Well I have to admit I was sort of thwarted here. After a spurt of planning (and posting) ahead, I just figured that I was going to cruise through, then realised that I didn’t really have anything for today ready. No problem, there were a few dribs and drabs what were supposed to come in the mail that were for review here.
Of course, God said “Ha!” and the one thing that did arrive arrived without the actual perfume- just a crushed box. Seller offers no returns and Amazon doesn’t cover it. (is it me or is it more Caveat Emptor on Amazon these days? You’d have a better time shopping in Santee Alley- you’ll be getting a fake but at least it will be something!)
So the other day Cinnamon talked bread. I love bread. I know eating carbs in Los Angeles is up there with jaywalking, keeping your natural hair color, or driving a Camaro without irony in the list of Things That Aren’t Done, but screw it. I like carbs. My idea of heaven in a piece of still-warm-from-the-oven bread with sweet butter and raspberry jam, and a strong coffee with real cream. Even though I will pay for it in the sugar and caffeine rush, and the other less attractive effects coffee has on me, which some people pay good money to effect through pills. Or hoses.
I have even heard of realtors who, when staging a difficult to sell house will toss a ready-to-bake loaf in the oven an hour before an open house to get that “warm, lived in” feeling.
But I don’t bake. Much.
I did for a long time cater with a friend who I have known for 40 years (how this is possible when we are both 29 is open to question- I blame time warps) before she moved back to NYC a few years ago. “Catering” I should call it since we jokingly called ourselves “Charity Caterers.” We would do it for friends and family, their theater openings and whatnot. My friend was the baker- in a way you have to have a scientist’s mind for baking. There are rules there and little leeway- sometimes a gram too much flower or the egg whites at the wrong temp or Mercury in Retrograde could send your souffle falling like a rock or make your bread gluey or your cookies crumble in the most appalling way. I try to be that person, but don’t always succeed.
We did have a lot of fun; cooking with a companionable companion is the best. Some of which were fraught, but ended up well. A few that spring to mind are:
Catering her husband’s Theater opening at the (now demolished) Tiffany Theater on Sunset. Attempting to finish off the devilishly complicated Martha Stewart appetizers in a weird little room under the show floor, with ceilings that pitched from 7′ to 4′ and one fluorescent fixture strobing to seizure-inducing blinks. Don’t ever do that. Love Martha but some of those recipes are only possible with a restaurant kitchen and a fleet of assistants. But it worked out and people ate.
Doing a backyard ‘do for friends of ours who are (literally) clowns and were looking for investors in their show. My friend baked up a storm of little delights and I made made-to-order mini quesadillas, with fresh tortillas cut to rounds, Mexican white cheese, fresh tomato salsa and guacamole. All of which was bought for practically nothing in downtown LA at Grand Central Market, and cooked on three $9 gas burners I bought in Little Tokyo and still have somewhere. I don’t know if they got investors, but they certainly got fed.
Or the funniest (and most fraught) one: my friend as her wedding gift to a friend of hers was going to make the wedding cake. In NYC. I was going back east to visit so of course was going to be in on this. I was staying with a friend in the Village; I think she was staying at another friends on the Upper East side and she had rented from and-yet a different friend a kitchen in Brooklyn. The idea was that we would bake the cake in Manhattan, her Husband and child would arrive and we would pick them up (with cake) in the car we were going to rent and then take cake and caboodle to the wedding venue in the Catskills. We were very lucky that Enterprise Mid-Town had run out of anything with four wheels except the Champagne colored Cadillac deVille we were given with no good grace. The idea (also I believe from Martha Stewart) was to decorate the frosted and fondant covered cake with gum-paste flowers that we would create and apply at the hotel before transporting and final assembly of the tiers at the venue.
If your friendship can survive attempting to cut gum paste into flowers for a wedding cake using kitchen utensils, credit cards and car keys, it can survive the Zombie Holocaust.
What I learned? Enjoy your time in the kitchen. It’s fun to cook with friends. Even if you screw it up, take it from Julia Child: you can make it into something else. Who’s to know? You can even just feed it to the dog. Or the husband. Don’t be afraid of what my other friend called “the room with the big hot thing”, just don’t pay attention to Martha Stewart when she writes that wrapping anything in thinly sliced cucumber or cutting out gum paste ornaments is easy and fun. That’s a world of hurt..
Do you have any cooking stories to share? Triumphs or tragedies? We would love to read them in the comments..
Images: Pexels, Wikimedia Commons (edit- I did have images but for some reason WordPress won’t let me. If I can I will upload later.) UPDATE: Photo issue fixed, OBVS