December 19, 2003

Dear friends,

It is another interstitial night here at PTMYB.  Having survived the Wednesday night LutherCorp office party, at which I was given the improbable nickname of Lady Godiva even though I am 99 44/100% sure that no nudity occurred on that night, I am headed out again tonight.  This time I will be joining a cluster of high-spirited femmes for Korean barbecue, which means I will arrive home full, semi-drunk, reeking of smoke and fermented fish-based sauces, and happy as a clam.  Poor Lloyd.

Last night’s, uh, spirited post about Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland and his wife attracted the attention of my friend Vee, who had more beauty and integrity at birth than I will ever hope to achieve in my whole life.  Unfortunately, she had to slap my hand, and rightly so, for failing to attribute the title of the post.  Whoops.  No, I did not make up the title by myself; I cribbed it from “Frankly Mr. Shankly” by the Smiths.  “You munged the line, too,” said Vee.  So I did.  I should have said “I didn’t realise you wrote such bloody awful poetry.” Anything else, Vee?  “Yes.  One begins to ascertain that you are not a Buddhist.” Such a card, that Vee.  It is only because she is a dead ringer for Diana Rigg that she gets away with it.

By now I should be well-acquainted with the perils of office food, and not check out the leftovers from the board of directors’ lunch this afternoon.  So it is my fault that I spied something that looked like strawberry mousse in the lunchroom and decided to try a little ramekin of it.  Hmm.  A curious mix, this.  It is supposedly made of whipped cream, but there is not a whisper of dairy taste about it.  It is topped with fresh strawberries, but it doesn’t taste of strawberry.  It doesn’t taste of any fruit of all, come to think of it.  It does taste vaguely of cinnamon – but why in the world would you put cinnamon in a strawberry dessert?  I am starting to fear that I have just participated in a blind food-additive test, when a co-worker walks into the caff.  “Is that strawberry?” he asks.  “Nnnnno,” I answer.  “What flavor is it?” he asks.  “Uh, I think it’s pink-flavored,” I answer.  Co-worker laughs, grabs a spoon, tastes it.  A look of puzzlement crosses his face.  “Oh,” he says.  “It is pink-flavored.”

The aforementioned Miss Vee has suggested that I put up some happy news, to offset yesterday’s philippic.  This is not happy news, but it is news I am glad to read.  Gary Ridgway, the confessed Green River Killer, was sentenced to 48 consecutive life sentences on Thursday.  If you are not familiar with the Green River Killer, and the path of fear, misery and destruction he carved into Washington and Oregon, ask a Pacific Northwest-based friend about him.  (Or read this article from the Tacoma News Tribune, but be warned that it is painful.) There was much controversy over a deal that the prosecution cut with Ridgway, sparing him the death penalty in exchange for full disclosure of all his crimes and the whereabouts of his victims’ remains.  Although I’m sure my opinion would be much different if it were my mother or sister or best friend or cousin who crossed his lethal path, I have to admit that I’m glad the deal was made, simply because Judge Richard A. Jones was able to say, in effect, you will pay for what you did to Wendy Lee Coffield.  Gisele Ann Lovvorn.  Debra Lynn Bonner.  Marcia Faye Chapman.  Cynthia Jean Hinds.  Opal Charmaine Mills.  Terry Rene Milligan.  Mary Bridget Meehan.  Debra Lorraine Estes.  Linda Jane Rule.  Denise Darcel Bush.  Shawnda Leea Summers.  Shirley Marie Sherrill.  Colleen Renee Brockman.  Alma Ann Smith.  Delores LaVerne Williams.  Gail Lynn Mathews.  Andrea M. Childers.  Sandra Kay Gabbert.  Kimi-Kai Pitsor.  Marie M. Malvar.  Carol Christensen.  Martina Theresa Authorlee.  Cheryl Lee Wims.  Yvonne Shelly Antosh.  Carrie A. Rois.  Constance Elizabeth Naon.  Kelly Marie Ware.  Tina Marie Thompson.  April Dawn Buttram.  Debbie May Abernathy.  Tracy Ann Winston.  Maureen Sue Feeney.  Mary Sue Bello.  Pammy Avent.  Delise Louise Plager.  Kimberly L. Nelson (also known as Tina Tomson and Linda Lee Barkey). Lisa Yates.  Mary Exzetta West.  Cindy Anne Smith.  Patricia Michelle Barczak.  Roberta Joseph Hayes.  Marta Reeves.  Patricia Yellow Robe.  Jane Doe.  Jane Doe.  Jane Doe.  Jane Doe.

