it has travelled and how many times it has moved since, say, 2001.

Steve and I moved to Williams Lake in 2001. We rented an apartment in a 4-plex that was infested with spiders, had disgusting carpets and the bathroom flooded into the rest of the house anytime someone ran water. Apparently one of our landlords was none other than the famous (and recently deceased) Bob Ackles - although he was a silent partner in the venture but still the other landlord liked to brag about it. Our time in that apartment was not overly enjoyable as I could not find work for months and became a miserable bitch. (More of a miserable bitch than I already was). I remember being desperate to fill my days of pure boredom by pouring over cookbooks and trying out different recipes. I do believe that this was when the baking soda was originally purchased.

After living in the 4-plex for a few months we were asked to either kick out our "roommate" (wayward family member) or leave. Me being the stubborn bitch that I am (and being sick of the spiders and the carpet and the flooding) I told the landlord that we would happily move out. Even though we really had no where to go. I didn't care, we had 30 days to find something.

After scouring the papers I found a house for rent which was lovely. I managed to connive the owners into letting us move in over the 3 or 4 other couples who had viewed the place and also wanted to live there. The rent was high but I had finally found a decent paying job and we had nowhere else to go. So we spent the next year or so in the house which we sometimes shared with a couple of other "wayward" individuals in an effort to afford the rent. Our neighbors were a house full of young guys whom we became friends with. I remember baking them a batch of chocolate chip cookies once. I'm sure I used the baking soda for that.

But Williams Lake wasn't the place for us and it was soon time for us to move on. Coincidentally Steve was laid off from his job at a local lumber mill at about the same time my one year maternity leave contract was up with the bank I worked at so we packed up our things -including the baking soda and we headed south.

Sometime in later 2002, we landed in a very small, dark, beetle infested basement suite in Port Coquitlam that flooded every time it rained. And when it rained hard, the water would sometimes rise up almost to my ankles. We endured flood after flood, appliances that didn't properly work, and ignorant landlords who lived in the house above us. I did however, enjoy the local surroundings and spent a lot of time jogging on the local trails and along the Pitt River. This was the time when I became quite thin and was very strict with my diet. I don't remember doing much baking during this time (which may or may not have contributed to my weight loss) and so I'm sure the baking soda sat, idle, in the back of some dank cupboard. Although once, I got so sick once that an ambulance had to be called and I spent the night in the hospital. I never did find out what I ate that made me so incapacitated that I had to be carried out of my home on a stretcher - but since I wasn't doing much baking, I'm sure I can't blame the baking soda which at this time would have probably started getting stale.

Then one day Steve and I found a lovely townhouse complex in Burnaby that was just being built so we put down a down payment. We still had a few months to live in the Port Coquitlam basement suite before the new place would be built and during that time, Steve slipped a ring on my finger and asked me to marry him - even if I wasn't doing much baking.

In October 2003 we officially became home owners and left renting behind. We moved into Burnaby - baking soda in tow. During our time there, we also officially became husband and wife. We hosted quite a few good little parties in our years living there - for which I obviously didn't supply any baked goods but still did my fair share of cooking. Did nothing I made call for baking soda???? It was in the first few months of living in the townhouse that the baking soda actually expired.

Fast forward 5 years and the only baking being done is a bun in the oven - which required a couple of rounds of IVF, a lot of money, and a lot of heart ache but which did not require any baking soda to create. Realizing that 1063 square feet had become too small for the two of us and would certainly be too small once our bun was done baking we set out to buy something bigger and better.

In August 2008 we moved into our current home in North Delta. There is no shortage of space there. And once we'd been moved in for almost a month and are feeling quite content and settled - it was then and only then that I decided that maybe I would start baking again. Steve works on Saturdays and I usually have the whole day to myself. And so instead of wasting the day away, last Saturday I thought I would bake some cookies to store in the freezer for this coming December when I am due to give birth.

And it was then, that I realized that I had been carrying around a box of barely used but opened baking soda for at least 6 or 7 years. I'm almost sad about it now, that I threw it away - thinking about how far it has travelled.

I had to make an emergency trip to the grocery store to buy a fresh new box of baking soda. I made sure to buy the smallest box they had because who knows when it might get used again...