Monday, August 1, 2011

All of me. Why not take all of me?

Can't you see? I'm no good without you... Billy really did say it best - she totally got it.

I had no oven for an entire month. (Pause to appreciate the gravity of this situation) No. I'm not kidding you. And seeing as how I don't really know how to do much else in the kitchen aside from baking, I was lost. Last month I moved to a new apartment. It’s a very charming place, really, with loads of character and vintage details. At first, I was concerned that my half-sheets wouldn't fit in kitschy, made-for-TV oven. But they did. And even the overwhelming sunny-yellow 1950’s kitchen tile grew on me. So when just enough boxes were unpacked that I could get by (think toothbrush and clean underthings), I decided that the new Smitten recipe could wait no longer. I got to work with my dozen eggs and two pounds of sugar, buzzing with the excitement of turning out my first creation here. And of course, just before I poured the batter into the pan, I checked that the thermometer in the pre-heating oven read 350°F.

This would be the part of the movie where the music crescendos - right before the alien/evil-bad-guy/mutated-virus-infected zombie jumps out at you...


As in: No heat. As in: No fire – that thing whereby the ability of which to create it propelled Man into an era of progress and development. Wild-eyed and ear pressed against the oven to listen to the subtle changes of the gas flow, I  frantically cranked every knob, pushed every button and checked every pilot light.

Nothing. Nothing!

The next few hours were spent writhing on the kitchen floor - kicking, screaming and cursing the gods who laughed down on me, cruelly.

OK, not really. But I had to be somewhere and there was just no more time. No TIME, I say! I forced myself to shove the batter into the fridge – it was too painful to toss and too painful to look at. It would take three weeks for the repair guy to track down the antique spare parts needed to make my soul whole again. In that expanse of time, my stand mixer was left to sit quietly in the corner of my kitchen, watching me with sadness and resentment. A sign of onsetting psychosis, I'm sure.


Meanwhile, life went on. But everything I came across reminded me of the lost opportunities to bake. Like these gorgeous organic summer cherries that were on sale at Whole Foods.

And then these strawberries, that, as sweet and delicious as they were on their own, yearned for a coating of chocolate to make them all fussy and special.

The Dobos Torte was actually baked the next day after work. I had anxiously driven to my mom's with the batter cradled by ice packs in a cooler, white-knuckling the entire drive the way a mother might as she urgently and calmly drove a sick child to the doctor. The Torte was saved (and delicious) and my oven was eventually fixed. Good thing, because otherwise I might have gotten a bit overly dramatic. Maybe.


  1. Thanks Liz! It was yummy too - I guess it wasn't the end of the world after all.