Last week, my friend Debra threw a party and I baked this spelt-olive oil-rosemary cake from Good to the Grain for the occasion. Naturally, I worried about bringing a spelt-olive oil-rosemary cake to a party, but reports had been good and I trust Kim Boyce. Plus, this was a crowd -- kombucha-loving females of Marin County, California who met in a spin class -- that might actually embrace an alternative cake. Not that I would EVER stereotype.
The cake was easy to make because you don't have to deal with butter, i.e. no creaming or melting. Two bowls and into the oven it went in about 4 minutes. Cake was unfrosted and firm and traveled well. I brought some creme fraiche for garnish, though I now think whipped cream would have been better, or nothing. As you can see, the cake also contains dark chocolate chunks. I would have preferred it without, but am alone in this aversion.
Although no one at the party took seconds, everyone praised the cake -- which was exotic in flavor, moist, austere, not very sweet. Someone said, "You outdid yourself!" which made me glow. On the face of things, a hit. Certainly not a flop. But for me, at least, there was something quietly wrong.
When I got home I lay in bed and started analyzing what I didn't love about this elegant, arresting dessert. I realized I didn't like this cake as a person . I think I may have still been a little drunk. But it became clear to me, lying there in the dark, that I subconsciously assign genders and personalities to foods. All foods. Steak is an alpha male in his thirties, roast beef is an alpha male over fifty, and potatoes are their brutal, stupid henchmen. Roast pork loin is a pompous bald man, peas are eunuchs, bread is a monk, ice cream in a cone is a fun gay guy, but in a dish is a sensible middle aged woman. Pie is a grandmother, but the kind of grandmother who has too many grandchildren and can never pay specific attention to any one of them. Chocolate chip cookies are tomboys and ginger snaps are great aunts. Dark chocolate is Bea Arthur, milk chocolate is my mother, an uncooked hot dog is Ricky Gervais. Et cetera.
I'm telling you, it was weird! But I don't have to tell you. Here's my question: does everyone subconsciously do this? And if so, do your food personalities match mine at all?
Anyway, I hadn't met this spelt-olive oil-rosemary cake before nor anything like her, so it took me a while to figure her out. And the cake is a her, though that was somewhat unclear at first because she's handsome, angular, and wears drag. I'm fine with all that, but what I didn't like was her hauteur. When I tried to engage with her, she remained cool and contemptuous, perhaps enjoying my bourgeois confusion? I decided I don't want to have dinner with her again, but if you think you might, the recipe is here.