There are things in life I was better off not knowing. Like the amount of butter that goes into a pound cake, for example.
In an effort to fulfill my goal of baking All The Food, I decided to make a lemon pound cake. Of course, I brought out my new best friend, Baking by James Peterson*. I got Baking from the library but now have it at the top of my wishlist. Each section (cakes, pies, cookies, breads, and custards) starts with the basics, then goes on to things I can only dream of one day being able to create, like cream puff pastry swans. Look and be amazed.
What I really like about Baking is the combined simplicity and details in the recipes. Like, it tells you how long to stir the stuff. Honestly, I’ve never stirred anything for longer than two minutes in my life, except for trouble. The book does expect you to have tools, like a mixer, that I don’t have in my kitchen, but such things are easy to work around.
Baking always allows me to practice two of my weakest virtues: crisis management and patience. For the lemon pound cake, it went like this:
Crisis Management: The pound cake has risen to the point of slowly overflowing and dripping batter onto the bottom of the oven that is causing smoke to mildly billow all over the house? Never fear! Just scrape it out and keep going.
Patience: The recipe says the cake tastes best if you wait days to eat it? I might have nibbled just one bite, but I wrapped the rest up and waited ’til the morning to make a lemon glaze. I was somewhat astonished by my self control.
Despite the minor debacles, the cake turned out really good. I don’t know if I’ll be making a lot of pound cakes in the future (2 1/2 sticks of butter! madness!), but I’m glad to have made it once.
Realizing that eating the entire pound cake by myself might be in conflict with other of my new year goals, I invited friends to eat it over breakfast with tea.
Good food and friends? Nothing’s better.
Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
*Baking‘s recipe for pound cakes didn’t call for any lemon, only zest, so I also pulled up a recipe from Epicurious for extra help.
I am a fan of Fangirl, no doubt. Rainbow Rowell’s novel is fun and frothy, then smacks you upside the head with emotions. Here are my top three reasons for loving the novel, with quotes to back it up.
1. The dialogue is the smart, snappy stuff of dreams.
2. The humor is the cover-your-mouth-to-hide-your-smirk kind.
3. Cath is a freakin’ endearing romantic.
Bonus: Have you seen the book trailer?
I’m glad I gave into the hype and read the adorable Fangirl. I went on to read Eleanor & Park, Rowell’s previous YA novel with a main character and setting less relatable than Cath and college, but even more distinct. I’m not entirely certain which I like better, and that’s a wonderful dilemma to have.
2016 looks like it’s shaping up to be a fantastic/frightening/growing year. I can’t forecast or completely control everything, but I do have 100% say over what, how, and where I read. Here’s what I want to do:
1. Doodle in a book. Remember how I’ve fallen in love with poetry? Most collections feature one poem per page, leaving eons of blank emptiness. It is tempting, and I will fully indulge.
2. Read a graphic novel. I’ve had many friends suggest V for Vendetta, but I’m thinking some familiarity might do me good for my first foray. Pride and Prejudice, anyone?
3. Finish all the series. Maria V. Snyder. JRR Tolkien. Megan Shepherd. Great authors with books I adore. Why did I pause smack dab in the middle? It’s madness!
4. Bake all the food. I mean, this is just a general life goal, but I’m particularly interested in baking book-related goods. The Scorpio Race‘s November Cakes is first up.
5. Read at a monument. One of my favorite things about living in the DC area (did I tell you I’ve moved?) is that people watching opportunities abound. When the weather warms up, I’ll be trekking down to a monument, reading, people watching, and eating a packed lunch. Pretty much all of my favorite things at once.
6. Listen to an audiobook while knitting. I’ve got this neverending baby blanket, and the end is finally in sight. I’m hoping to take advantage of that free trial Audible is always raging on about and finish it off.
Bonus: Be intentional about what I read online. I’ve been noticing that 5 minutes after logging on to social media, I’m knee deep into 5 different Buzzfeed articles or something about a scientific “discovery” I had never heard of before clickbait. While it’s fun for a few minutes, it leaves less time for me to read up on what I’m specifically interested in, like books and travel. Back to the basics.