Childhood memories have a condensed milk sweetness to them. Mine do at least. Everything was fresher, brighter, more worth experiencing as a child. Adult memories have a tartness to them, the sweetness greatly mellowed (oh the empty sugar calories!!!). Perhaps they’re tart from knowing you can no longer come home from that park with the impossibly long swings, dust covered, wild haired, a little out of breath, to find that perfect combination of condensed milk, key limes, eggs, and Mom. I can’t eat a pie that sweet anymore. My teeth ache from it, and somehow it just isn’t as good as the one my mother made. Same recipe, different results. And the adult version, well, it is tart, with just a hint of sweetness.
The surface of a cake is a crater taste, love, sweetness unrelated to sugar alone. Cakes are not meant to be baked for oneself. Have you ever baked a cake just for yourself? My mom baked endless cakes for my sister and I. A Rainbow Bright cake, a cake with M&M flowers on it, a Care Bears cake I think? And throughout the years I learned this from my Mom: cakes are baked for others, not for oneself. And even at my age I do not eat birthday cake unless its made by my Mom. A four hour flight just for cake.
3 cups all purpose flour
2.5 cups grated carrots
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
1.5 cups vegetable oil
1 cup tequila soaked golden raisins (shot after straining optional)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
.5 teaspoon cinnamon
.25 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 cardamon pod fresh grated
Bake at 375F.
Mexican pastries require lard. And occasionally they require a hammer. How else does one break up those magical brown sugar cones known as piloncillo? Boiled down sugar cane syrup tasting of caramel, and a slight metallic tang, this is about as pure and natural as sugar gets. And lard? Well, I would rather have a pure snow white block of rendered pork fat in front of me than any hydrogenated vegetable oil or even expensive French butter. Combine flour, lard and piloncillo, make a tortilla sammich, bake. Coyotas, the taste of my childhood and not found outside of the state of Sonora. Why did it take me so long to make these?
Just in case it was starting to look like everything that comes out of my kitchen is a perfect result, every time, please let me correct that tought.
I could sat I get lucky, and get good results frequently without effort, but instead those good result are the byproduct of thinking on what I’m about to make for hours or days before I make it. Doing research and comparing recipes, tasting thr results of different methods in my head.
And then some days I get lazy and sloppy, and throw something together, getting a strawberry jam of passable taste, but runny texture. And that late night loaf of bread to go with the runny jam? Instead of the light, fluffy bread I was looking for, the unfamiliar recipe I made turned out a dry and crumbly bread, far more scone like than I was expecting.
Was everything tasty? Sure. But nothing like I was hoping for. I can’t bury my mistakes, like a doctor. I can’t grow vines over my mistakes, like an architect. But I can still eat them.