Our old friend and neighbor Rob was in town last week and, craving an Amateur Gourmet-cooked meal, swung on over with our friend Luke (am I allowed to say “our Oscar-winning friend” Luke?) on Sunday night. Like a good Italian grandmother, I had a pot simmering on the stove all afternoon and by the time everyone was assembled at the table, my plan to kill everyone with meat was in full effect.
[A note on the above photo: that was taken by my friend & neighbor Rob Meyer who came over for cake and let me tinker with his SLR because I’m thinking of getting one. Has the time come? What kind should I get?]
The idea of a snack cake really appeals to me because, for most of my childhood, I’d come home from school and snack on cake. Only the cakes I’d snack on were the kind of cakes you find at a rest stop on the highway: Yoo-Hoos, Twinkies, Ring-Dings (my brother’s favorite) and Entenmann’s lemon coconut cake. My mom always kept plenty of these snacky cakes on hand and to this day, when it’s four in the afternoon and I’m feeling a bit sluggish, my favorite pick-me-up is a berry scone from Birdbath Bakery or, even better, a slice of some kind of cake that I made myself. This post is about one such cake.
You may recall a post, back from September 15th, 2008 called “How To Cook For A Group.”
In that post, I whined about how I wasn’t good at cooking for a group: “The truth is that to impress a large group of people, you’ve got to cook large. Some folks are better at cooking large than others; I’ve come to discover that I am far superior at cooking small. I’d much prefer to cook for four than to cook for fourteen: I’d rather roast a chicken than a whole pig, I’d rather man a single skillet than a giant grill.”
Downstairs from our apartment, we have two friends who have their own apartments. These friends are Rob (who you’ve met before) and Ameer (who you’ve also met). Rob is a cardiologist, Ameer works in advertising. The two of them recently invited Craig and I and several other people to a Scotch tasting at Rob’s apartment because, well, they love Scotch.
There’s this SNL sketch that Craig and I find pretty funny. Actually, I’m not sure it’s even that funny; it’s more amusing than funny. Essentially, there’s this talk show host (played by Kenan Thompson) who hosts a show called “What Up With That?” and he sings a theme song (also called “What Up With That?”) and every time he starts to interview his guests, he starts the song again and nothing ever gets done and there’s a man in a red track suit dancing and sometimes a choir and weird cameos and confetti. Maybe you just need to see it, after the jump.
Recently, I had my friends Rob and Kath over for dinner. They live in our building and we were chatting about the neighborhood, our favorite places to eat and, inevitably, The New French came up. “You know it’s funny,” I said. “At first I didn’t love The New French, but recently I discovered their tuna sandwich and it’s seriously the best tuna sandwich of my life.”
“You didn’t just discover it,” said Rob.
“You blogged about it,” he insisted. “Last year.”
The Baking Bug isn’t a ladybug, it’s a wasp: once it stings you, you’ve been stung.
Such has been the case with my friend Josh Hume, director of my show on Food2 and a recent convert to the world of baking. He loves it. He calls himself Man Martha because of his love for Martha Stewart’s recipes and, most recently, he represented me at a Bon Appetit Magazine blogger bake-off. (Check out his bouche!) It’s no surprise, then, that Josh approached holiday baking this year with a fervor; not only did he bake cakes for several friends’ birthday parties (big, elaborate cakes) but he planned an enormous Christmas cookie exchange and assigned each person a different cookie to bring. My assignment? Pfeffernussen.
My friend Rob wrote me the following e-mail yesterday and because it’s such a good question, I thought I’d answer it right here on the blog.
Hey Adam, I was reading reviews of [Jonathan Safran] Foer’s new book “Eating Animals” on being a vegetarian and renewing my pledge to only eat “humane” meat — free range, cruelty free, local, organic, etc. But I cannot for the life of me figure out which places are “approved.” Is there any way to figure this out? Would this make for a good blog? It seems to be a topic a lot of people are talking about… – Rob