Love Letters to Rose Levy Beranbaum
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.
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.
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.
But that sound so complicated and involved
My mother says,
I could never do all that work.
You don’t understand mom,
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.