Cake Racism

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Whew!  It’s been a while!  I’ve been very stressed, sick, and overworked, but no one likes to hear that.

Too bad.  You’re not paying me.

Anyways!  I just had the most ridiculous thing in my head, so thought I’d share.  Tonight I made cake.  Coconut cake with coconut icing and coconut flakes on top.  I thought of sending the photo to a friend, and then realized they would see…nothing.  It is, I realized, the whitest cake on the planet.  Every ingredient was white–it didn’t even use egg yolks.  I wonder…does that make me cake racist?  I’m not a people racist.  I love all peoples.  But were my baked goods as color blind?

coconutcake1

I always use chocolate, but shouldn’t pale coconut milk, coconut shreds, cake flour and white sugar their moment to shine, too?  Or did I make the equivalent of a kkk cake?

And immediately, this voice popped into my head.

coconutcake2

When you begin hysterically giggling by yourself late at night in the kitchen while you point at a cake, you really really need a vacation.

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I Am Expecting the Nobel Peace Prize

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My husband was super sweet and made lasagna tonight.  I noticed the same problem I always have, and wondered if the Romans made lasagna.  If they did, I know why the empire really fell.  Lasagna is stupid because of the cheese layer on top.

lasagna

I complained about it to my husband and he took personal offense, assuming that I was criticizing his lasagna.  But I was criticizing ALL lasagna.  See, the cheese on top is baked and gets to be a layer of cheese, a little crispy and baked and that’s the problem!  You try to cut into it and you rip off the whole layer.  There is no bite-o-cheese with your other layers.  This causes crankiness.  The cheesy promise has been broken.  Fights ensue.  Marriages are broken.  Nations are torn.

lasagna2Of course, I found a solution.  I even showed my husband with my second piece.  (it was good lasagna.)  Flip the lasagna upside down on your plate.  That way you don’t smoosh your lasagna as you try to cut the cheese, and since it’s on the bottom it softens a little, and can be more easily cut right next to the plate surface. Thus, cheese with every bite.  It was brilliant!  He didn’t mimic my genius with his 2nd slice. He is skeptical. I told him just to wait.  As soon as I let the world know, he could expect the Nobel board to be knocking on my door.

lasagna3

Diet Time

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I’ve lost a lot of weight the last month, just from general stress and depression.  Unlike most people, I don’t eat much when I’m sad.  I tend to feed my face when I’m happy.  All I need is a family tragedy every few months to stay at my goal weight.  But that seems a tad steep price to pay, eh?  Well, since I am down about 20 pounds, I decided I should keep it up by being healthier.  I need more veggies in my diet anyways, and less donuts.  Actually, I haven’t had a donut in months.  But I can’t say the same for m&ms…so a new rule is in order: one meal packed with veg.  But maybe it needs some tweaking…

 

Manic Pie

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I stress bake.  I don’t even usually realize I’m stressed when I start, but by the time I’ve spent hours researching the perfect recipe, the thought does dawn on me.  At first I thought I was just mourning my lack of midwestern pie.  Living here, people don’t vary their pie.  I don’t understand.  They are missing the goodness of pie.  When I was a kid we’d go to Tippins, which had about 75 different pies.  It was pie heaven.

I decided I should make something that I love, but never find fresh in a store.  And also something I would never have time to make during the school year.  Coconut custard with meringue it was.  I hunted down the closest recipe that covers what I loved and grew up with–not chewy, not eggy, but creamy custard with chewy coconut flakes.  And a meringue.  It had to have a meringue, not some whipped cream la dee da.

At this point I realize I have some deep psychological issue I need to come to terms with.  (You don’t want to know how bad it was the time I made honey caramels infused with espresso and topped with sea salt).  I realized I was upset about summer ending and going back to school.  I have a month of summer left, but that first month went by in such a rush of house cleaning, bill sorting and general crap that I feel like I’ve missed out.  I haven’t gone anywhere, either.  I have no money, my husband has no time off, and I feel like a big loser because I can’t even take a roadtrip.  If people ask what my summer highlight has been, my answer will be “painting the fireplace.”  Ugh.