Posted by Bakerina at 06:07 PM in anger is an energy • (2) Comments
December 18, 2003

I am the last person who should be surprised or dismayed by odd behavior from our elected leaders. (If you are worried that this is going to turn into a “look what those knuckleheads in Congress did today!” screed, fear not. I would like to think that I have more going on than that automated dj machine on The Simpsons, the one with which KBBL station management keeps threatening to replace Bill and Marty. But maybe I don’t, and of course you are invited to tell me if I am indeed mistaken.) Because I literally cut my teeth on one of the more sordid chapters in American history—when my kindergarten teacher asked me what my mommy’s favorite television show was, I answered “the Senate Watergate hearings”—I should not be surprised by bizarre, labyrinthine, paranoid or just plain loony efforts to rationalize it. I remember my mom hooting at Ron Ziegler’s comment, after Richard Nixon had made a statement that contradicted a statement he had made a week earlier, that the previous statement was “inoperative.” Years later, as a teenager, I remember the woman who Ronald Reagan had tapped to run one of Health & Human Service’s family planning divisions, the mission statement of which was “no premarital sex, ever!”, trying to explain why she was traveling on the government’s dime to watch her son play pro football, in the company of a man who was not her husband. (Yes, she had a husband, too.) I can’t remember what the actual explanation was, but whatever it was, the White House was not impressed and she resigned. And I was actually home from college on a break, visiting relatives in Philadelphia, when we watched a live press conference called by our recently-convicted-and-about-to-be-sentenced state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer. He read a long, paranoid, multi-paged statement before killing himself on live television.

I mention all of this to remind myself that there is no room for surprise or naivete in me anymore. It sounds terrible, the laziest form of cynicism, to say “nothing the bums do surprises me,” but I cannot lie. Nothing the bums do surprises me. Or didn’t, anyway. Then I read how the governor of Connecticut and his wife spent their day yesterday.

Those of you from Connecticut and surrounding states—you know who you are—please bear with me, because I know you already know all of this. For those who don’t, the governor of Connecticut, John G. Rowland, is in hot water lately. Having previously denied that he had accepted favors from state contractors and potential bidders on state business, last week he admitted that he accepted free work on his lakeside cottage, a hot tub and a heating system from businesses, aides and friends who are now at the center of a federal investigation into state contract awards. His friends are being subpoenaed. Congressmen (and fellow Republicans) Christopher Shays and Rob Simmons are urging him toward full disclosure. His constituents, in rising numbers, are finding him untrustworthy. A Quinnipiac College poll shows his approval rating at 30%.

It is under this unhappy cloud that Gov. Rowland gave a speech yesterday before the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. His friends and aides, including those being investigated by the feds, were in attendance. So was his wife, Patricia. So were several soldiers, recently returned from Iraq. So were members of the press, who were not allowed to ask questions of the governor.

I will not dwell on Governor Rowland’s repeated references to his own Christianity. I will mention only in passing his quoting of C.S. Lewis, pointedly identified by the governor as a Christian: “In our adversity, God shouts to us.” I will not begin to enumerate my feelings on his introduction of the newly-returned soldiers from Iraq, and his attempts to glom onto the capture of Saddam Hussein (”...it was the Fourth Infantry Division...but it could have been any one of our Connecticut servicemen or women."), as well as his attempt to downplay the relative importance of the federal investigation compared to events overseas. It would be easy to rant about any of these, but then we wouldn’t have room for Mrs. Rowland’s poem.

The short version is that Mrs. Rowland wrote a parody of Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” a/k/a “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” in which she lays the blame for the year’s tribulations at the feet of the Hartford Courant. About a third of the way into the poem, the crowd began to gasp, and she turned to her husband to see if he wanted her to continue. “Go for it, hon,” he said to her. “What can they do to us?” She replied, “They can’t make it worse,” which to me sounds like a double-dog-dare challenge to the Fates to cook up something really good for the Rowlands.

Oh, hell, why rant about it anymore? Why not read the poem for yourself (which I got from the good folks at Newsday)?

