The Man I Married and I met on a street corner in Waikiki 30 years ago and married 51 weeks later. Although I have another year of practice for our 30th wedding anniversary cake, this seemed a good opportunity for a trial run of my cake baking and decorating skills. Visions of sugar roses danced in my head.Read More »
Category: The Lousy Cook
The Lousy Cook Decorates a Cake–Redux!
Six months after my cake decorating fiasco and with cupcake-decorating and cookie-decorating classes under my belt, I was ready to try again: this time with adult supervision. I signed up for a two-part, six-hour cake decorating class. I’m not sure why I ever thought I could casually decorate a fabulous anniversary cake. Like brain surgeons who decide they’ll write a novel “when they retire,” my goal was a bit of an insult to pastry chefs.
There are only four great arts: music, painting, sculpture, and ornamental pastry. –Julia ChildRead More »
The Lousy Cook Makes Bread
Before there was cake, there was bread.
It all started with the potato bread. Seattle has amazing fresh bread choices, but the prices are as high as the quality. My son particularly likes the potato bread, a soft white bread with a caraway tang, but an active fourteen-year-old can put away a lot of bread, which quickly adds up to a lot of dough.Read More »
The Lousy Cook Makes a Fruitcake
The first time I used my new KitchenAid mixer(s), I might have gone overboard. I threw out my hip while making a fruitcake.
The day started out by finally making The Fruitcake. To be specific, this was a Caribbean Black Cake six months in the making. I’d read about it in Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking the previous summer, the same week I watched the Great British Baking Show and decided it wouldn’t be too difficult to make my own 30th anniversary cake. Colwin’s Caribbean Black Cake recipe stresses that the cake must be extravagantly decorated (“colored icing, flowers, swags, and garlands”), as it is typically for weddings. Also, the cake recipe includes two bottles of booze. Sounded like a good starter cake for me: a cake Colwin confessed that she herself had not attempted to make.Read More »
Santa Visits the Lousy Cook–Twice!
(A very late post! Pretend it’s still 2016: a nice thought in oh so many ways.)
(Note: I wasn’t paid for this post by the advertising department of a certain kitchen appliance, but I should be. I’m open to offers.)
I left my holiday cookie decorating class full of resolve to practice the decorating skills I had learned, instead of shoving everything into the fridge like after my cupcake decorating class two months ago, where it all still sits, untouched. But the day after the cookie class, I ran into trouble with Step One: making the actual cookies. My dough looked like wet sand. I posted to Facebook:
Sugar cookie dough is in crumbles. Mixed with my old hand mixer. Supposed to be in fridge for two hours but it’s literally a bunch of crumbles. Add more egg?Read More »
The Lousy Cook Takes a Cooking Class
Hot on the heels of acquiring my first new set of pots and pans since 1987, I signed up for a cooking class.
My 30-year-old pots were a gift from my parents, in hopes, I think, that I wouldn’t move back in with them. Again. Rather impressive that I’ve used the same cookware since the advent of Prozac and The Simpsons, though my set has dwindled to three pots and two lids (two pots have no lid; one lid doesn’t match any pot, but I hate to toss the lid, since it’s good for extinguishing fires). Especially impressive since it’s glass cookware for a klutz (the other day the Man I Married asked me if dropping things was a sign of MS, and I asked him if insensitivity was a sign of divorce).Read More »
The Lousy Cook Decorates a Cupcake
There’s something to be said for starting small, so a noncredit (shocking, I know) cupcake decorating class at the local college caught my eye. Scaling down expectation while learning a new craft might be a good idea. Surely I could take the skills learned on a cupcake and inflate them for use—like, the next day—on a multi-tiered wedding anniversary cake with a bottom layer as big as a garbage-can lid?Read More »
The Lousy Cook Decorates a Cake
I want a beautiful wedding cake. A gorgeous, opulent, over-the-top, Princess Diana wedding cake.
That I’ve been married for 28.25 years is beside the point.
We had a wedding cake in 1988, a small, heart-shaped carrot cake with real flowers: a lovely cake in keeping with a small budget and a small wedding on a small boat. If memory serves correctly, which it probably doesn’t, the cake was from Safeway. I no longer even recognize the groom I married in this picture, much less the cake.
It appears that the cake was really more of a cupcake on steroids. The Man I Married’s hand and the cake server are almost as large as the cake. Who cared? There was more than enough bubbly, courtesy of my parents, and that’s all that mattered. We had our priorities straight, as far as I’m concerned.
But, along with the size of my derriere, the wedding cake I desire has grown.Read More »
Store-bought versus Homemade
When the Little Man moved in with us at just barely six years old, he’d eaten only at Denny’s and McDonald’s for the previous month. I assumed Denny’s for breakfast and McDonald’s for dinner, but it turns out it was the other way around: orange juice and a large cookie at McD’s for breakfast, fries and a burger at Denny’s for dinner. He had full access to soda, candy, and cable TV throughout the night.
The month before he moved in, I ate my daily favorite: brown rice, cooked greens, and tofu.
Now that’s a recipe for disaster.Read More »
A Dressing for the Occasion
My good friend Corbin is assaulting her breast cancer with a kitchen sink. Those are the oncologist’s words. Corbin had asked me to accompany her to her first oncologist’s consultation, since she said she could count on me not to fall apart. I’m a good note taker and a clear thinker in times of crisis (having lots of experience, being married for a quarter-century to a chaos-maker who likes to set large objects on fire in a crowd of people during statewide burn bans). I wasn’t entirely sure what an oncologist was. I could make a pretty good guess, given the circumstances, but instead I asked the Man I Married, because he’s handier than locating the dictionary.
“Isn’t that a woman’s doctor?” he answered. Clearly, he was picturing stirrups.Read More »