I feel like I spent half the weekend in the kitchen, but lately the weekend is when I get the chance to do it. There was a birthday party Sunday afternoon, and the host wondered if I’d bring something for dessert. (I’m getting a pie rep with this bunch.) The traditional birthday dessert is cake, however, so, the challenge: Make a birthday cake in high summer-fruit season. This is what I came up with. Behold, Suzanne’s Summer Birthday Cake:
Nothing special: White layers, whipped-cream frosting, fruit atop, fruit between. As I told Alan last week, you really don’t have to be much of a cook at this time of year. You just have to be a good shopper and assembler.
When I finished I boxed up the cake and arrived at the party an hour early. No one was there yet, including the host, although he had thoughtfully left a cooler of beer on ice in the back yard. So I opened one and got in the pool. Weekends are brief enough around here.
When I bought the whipping cream, the bagger at the grocery held up the carton and said, “Is this whipped cream?” I said, “Not yet. But when you pour it into a bowl and get your mixer involved, it will be.” He looked astounded. Poor kid; no doubt the product of a Cool-Whip household. I’m not one of those foodies who sneers at Cool-Whip. It has its place in many delicious things, including my Thanksgiving Waldorf salad. But I’ve had many such encounters in grocery lines, and I always feel sad for kids who can’t tell onions from garlic, let alone the tricky stuff like shallots or fennel. (I once wrote about this in my column, and got a hell-yeah phone call from a man who raved that he’d asked a grocery clerk for a No. 5 can of something, and the clerk didn’t know what he was talking about! Can you believe?! I confessed that actually, I didn’t know the can numbering system, either, and he hung up in disgust, his what-is-the-world-coming-to quota filled for the day. It’s always something, but nowadays we have Google, which explains all.)
It occurred to me on the way to the car — esprit d’escalier, grocery store-style — that I’d missed the opportunity to really blow the kid’s mind by telling him that if you left the mixer running for a while and skipped the sugar, you’d end up with butter. Oh, amazing heavy cream. A sauce base, a cake frosting, a corn-on-the-cob dressing, ass fat — is there anything you cannot be?
Since my weekend’s experiences amounted to so little, let’s skip right to the bloggage, eh?
Reason to be glad you’re not Muslim: Ramadan starts amid yet another week of brutal heat and humidity.
Speaking of which, Glenn Beck is now comparing the Obama administration with “Planet of the Apes.” How…innnnteresting.
And one bit of seriousness — how the recession is filtering down to the local-government level. We’ve been very lucky so far in Suburb-land, although I know the last few budget years have been hair-pullers for city managers and councils. At this point the discussions of consolidation of services among the Pointes is just getting started, baby stuff compared to the drastic measures in the article, about shut-off streetlights and shut-down budgets. Anything happening in your town?
As for me, I have 10 million things to do before 3 p.m. See ya.
* Another inside Columbus joke.