Tag Archives: baking

Ten Poems on Baking with the Cake Bible

Love Letters to Rose Levy Beranbaum

1:
No one understands me like you do.
Will I mix this with a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?
You’ve thought of that.
You’ve given me adjusted mixing times for that.
It’s because you love me.
You are the Richard Simmons of baking.
You anticipate when I will be tired, when I will skip a direction, or forget to do something,
And you gently tell me to just keep going, you can do it, look I gave you extra information for why you shouldn’t shortcut.

2:
Mix the sugar with the flour?
Not cream the butter and sugar together first?
I am not sure this will work.

But my cake turned out perfectly.
Forgive me for doubting you,
You knew all along,
Of course it would work.

3:
You give me ounces for measuring,
And cups for conversation.
Because you know somedays I will want to be precise and measure in the quickest way, the easiest way.
And sometimes I won’t trust myself to know how to measure a cup,
I want external proof I have enough flour.
And you provide both.
Just for me.
In that little table before the steps.

4:
But that sound so complicated and involved
My mother says,
I could never do all that work.
You don’t understand mom,
The recipes,
They are simple and straightforward.
She’s just thought of everything you might do in a poor kitchen at home by yourself with no one else around,
From substituting the table salt for kosher,
To microwaving the butter because it didn’t soften,
And she has contingency plans for it.
You can’t find your loaf pan because you’re roommate used it to make meatloaf and it’s been sitting on her refrigerator shelf since the dawn of creation?
She’s got you.
Use a springform instead. Here’s how you change the baking time.

5:
Only for you, Rose,
Would I grease my cake pan,
Then cut parchment paper out to fit,
Then grease that paper,
And flour that paper.
But you’ve never steered me wrong.
So here I am in my kitchen, listening to my jazz station,
With my boyfriend on the couch in the other room,
Cutting out pencil-traced parchment paper,
Because I trust you.

6:
I have a secret for you,
I can’t afford your book,
I got it from the library, but I had to give it back.
And now I use a pirated PDF copy I downloaded and ran through text-recognition
So I can ctrl + F for things I crave, like “white cake” “frosting” or “ganache”
But when I search my computer for other words, so often your book comes up,
And it’s a nice reminder, that I could give up school and become a house wife
And just bake all your lovely cakes.

7:
It’s too much power.
To know I could make something this good,
Anytime I wanted,
And could afford to buy the good butter at the store.
Why should I do anything else,
When I could just make happy cakes, and share happy cakes and eat happy cakes?

8:
My friend came this morning to pick up extra cake from my party yesterday.
I said to him,
Do not text me if you do not like the cake.
I know the cake is good.
If you do not like it, you are wrong.
Rose, you give me this confidence.

9:
I gave another friend cake in a Tupperware,
He said to me,
The person in my next meeting after yours had to watch me lick the frosting off the lid.
That’s how good it was.
These are my people.

10:
I don’t know how to say you’re name out loud.
I’ve never watched any of your videos.
I only know that your recipes are perfect.
And the batter tastes as good as the final product.
And I love you.

Poems from My Day (9-19-16)

i’m a mess

1:
I’m blasting un-autotuned T-Pain singing about booty and shawtys,
Through my borg-like twenty dollar tiny speaker,
While I’m drying dishes in my kitchen,
And the last of the summer sun is shining through my window.
I’ve got refrigerator rolls with another ten minutes in the oven,
To take to my yoga friend’s house, because she invited us for barbecue.
I am comfortable in my skin,
Braless, wearing Super Bowl XLIV “The Who” baseball long-sleeve shirt I wear to paint,
Sleeves I’ve rolled up so often the cuffs are loose fresh out of the dryer,
And my Levi’s boyfriend jeans with two patches on the inside-thigh seem,
Shabby clothes, bad dancing, for the me no one else will see.

