Somehow I baked a cake in the past few days. Not just one, but two. I made a delicate crespella with nutella sauce. I had ice cream several times. I made a cake for my friends and a cake for my husband’s grandmother. She lost her husband last year.
Grandma Miller, I know her by no other name, loves my cakes. I have made her a pineapple upside down cake, and a chocolate cake. I made her an every day cake, with loads of nutmeg and buttercream frosting and strawberries on top.
Today, while I lay upon the couch, I had the novel idea of creating a recipe box for my nine year old son. One of his goals this year was to learn how to cook better, and to cook more. I figured that this was an area I could show him. I took a soft, green metal box I had found at a yard sale years and years ago that I thought I would use as a money box on tour. I was bold thinking he’d be into this idea, and i wrote his name and the word “Recipes” on it and told him that he could have a place in the kitchen with his box of recipes.
I believe that the kitchen is mine. In my mind, I own the kitchen. Things go where I want them to go. I can find them. Things are only where they shouldn’t be if someone else puts them away, even if that someone puts them in the right place.
My mind strolls around the idea of food throughout the day as a constant, and while I think largely about incredible vegetables, and ways to prepare things, and how I remember having something in a restaurant or at the Portland Co-ops (those sunrise vegan sandwiches for example…), I try to recreate the memories with food.
Cake. Where on earth does cake fall.
Grandma Miller loves cake. She gave me a bunch of things for our wedding (note, I say she gave them to me, because it is my kitchen) for baking. Some are those great pizza stones that absorb heat like nothing else. There is a stand up mixer, just like the kind I’ve always wanted, for which I use to make cupcakes.
Cupcakes are, in a way, a part of the memory. The first good cupcake I had was with two friends at Magnolia Bakery in New York City and there were lines out the door, and it reminded me of what childhood should have tasted like. And when my mother was in her car accident when I was in 4th grade there was a huge uproar about someone else’s mother making me cupcakes because my mother could not. There were major issues there.
15 years pass and I try the Magnolia cupcakes, and I am rejoined to eating cake, but then it will be a few more years before my husband’s Grandmother encourages me to continue baking.
Life is very short, it seems. Life on this earth is not worth the stress we give it. There is little reason to wait until you are 90 years old to have cake for dinner. You should have cake for dinner now. Anytime. It’s okay. You don’t even have to work out extra minutes or anything. I’m giving you permission. Go eat some freaking cake, please. Please please. And then take me with you.
And while you eat the cake, just enjoy it. Think about all the wonderful times you’ve had eating cake. There is always cake. There is so much cake in the United States that we take it for granted, so please go eat a good cake.
Here, let me make you one. Like the one I made for my friend and Grandma Miller. One will be chocolate with raspberry middle and buttercream topping with strawberries on top. The other will be plain and have buttercream and strawberries.
I’ll make you a crespella, too, they are easy, and my son can make one by himself. It’s a neat method. It involves 450 degree butter. It seems like it will be a pancake, but then it is a custard. It’s actually a breakfast, but the crespella is too good for breakfast. You’ll come over and we’ll pour nutella sauce on top and strawberries and you’ll die a little bit, but you’ll also feel good because you skipped dinner for the cake. The cake. It’s all about cake.