Today is Alan and Kate’s birthday, and if birthdays aren’t a reason to get out your Fostoria square cake stand, I don’t know what is. Square cake stands require square cakes, however, and I didn’t have any square cake pans. We were at a mall on Saturday, so I stopped at Sur la Table.
There were millions of cake pans in all sizes. Every single one was flared at the top, just a little bit. For a layer cake, you need straight sides. I told the floor guy I needed straight-sided pans, and he ushered me into the “professional” area. The cost differential between an ever-so-slightly flared 8×8 amateur cake pan and a plumb-line straight professional pan? Two-point-six-to-one. Sometimes I hate cooking. The clerk suggested I make it in a 9-by-13 pan and cut it in half. This would yield two layers measuring 9-by-6.5 inches. This is not square. Sometimes I hate myself.
But the cake turned out OK:
That’s devil’s food with vanilla cream cheese frosting, by the way. I’m writing this before it’s cut, but I suspect it will be a little dry, based on its texture coming out of the pan. My cooking’s in a long slump these days; there are times when I just knock around the grocery store waiting for inspiration to strike, and it never does. The farmer’s markets are dwindling and I don’t have the effortless summer bounty, all of which tastes good with a little grilling, a little olive oil and a little salt. I cook for two people besides myself, one of whom doesn’t get home until 9:30 p.m. or later, the other essentially indifferent to everything that’s not an Oreo, pasta or bowl of cereal. I’m looking at another winter of soups, and I’m already dispirited.
(UPDATE: The cake was fine. As was dinner: Pork tenderloin with cranberry-rosemary sauce, au gratin potatoes and sauteed spinach with garlic. Perhaps my mojo is returning. And happy birthday to Mrs. Blonde Mannion, who also had pork tenderloin with cranberry-rosemary sauce for her birthday dinner.)
I guess we should run with the food theme, then. I ordered my Thanksgiving entree Saturday — a cruelty-free, pasture-raised, no-bad stuff, all good-stuff turkey from a CSA provider. They had pictures of the turkeys milling around their pasture pen. I expect I’ll be presented with the bird’s autobiography, attesting that its life was long and good out there in the pasture, and that it was ready to sacrifice its life for our harvest banquet. At these prices (don’t ask), it better. All I ask for is a little fat; the last chicken I bought from the “Amish” place at the market was so skinny it looked like it ran marathons.
I have my problems with the Amish, but the chicken place at the Eastern Market proudly advertises its Amish sourcing, so (shrug). I only object when I hear anyone claiming Amish poultry are somehow purer than that of your basic nightmare operation; my very own husband wrote about Amish chicken operations, and the only differences between them and Tyson’s are a) size; and b) the kid dumping the pharmaceuticals into the feed bin has a bowl haircut. If that makes you feel better, fine, but don’t delude yourself.
The rest of the menu is unplanned, but for the staples — potatoes, dressing, gallons of gravy. For four people I’m not going overboard, but hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Suggestions invited.
Bloggage: There’s no nerd like a typography nerd.
If you don’t like what they’re saying, just claim they’re lying. Repeat. Fact-checking the fact-checker of the fact-checker of “Going Rogue.”
In a positive sign that General Motors Co.’s restructuring is off to a good start, the company today said it would begin repaying U.S. government loans later this year, ahead of what is required, and that it lost $1.2 billion in the third quarter after emerging from bankruptcy.
No wonder this company got so screwed up.
Looks like Michigan is out of the race to house Gitmo detainees. Damn. One typical winter should have been enough to extract signed confessions from the lot of ’em.
Off to do what I do on Mondays. Whatever that is.