Category Archives: random musings

Caramel Cake! The REAL DEAL

‘way back in June, I posted about birthday cakes. My all-time fave being the 3-layer caramel cake baked by the inimitable Hattie at the Woman’s Athletic Club in Chicago. The September 2010 issue of Food & Wine magazine includes THE recipe and it’s pasted in below.

Decades of futile searching have ended, thanks to chef Ann Cashion of Johnny’s Half Shell restaurant in Washington, DC. The September 2010 issue of Food & Wine magazine includes THE RECIPE and it’s pasted below for your delight.

This is IT, caramel cake lovers. Try it out. If you love it or not, let me know.

Revelatory Caramel Cake



Sneak preview: “If it looks like a duck…”

Last week, I went to a very fine restaurant and was served duck. It was essentially raw. Rubbery. Not easily cut with a meat knife. (it squished and stretched and responded to the knife like…well… a rubbery substance.)

It happened before, at the same restaurant. Details will be revealed in the next post.

The question to ponder: what is duck? I never thought about this before these two unappetizing (and maybe sick-making) incidents.

I like it. I order it, occasionally. I don’t think about it, ever.  That’s about to change.

Not my duck; someone actually cooked this one

Lumbering around BlogLand

My nearest and dearest have been nagging at me for the past few years to start a blog. I finally relented when I saw Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program course catalogue for this summer’s session. The perfect course appeared: English 167: Writing Online, An Introduction to Blogs and Blogging.I’m taking the course and it is way more fun than I imagined. And it’s way, way more challenging than I anticipated.  Not the writing… but figuring out the design and construction and management of my own little piece of real estate in Web 2.0.

Not so long ago, in simpler times, I had people who did these things for me.  When I had to create something techie, someone in my professional life took care of it for me. I thought that was a terrific arrangement. It was so easy and quick. Never had to chip a nail in the process. Now, I have to learn a lot to get through the course. There are words that I’ve never heard before. They stand for things that mean zilch to me. Worse yet, tools and commands and choices for building a blog do surprising things. I want to go one way; they take me somewhere unexpected and strange.  It’s a slow, frustrating process, but the challenge is perversely satisfying.

I feel like a dinosaur, a virtual Brontosaurus, lumbering around, crashing into things, stumbling awkwardly and heavily into unknown territory. I bump my too-small head into hard, inflexible things, and get stunned for a while.  When I get back on my feet, I lose track of where I want to go. Much of the time, I’m dragging myself along paths that lead nowhere. Then I’m forced to back up and start over. Not so fast! I can’t even find my way out of the swamp.

My eyes are fixed on the monitor. I forget to blink. I forget to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Talking to my husband is out of the question. Phone calls go to voice mail and I’ve silenced the arrival sound of texts. The glass of water next to the keyboard is looking funky.

On Wednesday evenings I go to class. Like I said, it’s great fun and my classmates are friendly, bright and engaging. They represent a surprising variety of careers and interests. Every Wednesday I ask the man seated next to me how long it took him to do the week’s assignment. He’s a nice guy, relaxed, smart, with kind eyes and a warm smile. He’s not me when he replies, “Oh, about an hour.” Some weeks, though, I am sure that his true elapsed-time to get the job done was actually measured in minutes, but my slack jaw and rolling eyeballs trigger his mercy-response. “Oh, about an hour,” he says politely.

Well, I’m currently slogging from the Jurassic to the Neolithic age. The tools are working. My actions are less random. Results are rewarding. Success is an addictive experience.

I am beginning to walk upright in BlogLand.

Time to Clear Out My Hard-Drive

My dear friend’s son recently got engaged. She was tasked with finding the right venue for  his wedding. One bright summer day a few weeks ago, we set out to visit the sites on her  list.

Cruising along on her maternal-happiness jetstream, I offered to connect her with the event planner at a local water-side lodge… a place where my name is somewhat recognized  because we frequent it for special events, stunning sun-downers, and not-far-from-home getaways.

I called to make an appointment to see their facilities and check out their wedding program. The event manager perkily picked up the call. That’s when things began to go wobbly. Continue reading Time to Clear Out My Hard-Drive

Cougars vs. LetchDaddies, Manthers, Guyrillas…or…

Cougars. Not exactly an endangered species when we notice how often we hear about them. They’re everywhere.. or at least the WORD is everywhere.

A search on Urban Dictionary turns up this definition:

Noun. A 35+ year old female who is on the “hunt” for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar in San Francisco (or other cities)waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path. Man is cougar’s number one prey.

UD also gives the newly-informed a chance to buy CougarGear. (I’m veering off-message, but would a coug really wear a baby-tee or baseball cap describing herself as an “older” cat on the prowl for young, male prey?)

This got me thinking. We need words to describe our lives, the stuff and thoughts of our lives. If there’s not a special or unique word for “some thing,” does it mean the thing doesn’t exist for us?

As far as I can see, and I may be myopic —  there is no single word, like “cougar,” that defines the older guy who hunts and hits on much younger women. Continue reading Cougars vs. LetchDaddies, Manthers, Guyrillas…or…