Jan. 1st, 2017

fie I say.

Jan. 1st, 2017 04:29 pm
gfrancie: (sasek)
My birthday was yesterday.
It was another low-key affair -a continuing theme for the month of December. There were presents from the family, I left everyone to their own devices, and then I made a black forest cake. When I was a kid, my Grandma would often come over around my birthday, and she would bring an angel food cake. (which I loved a lot. She made great angel food cake. and if she didn't ice it, she would have whipped cream and strawberries for it.) But if she wasn't in town, my mom would get a black forest cake for me. I have always thought it was so elegant and decadent looking. It had all sorts of flavors and textures and of course whipped cream. (I have always been a sucker for whipped cream with cake.) It has been years and years since I have had one for my birthday. I think a couple of years ago I got a frozen one from the grocery store and it was tolerable. But not a really delicious cake. People ask me, "Why don't you get someone else to make it?" I veer between polite and vicious when answering this. I don't live near any bakeries that make something like this. (Rural Cornwall has many offerings but big fuck-off Germanic cakes? Not so much.) And then there is another hard cruel truth about British cake-baking -cakes here tend to be dry. (which is fine if that is the sort of thing you want, and British people tend to favor that sort of thing.) I didn't want a dry cake. This was a case of knowing exactly what I wanted and knowing I had to make it so I could have it. (much of my life in food and cooking has been about getting what I want.) I also like making cakes. I have made enough cakes in my life that it is a relaxing task. I can let go and lose myself for awhile when playing at kitchen chemistry. So I made that cake. I sliced the layers, filled it with whipped cream, and cherry compote. I covered it in more whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and then piped on more whipped cream, and placed cherries on top. I thought to myself, "Just what I wanted." I served it at tea. Mr. Jenner enjoyed his slice, the children were suspicious. But who cares. I was happy.
Then I tried out my new fondue pot that I got for Christmas, and we ate our weight in cheese sauce, bread, vegetables, and sausages. Damn fine way to do it.

I watched the Whit Stillman film, "Love & Friendship" which is an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Lady Susan". If you are familiar with his other work, it doesn't seem much of a stretch for him to do a period piece involving people talking a lot about manners, society, and behavior. Stillman really knows Kate Beckinsale's strengths as an actor. (they worked together in Last Days of Disco, and she was great as this passive-aggressive bitch.) I think Beckinsale is a comedian at heart and that is when she really shines. Her character is manipulative, clever, and Beckinsale's comedic timing was great. You know this character is kind of awful but you can't help but be amused by her. It isn't exactly an anti-hero character but the hard truth about how sometimes a woman has to work with the limitations of society and scheme for the sake of security and power. (I am always going to admire a woman who finds a way to hustle the patriarchy.)

It is an honor to make it around the sun again -as many don't get that. But I sneak around this new age with suspicion. I don't feel anywhere near it. I sort of want to throw a hissy fit, "NO NO NO... I am not ready to be that age. Give me another five or ten years and maybe I can approach it." But I have to tell myself to quit acting like a bitch baby and accept this gift with some grace. (I can't even ask for a gift receipt.)

So here we are. A new year, and a taste for beating some fascists.

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