I don’t know what to do with my general dissatisfaction.  So I measure and bake.  It seems so simple, so lovely, so precise with directions that you never get in life.  It’s why I bake.  And I was so excited about my coconut pie.  But damned that meringue, that manic inducing meringue, that teasing sugar slut meringue.  Lemme sum up.

1. I whisk and cook the custard, let it cool.
2. I make a brilliant crust that doesn’t slide down the pan for a change.  Huzzah.
3. I separate my eggs expertly.  I am please.
4. I whisk away and make nice stiff peaks.  I am thrilled.  So thrilled I let puppy lick the spoon instead of just washing it. (I don’t reuse the licked spoon, folks.  That’d be nasty.)

5. I place the meringue edge to edge like I’m supposed to.  It’s so pretty I take a picture.  I am excited.  I feel like a grown up baking grown up food.  My grandma would be proud.
6. I bake the meringue until golden like I’m supposed to.  I take it out of the oven, and it begins to drip.  My excitement sours.  My grandma in heaven is disappointed in me.
7. It continues to drip.  Sugar water is making part of the crust soggy.  I tip it on the side and more pours out.  I am a failure.  I am NOT a grown up.  My screw-up is so monumental that my grandma is kicked out of heaven and is writhing in the flames of hell.

So much for baking therapy.

For As Long as We Both Shall Live (eating without violence)

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Every weekend my husband and I go to a really kickass breakfast joint.  They know us on sight.  They know our order.  We each get our own meal, but we also split a stack of pancakes between us (because a single pancake is five bucks but a stack is 8, so its more cost effective, or so we tell ourselves.)  Each week we take turns ordering this extra plate, as to divvy up the role of piggie.  Now, you’d think if we clearly had such an overabundance of food, there would be plenty to go around, right?

Not this week. My husband, who swears he doesn’t like sweets and swears he doesn’t need that heavenly stack of pancakes every week wolfs half of them down before I unwrap my silverware.  Which would be fine, if he stayed within the boundaries of our unspoken agreement, but he didn’t. This agreement isn’t so much a written contract, but the system created after a decade of living together through a delicate balance of outrage, pathetic looks and outright thievery.  (We were both middle children, so we have the skills for “claiming” our food down to an artform.)

To disregard the unspoken agreement is dangerous.  Things could turn violent.  But I am a better person than that, so I just sulked and used it as a means of manipulation.  But not everyone can be counted on to take the high road like I did. So in order to help couples everywhere understand their roles in the ballet that is breakfast, I have made a guide for you here.

Amen.

OCD, Ordinary Cheese Dinner

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I am not OCD, I am awesomely tidy.  My students think I’m ocd because I use hand santizer at the beginning of every class and wipe down the keyboard at my lecture station…but that’s because a) its so freaking gross every time I use it that my wetwipe turns grey, b) the other professor in that lab has a kid who is constantly sick and c) when you handle a lot of lab equipment, you can pick up germs easily, and as I’m still sick 3 months later, I don’t need to chase more trouble.  It’s a routine of mine, but my students snicker and call my ocd.  But I know it’s not ocd because I don’t do it anywhere else…But…

This week I did a thousand loads of laundry.  I reorganized our new fridge.  I cleaned and reorganized our pantry.  I reorganized and filtered my itunes playlists.  So, in retrospect, I did way too much busy work during spring break.  Now, if I was really ocd then I would do this stuff every day–it would never NEED tidying up.  But I roll up my sleeves and do it.  You would think I love cleaning.  I don’t.  I loathe having to clean.

Tonight I made a simple dinner–a grilled cheese sandwich and mac n cheese.  (We were watching the History Channel for some unfathomable reason, aka my husband has the remote, and the show was on the history of cheese.  GOD, I need a life. But back to mac and cheese…)  Now, if my husband made it, he would have: a spatula for the sandwich, the pan for the sandwich, a pot to boil the kraft in, a strainer for the water, another bowl to mix the cheese and milk in with another spoon to mix it, plus a spoon rest for the spatulas, plates for the food, etc.  Here’s what I did:

Booya!  I reduce the dishes I need to wash in half.  THAT is how much I hate cleaning.