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except me the first spouse.
I was waiting for Santa, that jolly old elf, to give him the list I had drawn up myself.
For I had hung all the garland and tinseled the trees and festooned the house for the public to see.
I’d sent all the cards to our friends far and near, and thanked all our staff for their hard work this year.
I’d shopped and I wrapped all my gifts full of love for our five picky teens, the black Lab and the guv.
I kept quiet and calm through December’s dark storm, protecting my family from those who wish harm.
So now it was my turn to get Santa’s ear, to tell him what I wanted for Christmas this year.
When out on my yard there arose such a hubbub, I thought maybe (Hartford Courant reporter) Jon Lender had jumped in the hot tub.
Now surely that man needs to go soak his head, but there on the lawn stood Santa instead.
“Come in, dear Santa, and rest for a while. I’ve got cookies and milk,” I said with a smile.
“I am late,” said Santa. “My last stop took hours, all that coal I delivered down The Courant’s tall towers.
“They used to be good girls and boys,” Santa said. “But the poison pen’s power has gone to their head.
“And I have the same problem at the media stations, they’ve just simply forgotten good human relations.
“Their thirst and hunger for the day’s biggest story has earned them black coal for their ill-gotten glory.”
“Oh Santa,” I said, “that is sad, I agree. They’ve acted like Grinches who have stolen our tree.
“They whipped themselves into a mad feeding frenzy. They’ve embarrassed our children and our Mama McKenzie.
“But this is the season of joy, peace and love, and forgiveness which comes from our Lord above.
“A time for compassion to give what we can, to lift up the spirits of our dear fellow man.”
“Ho, ho, ho,” went Santa. “I say that’s the gist. Now why don’t you tell me what is there on your list.”
“Dear Santa, this year bring warmth to those cold, and safety each day to the young and the old.
“Bring our soldiers home safely without any hitches, and give evildoers a kick in the britches.
“Help the lonely find love, and the lost find their faith, take the drugs off our streets so our children can play.
“Give our teenagers wisdom and courage and health. Show them family and friends are the best kind of wealth.
“And last, but not least, for the man next to me, a new year that is peaceful and refreshingly free of rumors and hearsay that do nothing but smother the positive works we should do for each other.
“This man who has given you many years of his life, who has stood tall and strong throughout good times and strife.
“He has championed our cities, our schools, and our arts. He’s made sure our children are ready and smart.
“He doesn’t get bullied by big union bosses who picket and whine and dwell on their losses.
“He’s the man with the plan for the good of our state and he won’t let the press twist and turn our state’s fate.
“So please, Mr. Santa, won’t you grant me this plea, and tackle this list that I have drawn up for me?”
Santa stood up and gave me his hand. “That’s quite a tall order, but I’ll do what I can. I’ll spread Christmas cheer to each city and town, to each man, woman and child, and I won’t let you down.”
He jumped in his sleigh, and then flew out of sight. He said, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

I know that this is supposed to be the season for peace and goodwill.  I know that I try to live by the Buddhist ideals of compassion and kindness, even though I am not a Buddhist.  I know that I have no quarter for pointing fingers at Connecticut’s dirty politics, considering that I have lived in New York and Philadelphia, no slouches themselves, government-venality-wise.  I know that there are bigger fish to fry in the world, and that children are starving in North Korea.  I am still pissed off by this, this whining, this craven invocation of God and country, this shitty, shitty poem.

Not that she has asked for my advice, but if she did, I’d give two pieces of advice to Mrs. Rowland. Piece the first is that you may want to be careful talking about the Courant‘s “ill-gotten glory” when your husband just admitted to getting a free hot tub. Piece the second is that you may want to be careful about getting cute in public. One of the other things I remember from my teenaged years is Imelda Marcos getting cute on camera, zinging her husband’s political opponents in song, and I remember how well that turned out for them.

Posted by Bakerina at 09:22 PM in anger is an energy • (1) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
December 17, 2003

Hello, good people.

Well, it was too good a streak to remain unbroken.  After 15 days of unbroken longwindedness (heh heh, you said broke wind, heh heh), I have been advised that I should not miss LutherCorp’s Christmas party tonight.  “But...but...what about Prepare to Meet Your Bakerina?” said I.  “How about if I start posting comments to Prepare to Meet Your Bakerina, so that people can reeeeeeeally get to know you?” said my office buddy who will probably be making her presence known here any day now.  Do not pay attention to a word she says, for it is her life’s mission to reduce me to blushiness.  It’s all lies, damnable lies.