2:
I’ve been imagining what I’d say when at her funeral,
If she kills herself like I think she will.
I’ll say she was my friend.
She pushed me,
When I was working in marketing,
She asked me what I was doing with my brain.
There’s not many people in your life who will understand you,
Or care about you enough to call you out,
Tell you you’re wrong.
She was stronger and smarter than me.
She left her home to be better, do better, learn more.
She was funny.
She would go with me on strange twisting battles of subjects
Ranging from why we should stop for traffic lights
To why no person can be really good.
She wouldn’t mock me, unless I deserved it.
She was wispy, and wiry, and full of energy.
The first person I ever met, unafraid to be herself.
I feel honored she might call me her friend.

3:
Be as smart as you like,
Back up your theories with page cited references,
Names I’ve never heard before.
But if you still can’t figure out how to be kind,
How to checkout at the store without doing it wrong,
What use are you?

4:
I’m new to this feeling,
Of knowing you’re being ridiculous,
Knowing your emotions are irrational, but
Having them anyway, and not being able to stop them.
It’s new to me,
I get the feeling,
I’ll get accustomed quickly.

5:
I was lying in bed watching some shitty movie on Netflix about love and quilts.
And I was feeling like a voice-over.
Thinking about telling my computer screen how much I miss the sound of bugs at night in summer.
How my skin feels after I’ve been sweating and then it cools down.
I miss porches painted white

6:
I’m trying so hard not to think about him.
Because I don’t like him,
But I want him to like me.
But I don’t want to care,
I think I’m lying to myself,
I just can’t figure out where.

7:
I made thin chocolate chip cookies
For the funeral this week.
I made a bundt cake for the one last week.
I don’t want to be here,
I don’t want to be here.

Poems from My Day (6-29)

when everything’s in order, it’s for sure i’m a mess

1:
Wow. His wife looks at lot like his mom.
Just younger, and a bit prettier.
I should stop noticing things like this.
On a list of things you can’t un-learn
The oedipal complex is has to be near the top.

2:
When I still believed in heaven,
I worried I would become bored after a while.
A physics teacher at my school gave a morning assembly about how if God could create things you can’t imagine, you’d never tire of thoughts.
That was nice, calming, wholesome.
It made me think of what God would have up there that would be interesting.
I always hoped it was a big list of statistics about you.
This is how many total hours you spent brushing your teeth,
Or
This is how many total lemons you’ve seen in your lifetime.
Or
This is how many close scrapes to death you had but didn’t realize.
I’d enjoy reading that.

3:
She would bake scones if she had the time.
I guess I do have a lot of time,
But I think, it’s one of those things, that if you’re busy, you get more done.
I sit and stew,
Sitting next to carrots doesn’t help me avoid my doubts.
I wish I was worse at baking so I wasn’t so fat.

4:
God everywhere here is pretty.
The town dump is pretty.
Even in the cloud overhangs in dull, steel gray.
I feel exotic.
But I have to be careful to remember that is this normal for a lot of people. I’m outside.

5:
Okay doctor. I know I’ve gained the weight back that you asked me to lose.
Three pounds a month. To be healthy, needed to go.
I know it. I’m sorry.
But I got my fifteen minutes in today, and I’m hoping to go bike riding on a regular basis once I get a helmet and a hex wrench.
I’ll get it together.
I’m tired of my roommate using me as a comparison to make herself feel better.

6:
I’m screwing everything up, and
I don’t have the emotional energy to talk myself out of it right now.

7:
What am I going to do after this nice, by-pass year is over?
I’ll go back where I know the roads and bird calls.
No, I’ll go live with the best carpenter in the United States and learn how to use my hands.
Maybe I’ll take another marketing job and sell some more soul. Five cents a memory.
All over again, it’s my worst fear. Directionless and skill-less and dream-less.

8:
You’re a bully to push this on me, this summer brew in an orange label.
It hurts that I have to explain, that you can’t understand. Even if that’s not fair to you.
Let me drink half of my beer, so I don’t have to start going to AA, let me
Let myself leave half on the table. To prove to this body I don’t have a problem.