Sunday, December 21, 2008

I waited all last night for the predicted Big Wind
but it remained gentle and fairly calm outside. I laid in bed
with the shades open and watched snow swirl past the window,
carried aloft in the benevolent 20mph gale.
And this morning, booted and swaddled in Irish wool,
I trekked down the driveway to fetch the Sunday paper
and every step sounded with a crisp crack as the crust
which formed overnight on the snow's surface shattered.
When I was fifteen I made a chocolate cake from my mom's
three-ring-binder Betty Crocker cookbook called
Black Midnight Cake and frosted it with seven-minute
icing. And because of some particular humidity
in the air, some fluctuation in the dew point,
the outer edges of this thick white swirly confection
crystalized: you bit through a delicate crunch before
losing yourself in the pillowy white; the dense black
of the underlying, now nearly irrelevant cake almost
an afterthought.
I've not yet been able to duplicate that incredibly
sensual experience. It was a gift to the tongue
and one of those surprises that occurs when one dabbles
in the science -- the chemistry -- of baking.


  1. Hi T, Tell me about making taffy. Did you ever have a taffy pull when you were a girl? I tried yesterday with the help of my 3-ring BH and Gardens cookbook and had absolutely no luck. R

  2. Lovely post-- really like the mixing of senses: sight, sound, taste in a relatively short piece of writing. Reminds me of my Mom's 3-ring Betty Crocker cookbook, too....

    J Hayes

  3. John, thanks for the compliment1

    Robin, I don't know a thing about taffy, but this dry weather is surely just about perfect for it. I'm thinking about divinity.....

  4. Divinity would be divine. Tomorrow I try seafoam. Fondant. Lollipops. Opera fudge. I'll put my candy thermometer through it's softball, hard crack and thread stages. Wish me luck!