Once upon a time, probably in 2009 or something, I bought a box of pound cake mix. I probably had plans for it, an idea that slipped away and has long since been forgotten. It sat in the pantry in not one, but two kitchens, as different boxes and bottles of ingredients around it were routinely used, finished off and replaced. Last night, it was finally pulled off of its shelf.
In all honesty, it almost ended up in the garbage, because … guys, I’m a little embarrassed about this … its “best by” date was almost three years ago.
For someone whose life (work life, anyway) is dictated by meeting deadlines, you’d think I wouldn’t be such a procrastinator. My rationale is, I work better under pressure. If I know I have several weeks to get something done, I shrug it off and occupy myself with other things. It’s a terrible habit, but I always get my work done, my bills paid, et cetera.
On that note, my mother’s birthday was a little over two months ago. I made her a cake, and I am just telling you about this now.
It’s not that it wasn’t delicious (it was), or that I didn’t photograph it (I did), or that I wasn’t proud of it (I am). But there were other recipes in the queue. Freelance assignments to finish. New episodes of Arrested Development to watch. Dear Prudence columns to be read.
Excuses, am I right? But no matter! Be undaunted by cheesecake no longer, because if I can churn out a delectable, slightly lemony cheesecake, I’m sure you can, too.
Last month, my co-worker, Nan, celebrated a birthday. Because we’re a small, close-knit bunch, we generally celebrate our birthdays with baked goods, fruit, coffee and possibly a lunch out to one of the nearby burger (or Korean food) joints. But this year, I had a plan for Nan.
You see, Nan is obsessed with Peeps. You know, those horrendous, marshmallow-y, crunchy-sugar-crusted chicks that you can really only find during the Easter season? Yeah. She loves them. She might be the only person I know who loves them.
But shortly after her birthday last year, I happened upon this recipe while searching for good Thanksgiving/Christmas side dishes. I guess that’s what you get for searching for blanket “holiday” recipes. Anyhow, I immediately knew that I needed to make this peep cake for Nan’s next birthday. So the recipe sat in a draft email, along with approximately 42290322 billionty other recipes, waiting for October.
I’ve never been one of those people who “eats her feelings.” Which is surprising, considering my penchant for preparing and consuming lots of delicious (usually unhealthy) food. But whenever I’m truly distraught, I’m one of those “can’t-eat-can’t-sleep” types. However, it has been a particularly un-awesome week, with the icing on the cake (ironic foreshadowing!) happening this afternoon, and I find myself in the kitchen once again, measuring and dicing and mixing to take my mind off of things.
Some people do really admirable/powerful/kickass things to pull themselves out of a funk. Like running. Or kickboxing. Or writing a killer song or poem. I used to do some of those things…sort of. In high school, I used to write until my arms cramped up, which was cool in an angry, Sylvia Plath kind of way. Or beat the hell out of my drums, which was cool in an obvious kind of way. As I got older, I would take long walks or go to the gym to blow off steam — which was probably sensible, as an outlet for all that excessive adrenaline and what not. Plus, it was healthy.
But right now, I am pulling myself out of a funk in the lamest, unhealthiest, least badass of ways — by baking a cake.