Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

2 for 1 Special: Retro Recipe Challenge & Boobie Bake-Off


Something old, Something pink

As always, I have the best of intentions. I hand-picked a couple of events I just had to join this month, but clearly did so while taking a leave of absence from my senses. October has proved to be insanely busy for me and my family, so naturally I messed things up a bit.

I had the date 'October 31' stuck in my head, and allowed myself to believe that was the day entries were due. For one, yes. The other? Not so much.

Which is how I found myself four days late for this month's Retro Recipe Challenge (an event I was born to join), hosted by Dolores.

It just happened to work out that Marye was hosting a Boobie Bake-Off, in support of breast cancer research, at the same time.

I started thinking this could be a good way to join both events; a shocking pink cake with equally disturbing pink frosting.

As there aren't that many pink foods found in nature, I knew that whatever I made would get it's rosy hue from additives; it didn't really matter what I made, so long as it was old and pink.

That's where my copy of Favorite Recipes from Irvington Kitchens, 1938, a collection of recipes compiled by the Irvington Union of (ladies) Clubs in Irvington, Indiana, came in.

It's a wonderful book I bought on eBay a couple of years ago, made even more so by the extra recipes from newspaper and magazine clippings, as well as hand-written cards from neighbors and friends found between random pages.

For my cake, I chose the Delicious White Cake, submitted by one Mrs. Julia Ehrgott, and the Butter Cream Icing, no name specified. Both easily manipulated to meet my needs, via pink icing paste.

As I was making the cake and frosting, I couldn't help but find parallels between the recipes and the reasons for baking them.

Both recipes were far from perfect...the cake needed additional milk to transform it from something resembling modeling clay to an at-least spreadable batter, and the frosting as well required more cream as well as butter to go from lightly buttered powdered sugar crumbs to fluffy frosting.

I know I'm very much a retro-gal, but I have the luxury of picking out the more pleasant aspects of thirties, forties and fifties life. I can 'oooh' over the clothes, dance my jiggly butt off to amazing music, and imagine how fun it would be to have dinner at a club while Artie Shaw played the night away and my oh-so handsome date, dressed in a tux naturally, spent the evening wooing me.

But let's be honest. I'd have to have come from money, which I don't, to have the kind of lifestyle depicted in my favorite black & white films.
More likely, I'd be working as a stenographer, or waitress, spending long hours in uncomfortable shoes. Or I'd be a housewife and mother, as I am now, but I'd spend my days hand-washing the dishes, ironing, cleaning, and cooking, without modern conveniences.

Sure, there's glamor to be found in nostalgia, but life back then was far from perfect.

And the cake...it didn't come out perfectly shaped, and the frosting didn't want to spread. Not perfect.

But then, neither are we. Our bodies...we all have flaws. Yes, all of us. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, too.

We have imperfections, we have hang-ups. We're not perfect. But the human body, with all it's oddities, is still a beautiful thing. A wonder. And as women, we need to remember to take care of that body; even notice how 'take care of me' never makes it to the top of our to-do list? And that list gets longer every day...

Everyone talks about Breast Cancer Awareness in October. You can't walk into a store without pink-overload. But darn it all, we need to make checking and protecting our bodies a priority, not just a once-a-year thing. Imperfections and all, we need to learn to love our bodies, to take care of them. For our friends, our families, and allowing ourselves to be selfish just this one time, for ourselves.

Our bodies may be old, pink, and imperfect. But ladies? They are gorgeous.

Here's one of the reasons I make sure I perform self-exams; I have to be around to watch the show that is Alex!

Tagged with: + + + + + + + +

18 Thoughts for food:

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Julie said...

Hooray for your multi-tasking! This cake looks great!

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Nabeela said...

I used to perform self exams until I actually found a tumor on my own!(a benign tumor..so no worry)...but I love the message you're sending about loving your body for what it is :)

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Julie!

If I didn't multi-task, I don't know how anything would get done around here!!

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Nabeela; I guess I had the idea on my brain after writing this post, because I had dream after dream where I had breast cancer.

So real, in fact, that when I woke up? I was convinced I did, in fact, have cancer!!

At 8:10 PM, Blogger Belinda said...

That cake looks SO good! Who on earth could resist a pretty pink confection like this?! Beautiful!

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

beautiful cake, it is perfectly pink.

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Belinda!

It's soooo pink. I mean, toxic pink. But yeah, it is pretty!

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks Courtney!

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Dolores said...

Thanks for including this is in RRC9... your thoughts send a powerful message that I know I often forget when I wax nostalgic over the way things "used to be".

At 2:12 AM, Blogger Brittany said...

Fabulous post Stephanie! Great idea killing two birds with one stone- and what a perfect entry for both!
My god woman! That is one pink cake! You should win the boobie contest for having the dessert with the truest pink color.
I love it : )

At 5:42 AM, Blogger Melynda Huskey said...

Not toxic pink--Schiaparelli pink! It's an edible fashion statement . . . and I love the message, too.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Laura Rebecca said...

I love it! Nice work!

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

No, thank you Dolores, for giving me a reason to say it!

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Brittany!

It is rather pink, isn't it? And I'm sooo not a pink-girl!

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Melynda, you can do my PR anytime!!

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Laura Rebecca!

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Jeanne said...

Man, that cake would surely register on a Geiger counter?! :o) And good point about nostalgia - I have a friend who thinks she would have liked to live in soe historical period, conveniently forgetting the absence of water-borne sewerage and antibiotics!!

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh, yes...it is about as PINK as anything can be!

I know; I love watching old movies, and seeing the clothes and the hair and cars...and then mentally fill in the gaps, like what those women do all day (either work hard, or sit around looking pretty or playing bridge while waiting for the 'man' to come home), and decide, again, that I'm happier living in This day and age.


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