Wrap it in cellophane . . .

It’s a song lyric. Is there a man out there who hears it the same way as do I? Sung by the same singer? If so, please contact me at MiracleCharlie@aol and let’s get married. (Well, I’m sure there are a few other details we’d have to work out and it would have to be in one of the states where men marrying men is legal – OH LOOK, I LIVE IN MARYLAND! THE FIRST STATE TO MAKE IT SO!)

The predicted icing came last night. Bonus; though it has flickered, the power has not gone out. Bonus, bonus; the world around here has stopped for the ice, so the whole clan is here, home with me today. Bonus, bonus, bonus; since the power has NOT gone out, I can spend MOST of the day down here in the bat-cave away from the whole clan (LOL – not one relative actually READS my blog, so it’s all good – and believe me, they don’t want to be around me all day either). And bonus, bonus, bonus, bonus; the layer of ice has wrapped the world outside my window into an arrangement of glittery, reflective, glorious beauty. Look.

Ice Feb 5-1 ice feb 5-2 Ice Feb 5-3 Ice Feb 5-4 Ice Feb 5-5 Ice Feb 5-6 Ice Feb 5-7 Ice Feb 5-8 Ice Feb 5-9

Speaking of icing; the butter is softening, the eggs are coming to room temperature, and later today I am going to make yet ANOTHER attempt at creating the perfect red velvet cake. Tomorrow is the birthday celebration for my K, and she requested red velvet. I have tried SO MANY recipes and NEVER had one turn out quite right. So, I have started developing my own versions. Here are the things I KNOW have to happen:

  • Butter – NOT oil or shortening – must be used and beaten with the sugar and the beating must go on for AT LEAST 10 minutes, 15 is better.
  • The cocoa must be UNPROCESSED and MIXED with the food coloring into a paste.
  • A combination of buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise must be used but in what proportion and at which fat content of each I have YET to perfect.
  • You MUST add coffee – and while I once thought espresso powder was going to do it – nope – here’s the secret to the coffee – you have to make the coffee AND THEN reduce it, like in the olden days, as in, sit it in a pan on a stove at very low heat for HOURS until it becomes sludgy.
  • The cake pans must be dusted with a combination of cake flour AND cocoa. TWICE. As in – butter (not spray, not shortening – NO SHORTENING MUST EVER GET ANYWHERE NEAR RED VELVET) the pan and powder – then put parchment – then butter and powder the parchment.
  • You must use CAKE FLOUR and you must SIFT IT TWICE.
  • Any recipe that does NOT tell you to mix the vinegar and baking soda together and IMMEDIATELY FOLD (not stir, not mix, FOLD) into batter in a HIGH-STAKES, HIGH-SPEED race for time – as in – fold in the vinegar/soda, batter into pans, pans in oven ALL WITHIN 90 seconds to 2 minutes – is NOT a real red velvet recipe –

AND STILL, after all of this, the damn thing will want to sink in the middle or not be light enough or not have that crusty edge around its top as it ought – DAMN AND CURSE YOU RED VELVET! I WILL TRIUMPH SOMEDAY!

Schaffert, Swan GondolaIn any event, I have to do it TODAY, because tomorrow, I have an entire menu to take care of – which I will be doing, lovingly and not at all begrudging the fact that I will have – at 11 a.m. as soon as my local bookstore, The Curious Iguana, opens – have been at its door to pick up my copy of Timothy Schaffert’s The Swan Gondola which they are SAVING for me! I will be DEVOURING this as I am cooking the dinner.

So, if this birthday dinner goes badly – Mr. Schaffert is to blame. Not like it’ll be the first time a good book and its author has been the ruination of my plans. I’ve cancelled plans, skipped work, missed deadlines, insulted and offended people many a time because I was raptly consorting and cavorting and canoodling  with a good book. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And below, the answer to today’s musical lyric question. And, I want you, while watching, to picture me, a ten year old boy in my room in front of the dresser mirror singing along with this song from Miss Streisand’s The Second Album. Is it any wonder I was such a POPULAR child? And, too, that my adult romantic life has been so RICH (in disastrous, demeaning, and delusional choices)?

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