So tonight I am indulging in the time-honored Pasting in of the Words of Others, hoping that this constitutes fair use and not an egregious violation of copyright.  Since I had so much fun writing last night’s valentine to hot cereal, here are two stories from one of the books I mentioned, Oats! A Book of Whimsy, by Shirley and Maria Streshinsky.  If you think that this is the last word on oatmeal from me, keep dreaming, pally.  In the meantime, I am off to engage in a little cheer with my fellow monkeys.  Pictures will be taken.  If any of them depict me as the pre-Raphaelite goddess of my hopes, rather than the gin-blossomed nightmare of my fears, then pictures may even be shared.

As a wee lad of eight, growing up in the small Irish town of Belleck, in the county Fermanagh, Ireland, I shared a fairly modest home with my family, including the aunt who raised me, a sister, a variety of dogs, a pony, and a beloved donkey named Rufus.  I woke up one morning with a notion that I was not going to school that day and decided to convince my aunt that I was truly sick—not well enough for school, mind you, but not sick enough to see the local pharmacist (the closet doctor was in the next county).  Since my aunt was a firm believer that our daily oats (which I loved eating with Mother Kelly’s Double Cream when we could afford it) were a cure-all, she decided to stir up a batch in the great black kettle that hung over the peat fire.  She and I sat with our feet in front of the fireplace, warming our hands on the large steaming porcelain bowls of oatmeal.  But after a few bites, Auntie thought something was missing. She opened the pantry door, and from behind the lovely Bellock china she retrieved a bottle of her favorite Irish whiskey, pouring a dram on her oatmeal and, winking at me, a bit less in mine.  “Irish whiskey and oatmeal, that’s the stuff,” she proclaimed boldly as the aroma entered my nasal passages and I was filled with a warm glow.  Mixed with brown sugar, warmed heavy cream, and that Irish amber fluid, my oatmeal had never tasted so good, and now I knew why Auntie believed so strongly in the curative power of oats.

-- Seamus McManus is general manager of the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Honolulu

In August of 1947, I was at the Salt Lake City airport for an early morning flight.  I headed to the coffee shop for breakfast and slid onto a stool at the counter.  A couple of stools away, reading the menu slowly and carefully, was a young cowboy.  He said to the waitress:  “I’d like to get some oatmeal, Ma’am.”

The waitress said “sure,” wrote it down and started to walk away.

“Ma’am,” he called after her, “could I have that with brown sugar?”

“Sure,” she made another note and started for the kitchen.

“And ma’am, could you put some raisins in it? Like maybe a handful, and a little pat of butter, with a sprinkle of cinnamon over it?”

She turned back to him.  “And cream?”

He beamed.  “That’s right, but not that thin old Blue John milk, if you could get me a little pitcher full of real heavy cream I sure would appreciate it.”

She studied him carefully, paused a moment, then she said:  “You live with your mother, don’t you?”

His face lit up.  “How ‘ju know?”

-- Jon Brenneis is a photographer/raconteur.  On the Salt Lake City trip where he met the Oatmeal Cowboy he was on assignment for Life Magazine.  A few years later, finding himself in the early morning in yet another airport in another part of the country, he requested of the waitress:  “Oatmeal, please, with a few raisins mixed in and some brown sugar sprinkled on top, if you will...” To which the waitress responded:  “And I suppose you want a nickel in the bottom of the bowl?”

Posted by Bakerina at 06:04 PM in stuff and nonsense • (2) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
December 16, 2003

Although it doesn’t happen much anymore, one of the most frequent topics of “you know what you should do?” conversation was the one on which I solicited the least advice: dieting. I never knew whether it was because I was, once upon a time, an easy and obvious candidate for weight loss, being much more of a muchacha than I am now, or whether diet regimes are so embedded in the landscape that it has become expected of all of us. I will never forget the look on Lloyd’s face when I told him that a friend and co-worker, a stunning 23-year-old Taiwanese woman, already a hardcore gym rat, decided to go on Atkins. At least in New York, or at least in the circles in which I work, there is an idea that it is somewhat immoral not to be on something. If you are not in need of dimunition, then maybe you need to do something about your triglycerides, or your HDL/LDL ratios, or your insulin resistance, or maybe all of these are fine but you want to know how to make them better.

