Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cake (and Boot [embedded])

The world outside has been reduced to dark and light -- snow and not-snow -- punctuated by the rare Seattlite who braves wearing anything other than a neutral color, mostly likely someone either pre-adolescent or post-menopausal. We are a neutral Gore-Tex culture.

I'm readying myself for the mile-trek to work in what has now become an ice-pelted landscape. Perilous footing ahead, and being so drizzle-centric here on this corner of the continental United States, in our very comfortable Temperate Rain Forest, we are never quite prepared for this maybe-once-a-winter Arctic deluge.

Late last night I took a tromp around the block, and an icy crust had formed on everything, which not so much sparkled in the streetlights but glowed in smooth swaths where the snow was untrammeled. Quite satisfying to step down onto that crunch into the five inches of pillowy snow beneath. What came to mind immediately was meringue -- an entire landscape of meringue and the earth one giant cake. A version of heaven for which I'd stay upright on the planet for as long as possible!

Extending this baker's metaphor, I recalled a birthday cake I'd made, at age 18, for two of my sisters whose BD's are on consecutive days in May. The cake recipe itself was from my mother's much-used 3-ring binder Betty Crocker: Black Midnight Cake. (The devil was in the food.) The icing was White Mountain (aka Seven Minute), and by some meteorological anomaly, some odd bit of moisture in the mid-spring air, formed a crisp crust atop the billows of sugar-whipped egg-whites. I have not, in the ensuing decades, been able to reproduce this same effect. Seven Minute Icing is one of my faves, and has turned-out recipe-perfect for 30+ years, but not once has that same delectable edge again made itself known.

But by god, I was walking through it last night in the frozen sugared landscape.

[When she easily picked the lock on a Sunday afternoon while he was out -- after his explanation of a lost key and his lie it doesn't matter there's nothing in it -- she discovered his stash of -- ]

I am in awe at the power of weather, how it not only physically alters our basic movements on the planet, but also in its power to affect a significant shift in the psyche. Where, two days ago I was enswamped in a winter mopiness, slug-footed and lacking inspiration, last night I walked out to a Black Midnight Cake universe, and White Mountain Icing in which to contentedly travel miles, if I so chose.


  1. What a great analogy!
    The weather can be such a huge influence on how our days go. It's amazing isn't it?

  2. Hash, porn, Betty Cocker recipes, crampons?