This is Molly. She works at The Cheese Store of Silverlake, one of my favorite places to shop before a dinner party, and recently I decided to go in without an agenda. “Look Molly,” I said, “usually I come in here with a recipe and then just get the stuff I need, but this time I’m putting my fate in your hands!” She gave me a weird look. “What’s the best thing I could possibly make for dinner using the cheeses from your shop?” She thought for a moment and then said: “Ummm…what about spaghetti in a spicy tomato sauce with white anchovies and a raw pecorino?” Umm…what about YES!??!
Finding out someone’s favorite color doesn’t do much for me. “Oh teal? How interesting,” I say as I fall asleep standing up, collapsing into a heap and waiting for someone to kick me awake. But finding out someone’s favorite flavors is a different story. For my friend Michael’s birthday dinner, this past weekend, I texted his husband John to find out what kind of desserts he likes and John texted back: “He loves banana cream pie and pretty much anything peanut butter.” Banana and peanut butter: what a fascinating window into Michael’s soul! As I contemplated my own favorite dessert flavors (definitely anything almond; mostly because I grew up eating rainbow cookies which are made with almond paste), I started flipping through Karen DeMasco’s Craft of Baking–which was partially responsible for the crisp I just posted–and I stumbled upon the perfect Michael dessert recipe: Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream.
So remember that time that Jim Parsons and his partner Todd Spiewak made my rainbow cookie cake for Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his partner Justin Mikita? Well, since then, Jim and I have been e-mailing and trying to figure out a time for him and Todd to come over for dinner. We finally picked a date–Saturday, August 30th–and we each spent the time leading up to it in different ways: I went to the Pacific Northwest and ate Dungeness crab on a beach; Jim went to the Emmy Awards and picked up his fourth trophy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. At last, the dinner was upon us and it was time for me to cook.
A month or two ago, I noticed someone named @TheRealJimParsons following me on Instagram. Since the internet is a strange place, I figured, “that can’t really be the real Jim Parsons, three-time Emmy winner, it must be a fake Real Jim Parsons.” But then I noticed that all of the pictures @TheRealJimParsons posted were pictures of the real Jim Parsons in the morning holding a coffee mug; not the kind of thing you can really fake, even with Photoshop. So I left a comment to the effect of: “Are you really the real Jim Parsons? And are you really following me?” Sure enough, he wrote me back and said that yes he was the real Jim Parsons and he’s been reading my blog for years, ever since he did a search for roasted broccoli (on my grave it’s going to say “The Broccoli Guy.”) A few weeks later, I got an e-mail from him saying “Look What You’ve Done” and there was a picture of my Rainbow Cookie Cake in progress. That night, he posted the picture you see above: there’s Jim with the cake, his partner Todd, Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Modern Family (!!) and Jesse’s partner Justin Mikita. Turns out that the internet is, indeed, a strange place; but a pretty wonderful place too.