Tuesday, July 10, 2007

it wasn't what you wanted

I swear I am going to write about something other than baking soon, really. One of my cousins claims you can chart my descent into madness directly to how much baking I am doing (which means we must be at threat level firehouse nuclear-meltdown red right now). Of course, one of my cousins also kept telling me that my baking addiction reminds her of some character from Grey’s Anatomy. In fact, she kept telling me this with such enthusiastic cheer that I finally could hold it in no longer and burst out a confession about how every time she says that, the Baby Jesus cries I vomit in my mouth a little more.

In the comments today, Rahul (who really ought to start his own blog) asked me if I was from the Dirty South. Dude, for the record, let me just say that you don’t have to be from the Dirty Dirty to get down with it. Us Northeastern ruffians can be just as trashy as the next person. Plus, we blatantly steal from the Dirty South, which in some ways makes us even trashier.

This is heading somewhere, but before I get there, let me pause for a brief word about my crazy family. I didn’t really start baking until I was in my late 20s, just about the time I was drifting farther and farther from the clutches of EBF. But even as an adolescent, I dabbled in the occasional baking project. Calling them projects is rather generous though- they were mostly sponsored by the likes of Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker. However, no matter what all I have ever baked afterwards, no matter how much I work on my ability to make a cake from scratch, some of my cousins think I can never outdo a cake I made when I was 16.

Now, that cake was horrendous. It was the kind of cake that would make any self-respecting adult gag. If I recall correctly, it was yellow cake mix from a box, followed by chocolate frosting from a can. And then, and this is what put me in the Baker's Hall of Fame amongst my insane cousins, I basically purchased about ten different types of candy and affixed them to the cake. I mean, there was no real estate left on this cake, what with the Gummi Bears and the M&M’s and the Bottlecaps and every other imaginable instant cavity-generator. It was truly disgusting, but here’s the one thing that’s worth knowing- you have to cater to your crowd. And the crowd that day was a set of Twindians celebrating their fifth birthday, and holy sugar rush, did they go mad for this cake.

They still talk about it to this day, and I always find it a bit laughable. If they really remembered what that cake tasted like, I’m pretty sure they would puke. But what they remember is being five years old and getting exactly what you wanted. I think they remember the feeling of someone giving you just what you asked for, rather than the taste of what they got.

So when another cousin, a cousin who is not even a first cousin, but who somehow still respectfully calls me “didi” (it’s really hard not to laugh every time he says it though), gushed about a recipe he’d found for a Coca-Cola Cake, I turned soft as I rarely ever do. I did something I haven’t done in over ten years- I bought cake mix. I grossed myself out by adding a can of Coke to said cake mix. And this afternoon, I made a horrendous looking frosting that is supposed to be flavored with both chocolate and Coke. I have a feeling that my cousin is going to be disgusted by it too, as he is not five years old. But he did get exactly what he asked for (Update: the cousin in question agreed that these cupcakes were cloyingly sweet, but also told me I’d fulfilled a decade-long dream of obtaining these abominations, so I guess it’s a wash).

I got friends in low places

Tomorrow, I get a chance for redemption, as I’ve been invited over to an auntie’s house to make Apricot & White Chocolate Biscotti. Should be a good deal more satisfying, and will be entirely therapeutic after a morning spent coordinating moving companies (blech!).

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