Mama dumped her shopping bags on the floor and flopped down onto a kitchen chair. “Phew, but I am tired,” she said wiping sweat from her forehead. “And I still have so much baking to do for Reverend Dumisani’s birthday tea at the church this afternoon.”
“Are you making pancakes, Mama?” said Unathi excitedly. “I can help you.”
“No,” said Mama. “This is a special birthday tea for Reverend Dumisani. All the ministers from our church are coming, as well as Reverend Dumisani’s close friend, Reverend Buso. I have heard that Reverend Buso likes cheese scones, so I bought a scone mix for those. Reverend Dumisani likes sugar biscuits, so I bought a biscuit mix for those.”
Unathi looked sad, “I think you should make pancakes, Mama. Everyone loves those. And if you make them, I can help you.”
“No, thank you, Unathi,” said Mama. “I want everyone to see how good my baking is. I am baking scones and biscuits and I am in a hurry. I need to do these on my own.” Mama started unpacking the packets of scone mix and biscuit mix and getting out butter and bowls.
Unathi watched Mama as she opened one of the packets and poured it into a bowl. She dropped little squares of butter into the mixture and rubbed them with her fingertips. “Are those the scones or the biscuits, Mama?” asked Unathi.
“The scones,” said Mama adding cheese to the mixture and stirring it all together.
“Mama, are you sure you have the right packet?” asked Unathi.
Mama looked up from pouring milk into a measuring cup. “Unathi, I am sorry,” she said crossly, “but I have told you that I am in a hurry. Please go and play.”
“But …” started Unathi.
“Off you go,” said Mama firmly.
Unathi felt like she wanted to cry. She was only trying to help. It seemed like Mama wasn’t very nice when she was trying to impress other people.
Unathi went and sat in the big tree in the garden. She watched Mama through the kitchen window.
When Mama had finished rolling and cutting the last of the dough, she wiped her hands on a cloth and looked out the window. She saw Unathi sitting in the tree and waved at her to come down. Unathi was pleased. Maybe Mama was no longer cross with her and would let her lick the bowls.
Mama smiled at Unathi when she came into the kitchen. “My baking is done. I am sorry that I was so cross, but I had a lot to do. I have saved you a small spoonful of biscuit dough to taste,” said Mama.
Unathi smiled back at her and popped the blob of biscuit dough into her mouth. She closed her eyes as she waited for the delicious sweetness to reach her taste buds.
“Ughh, yuk!” cried Unathi, spitting the ball of dough back into her hand. “These fancy biscuits are horrible. I don’t like them at all.”
Mama raised her eyebrows in surprise, “What do you mean, Unathi? You are being very rude.”
“Sorry, Mama, but you should taste this,” said Unathi. “It’s not nice at all.”
Mama pinched off a small piece of dough and put it into her mouth. Her nose wrinkled in disgust. “That is terrible,” she said. “But what could have gone wrong?” Suddenly she cupped her hands over her eyes. “Oh, no!” she moaned. “I’ve mixed up the scone mix and the biscuit mix! I’ve made very sweet scones and cheesy sugar biscuits!”
Mama sat at the table and put her head in her hands. “What am I going to do now? I have no more scone or biscuit mix, and there’s not much time left anyway. What am I going to make for Reverend Dumisani’s birthday tea?”
Unathi suddenly had a great idea. “There is enough time to make pancakes, Mama! And all we need is flour, eggs, oil and milk. We always have those. AND I can help you!”
Mama hugged Unathi. “You’re right. I should have listened to you in the first place. Pancakes will be perfect.”
Mama and Unathi got to work straight away. They made a big batch of pancakes. Unathi ate five while she was helping!
The birthday tea that afternoon was a great success and it turned out that both the ministers loved pancakes!