I ordered some things off the internet, as I do. This time it was a little pile of things from the King Arthur Flour catalog, to indulge the homemakerly baking impulses which naturally arise when it is cold and rainy for days and weeks on end.
I was especially looking forward to the arrival of a tiny bottle of Fiori di Sicilia extract, which was supposedly endowed with a highly intoxicating aroma. Another object of special anticipation was an enormous eight-cup measuring cup, allegedly handy for rising dough in, among other things. This excitement is how you know that I am an extremely fast-living, edgy person.
(In fact, I believe that it was on one of the many youthful occasions when my friend F. and I were very, very high that we had our seminal discussion on the topic of edge, and came to the firm conclusion that there was almost no way to be successfully edgy in real life. Stuffed to the gills with drugs? Not edgy, just high. Going on a sexy killing spree? Probably not actually sexy, in practice, for one thing. On the edge, maybe, but not edgy. Making weird cool experimental movies? Not edgy, due to requiring high degree of keeping-it-togetherness. Being Martin Sheen during the filming of Apocalypse Now? Looks edgy at a distance, but doubtless primarily boring up close. And so on.)
(Have I bleached the word "edgy" of all meaning for you yet? Spaghetti spaghetti spaghetti spaghetti spaghetti spaghetti spaghetti.)
Anyway, yesterday the box arrived and I made happy squeaking sounds. Presents!
The eight-cup measure is all that I hoped it would be, and I am sure that the extra-special baking powder and yeast will leaven future treats beyond the dreams of avarice. There is also a GIANT SPATULA suitable for moving whole cakes around, as well as rounds of pie crust or loads of rolled cookies.
I saved unwrapping the extract for last, so I could sniff at it with my fullest crazy-person attention. But just as I did, alas, it rolled out of its packing paper and onto the wood floor, where it immediately broke and spilled every drop of its contents into one intoxicatingly scented puddle. Tragedy! All my plans to spend the weekend making Sicilian Flower baked goods dashed, rather literally, before my very eyes. The dining room does smell gorgeous, though, I admit.
Fortunately we are wealthy and can afford to order another bottle. My mother tells a poignant story from before I was old enough to notice or remember anything, about one of the very few times she can remember ever seeing my father cry. She was working as a picture framer and he was cobbling together the income from being a low-ranking university secretary and playing odd weekend guitar gigs at a dubious local "bar and grille." They also had a small child, me, and money was not in copious supply. The budget allowed them each one small treat per week, and his was a jar of generic brand dry-roasted peanuts. (This was in the time when there was a generic aisle at the supermarket, and the food sold there really did look like something out of Repo Man.)
One day, a grocery bag broke as he was carrying it up the front steps. The jar shattered. The peanuts were hopelessly mixed up with tiny shards of glass, beyond recovery. There was no money to buy another jar. There was nothing to do but sit on the step and weep. Poor Daddy.
It's cold and rainy again today, and I can afford to go to the store and buy extra ingredients if I need them. What would you bake if you were me?