The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just Call Me Julia Child...

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” -Julia Child

As most of you know, I am not--how shall I put this--domestically inclined.

A sandwich for lunch every day is about the extent of my culinary abilities. When I'm feeling really wild, I might add bacon and make it a club sandwich.

I feel like one of the keys to thoughtfulness is branching out of your comfort zone and attempting to try something new to show someone you care. That being said, I decided to make a three-layer, frosted German chocolate cake for my Valentine (see the post about Sir Lancelot for more information).

Because of work and other activities, I didn't get to start my quest until midnight. I guess I somehow assumed this wouldn't be a far cry from Betty Crocker and a box of cake mix. Add an explosion of flour and a gooey mess from separating egg yolks from egg whites, and you have my sudden realization that this was indeed a whole different ballgame. Had my mother not been there to stop me from routinely cracking the egg and putting the whole thing in the bowl, a very interesting result could have come about.

I have never made anything that had that many ingredients; even the frosting itself was something to be mastered.

"Whisk egg whites until they reach a stiff peak," I read.

"Mo-om," I call, "What in the world is a stiff peak?"

She laughed as I sleepily whisked the egg whites; getting fatigued, I kept saying, "Look at that peak. It looks stiff."

She would just shake her head; my cue to keep going.

Cooking is all in the details, and I feel like that is why it is just not my thing. I am perfectly happy to get close enough, but real cooks know that a tad too much of one thing can ruin a recipe and not enough of something can have destructive consequences. My mom's mantra of "Is that really a whole cup?" played in my head constantly. I would hang my head like a defeated athlete and start the scoop again.

Fast forward to 2:30 a.m. and the cake is finally complete. The three layers have all cooled and it's stacking time. In a daze, I attempt to lift one on top of the other. My grip not being what it should be on the second one almost causes a split down the middle, but I luckily regain my composure and save its life; if not, this cake would have quickly downgraded to a two-layer. I iced it up with delicious frosting and it was complete.

I felt like a mother looking down at her child. Even in my state of deliriousness, I felt this sense of pride and accomplishment. The kitchen definitely signaled the storm and stress of the evening, and I looked like I had been in a paintball gun fight with the ingredients as the ammunition.

I had been to battle, and I had won.

I know that, following this blog, I will probably start getting lists of cake orders like crazy. Though I would be much obliged, may I kindly refer you to your local neighborhood bakery or the bakery section at Wal-Mart.

Pictures of my creation will hopefully be up soon for your viewing pleasure; or actual proof, whichever purpose fits your fancy.


Blogger HannahKey said...

A single tear rolling from my eye. I am so proud of you! Yes, pictures soon, please. BTW, was he super impressed???! I am sure that he knows you are not that into cooking and a German Chocolate Cake is QUITE the endeavor! Congratulations!

Love you, cuz.

February 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Ronda said...

Witnessing this event first hand was even more amazing! You did a great job...I can't wait until my Birthday now. I am ordering a 3 layer Italian Cream Cake...yummmy.

February 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Princess said...

i'm drooling just looking at those pics! if he didn't appreciate it... i will! lol

February 17, 2010 at 7:52 PM  

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