If you’ve ever seen “Fiddler On The Roof,” you probably know the term “yenta.” A yenta, in Yiddish, is a busybody, a meddler; in “Fiddler,” though, she’s a specific person, a matchmaker.
My whole life, I’ve always been something of a yenta. I love to get involved with people’s life decisions, telling people where to work, where to live, who to date. I’m kind of annoying that way. Which is why, over the years, I’ve pulled back a bit and let people lead the lives they want to lead, not getting too involved. And as far as matchmaking, occasionally I’ll set people up–I have some successes under my belt, some disasters too–though now I think I’m better off applying my skills to food: which is why I decided to pair pineapple upside-down cake with homemade toasted coconut ice cream.
Here’s how you know I’m the real deal: whereas most food publications will cram an upcoming holiday down your throat in hopes that you’ll link to their page as you plan your holiday meal, I’m not so clever or strategic. I wait until the holiday’s over, when the post will no longer be relevant, and then I blog about it. This means: (1) I’m not very smart; and (2) I’m pretty authentic. And so it is that I share with you now a cake that would’ve been very nice to bring to a St. Paddy’s Day Dinner this past weekend (as I did) but which you will probably not make anymore because the holiday’s over.
What’s a birthday dinner without birthday cake?
There has to be cake. And after polling Craig on his preferred dinner option (the aforementioned birthday lasagna), I queried him about cake. His response: “Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, please.” That’s when a hyperlink appeared in my brain sending me to this cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
Sometimes it’s nice to choose a theme for a dinner party. It makes it easier to pick an appetizer, a side dish, an entree and a dessert. At last week’s dinner party, the theme was The South (we had three Southerners in attendance) and I served up Rachel Wharton’s Pimento Cheese as an appetizer, the fried chicken from yesterday’s post, a homemade coleslaw on the side and then, for dessert, this here Hummingbird Cake.
Spelt is not a pretty word. There’s a reason that, when language was created, the word “love” became “love” and not “spelt.” You can’t imagine telling your life partner that you “spelt” him, can you? Let’s all thank the language gods for that.
Unfortunately, we’re left with the word “spelt” to describe a certain kind of flour that’s been around, according to Kim Boyce and her excellent book “Good To The Grain”, since “the Neolithic or Stone Age (circa 6000 B.C.E.), when wild or cultivated emmer mixed with indigenous wild grasses in the fertile area that is modern-day Iran.”
It was only after I’d started making this coffee cake, mixing the butter and sugar, that I realized this wasn’t a round 9-inch cake sort of deal; this was a 13 X 9-inch beast.
Yes, I know, you’re supposed to study a recipe carefully before proceeding; and yes, you’re supposed to butter the pan before you start (I tend to do it right before adding the batter). But the point is: I made a giant coffee cake. And the larger point is: it was so outrageously good, with a chocolate cinnamon swirl inside and pecans on top, that it was gone in a matter of days.
Most food blog posts are meant to inspire, but this one is meant to mock.
Yes I am mocking you! When sour cherry season rolled around last June, did I, like you, stuff myself silly, popping every last sour cherry into my mouth until I had none left? No, sir, I did not. Like a smart little squirrel, I pitted my sour cherries and then popped them on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Look, I even took a picture….
It’s pretty comical to come to Bellingham, Washington for Christmas. Comical because, for this Boca Ratonian Jew, it’s like stepping out of a noisy deli into a Christmas card. I’m writing this right now in a coffee shop with a Yule log burning on the fire and several people sitting around me who look like Santa Claus. Last night, when Craig and I stepped out of the car after driving up here from Seattle, a crowd of people stood around a bonfire singing Christmas carols. He’s not even dead but I’m pretty sure the rabbi who oversaw my Bar Mitzvah is rolling around in his grave.