In my case, though, no one would have looked twice at me if I announced that I was going on Atkins, because once upon a time there was much more to this bakerina than meets the eye. (There also used to be less than meets the eye, but that is for once and future times.) What garnered looks was my polite thanks for the advice, but no thanks, I’ll figure it out for myself. I could see the unspoken assumption in their eyes: but wasn’t it figuring it out for yourself that got you fat in the first place, dear? Depending on the receptiveness of the friend in question, I would explain that I had spent years taking similar advice from people who knew the trick, who had the key, and all I needed to do was follow their path. I spent years on Pritikin and Atkins and Stillman and a particularly wiggy diet by a particularly wiggy female bariatrician who was famous in the late 70’s/early 80’s, a woman who regularly wrote diets for Teen magazine and counseled us that there was no reason for a fat teenager to eat more than 850 calories a day. I tried Weight Watchers, safest of the bunch, which gave me an excuse to obsess over every blessed thing that went into my mouth. I even tried a regime of, shall we say, disordered eating, the kind favored by ancient sybarites and frightened college girls. I was rewarded for my efforts by losing 5 pounds, then gaining a minimum of 10, yearly, for 10 years. You can do the math.

In the end I decided that I couldn’t do any worse for myself than I had allowed the experts to do for me, so I started making sneaky little changes, the kind where every time you find yourself with a craving for stale candy from a vending machine, you force yourself to have a cup of tea instead. (The stale candy habit is gone, but now I have a wicked tea habit.) Last February, when I suspected that I was pregnant, I started eating a lot of broccoli and craving foods with a lot of sesame in them, like hummus and halvah. The pregnancy turned out to be a false alarm, but the broc habit stayed, and I remain staggered by how much halvah I can put away. Most importantly, though, I decided that I was not going to cut anything out. More vegetables? Why, yes, thank you. Lean meats? Mais oui, bien sur. But I am not going to panic if I go to Zarela for dinner and the gallon of mole sauce her chef made that afternoon contains a teaspoon of lard in it. I will give up the stale vending-machine chocolate, but if someone offers me a brown-butter-flavored ganache from La Maison du Chocolat, I am going to thank that person profusely, and possibly plant an open-mouth kiss on him/her. And I am not, not, not going to give up starches.

Yes, I know that you lost 50 pounds. I know that you have more energy. I know that our ancestors were hunter/gatherers, more suited to hunting mastodons than cultivating grain. I have heard it all, and I’m glad that it works for you, but if you tell me one more time that our wee baby little intestinal tracts were not designed to eat that big bad bowl of oatmeal, I am taking that oatmeal, and the little pitcher of heavy cream and the brown sugar and the wee dram of Macallan 18 that accompanies every proper bowl of oatmeal in my house, and I am going home. And before you make some well-meaning comment about how much faster I would get thinner if I just gave up all of that oatmeal and millet and amaranth and barley and polenta on which I warm up during the winter, let me remind you that there was 37 pounds more of me to tell this to when I did it your way. Pardon me while I add one more dram of Macallan 18 to my oatmeal.

If you are not a fan of oats but you still like the idea of a hot breakfast to power you through a cold morning, any good cookbook on grains can give you instructions on how to cook them and what to serve on/in/with them.  One of the best is Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe.  It is an all-purpose breakfast cookbook, filled with recipes for eggs and potatoes and breakfast puddings and pancakes and waffles and muffins, but for me the crowning glory is the comprehensive grains chapter, filled with clear, friendly instructions on how to cook and serve them.  One of my new breakfast staples is amaranth wafers, made by patting cooked amaranth into silver dollars and pan-frying them at a high temperature in high-oleic safflower oil.  Because the oil can be heated to high temperatures without smoking, the wafers stay crisp even at room temperature.  Lloyd likes his as a sweet, with maple syrup.  I prefer mine savory, with tiny dabs of sour cream and a little Maldon salt.  There are recipes for oatmeal cooked in sweetened milk with chai spices, couscous with dried fruit and yogurt, barley cooked in apple juice, and my very favorite, Orange-Pecan Skillet Millet, made by cooking millet risotto-style in vanilla-spiked orange juice.  I love it like mad, and Lloyd does too, even though every time I make it, he crows “who’s a pretty boy?” in a spookily-accurate parrot voice.

If you are a fan of oats, you may want to try to procure a copy of this.  It is out of print, but copies pop up here and there.  I got mine from my home away from home, Kitchen Arts & Letters (212-876-5550).  If you buy it, be prepared:  People will look at you oddly, wondering at you as you chuckle over this little book of whimsy.  Let them look.  You and I know good stuff when we see it.

