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Friday, June 22, 2007

Retro

I'm not much of a baker. It doesn't suit my temperament, all that measuring and sifting, all that kneading and rolling and dusting of flour, the hot oven, the interminable wait, the inevitable disappointment when the cake falls, the pie filling doesn't set.

But never mind all that. Lately I've been a little more eager to get out the bowls and rubber scraper, with the addition of this little lovely to my cast of kitchen characters.

I found her at a neighborhood garage sale, and she spoke to me in a language beyond skill or temperament. Avocado green! Original box! Two dollars! Sold!

"But you don't bake."

So? Surely one needn't be a whiz at cakes and tortes to appreciate such a treasure.

Both my mother and grandmother, not to mention all my aunts, could roll out perfect pie crusts and scratch cakes that didn't sink in the center, so I suffer not from a lack of good teachers, just lack of aptitude. Blame it on my fractious personality, but truth be told, I find solo baking a little bit lonely. I might enjoy it more in a different kitchen, one large enough to fill with women friends, and a couple bottles of wine on the table to pass and season the conversation, if not the biscotti. No one I know has such a kitchen. We're all making do with 1950s kitchens -- tons of character but no space -- or apartment kitchens, where it's crowded even with just you and the cat.

Maybe when the landlord sells the house we'll move to a place with a big kitchen. BBPiT (Best Bass Player in Town) says how about a farmhouse in Lynnville? Ooh: baking in the shade of the stripper pits. That would be different.

Still: garage sales yield the most surprising things. And who knows what inspiration might come tucked inside the box? Pineapple upside down cake... banana pudding... the urge to re-do the kitchen in foil wallpaper and daisy-shaped placemats... The possibilities are endless. I think I'm going to ponder them while I make a chocolate pie.

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