Posted by Bakerina at 10:40 PM in valentines • (4) Comments
December 15, 2003

If you are thinking that tonight’s observations are a touch eccentric, you have Dream Company to thank for that.  Dream Company (not its real name) is based in Vermont, and this afternoon two people from the company interviewed me over the phone for a job.  Dream Company has a baking school, one that teaches both professional and avocational bakers, and they are looking for someone to teach some avocational classes, assist in the professional classes, write the curriculum for new classes and tweak the curriculum for the old ones.  There will also be some writing required, as well as regular meetings with Dream Company’s mail-order catalog staff, to determine which of the new products can be used successfully in class.  I am on a shortlist, hoping that my lack of provable foodwriting skills and teaching experience will be compensated by the fact that I have taken just about every professional class they offer, that I live on their message board (or at least I did before I started PTMYB), and that I have been buying their flour and baking equipment on a nearly bi-weekly basis for 10 years.

I am trying, really trying, to maintain an aura of Zenlike detachment over this adventure, trying not to remember how I fell in love with Vermont and New Hampshire from the moment I watched the sun rise from my hotel room last October, looking at how beautiful it was in the daylight.  I try not to think of the pleasure I took in finding a place to have a nice breakfast and a really damn fine cup of coffee, and in discovering the co-op supermarket next to my hotel, which rivals the best supermarket, the best health food store and the best gourmet market here in New York.  I don’t remind myself that liquor stores in New Hampshire are open on Sunday.  I try to find neither good nor bad in my quoting a salary two-thirds of my current one when they asked for a salary requirement, simply because I knew it was the only way to keep myself in the running.  Most of all, I try to not think of this as anything but an option, one of many before me, just an option like the Egg Board Fellowship in Arkansas that I now know is not mine to have, or like another job here in New York, another packaging desk monkey job, only with a better salary and bonus plan, for which I interviewed in September but which may not become available until January, if it becomes available at all.  These are options, not heartbreakers; no job, no fellowship, should be enough to break one’s heart, even though they may make that heart race like a hummingbird.  I will not think of what it would feel like to get up and teach people to bake all day long, and to write about it, lest that little star of hope get snatched away the second I reach for it, much as Mary Fisher’s was snatched away by Ruth Patchett in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.

I will have at least 2 1/2 weeks not to think of this, as I have been told that the shortlist won’t even be whittled down until after the Christmas holidays.  On the phone I said oh, that’s fine, I’ll be in Philadelphia over Christmas, so I can wait until after January 1, even though on the inside I was hollering are you kidding?  Don’t you know that I have all the patience of a toddler hopped up on high-fructose corn syrup?  You know that I won’t be able to close my eyes and relax for the next two weeks, right?  Right?  Right?  I mean, fine, I’ll talk to you sometime after Christmas.

After this conversation, which rendered me unfit for anything but staring into space for the last hour and 15 minutes of my day, there was nothing for me but to come home and bake off the test fruitcakes.  As cakes go, it is a labor-intensive one:  Measure the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, mace).  Grind cashews fine and add them to dry ingredients.  Chop some more cashews and pistachios.  Peel a fresh pear and add it to the dried fruit and bourbon, which smells so wonderful, like a birthday present.  Beat butter and sugar together, add eggs one at a time, add flour and nuts alternately with sour cream, add lemon juice and vanilla, fold in cashews and pistachios and fruit and mix it all together and pour it into loaf pans and stick them in a 300-degree oven for an hour and 45 minutes, until you have a pair of perfect, golden, beautiful fruitcakes and a bowl for licking.  Even though I felt worn out and broody when I got home, I worked happily on this cake, thinking that I could do this every night, following the rhythms I know so well, creaming butter and sugar, alternating dry and liquid, knowing that when I can smell the cake baking, it’s about 3/4 of the way done.

Dear friends, please disregard all of the above.  It’s a good thing these are test cakes, because when I went to the kitchen to turn the cakes out of the tins, what should I spy with my little eye but my chopped cashews and pistachios, which never made it into the cake.  They are still sitting in the Cuisinart.  When I realized this, I smacked my head on the fridge in frustration.  It was supposed to be a broad comic gesture, and it would have been if I had not caught my forehead on the corner of the fridge.  I look like Gorbachev now.  Thank you for not telling Dream Company.

Posted by Bakerina at 10:37 PM in stuff and nonsense • (1) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
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