Have you ever seen the back of a peacock?
What follows is a blog I wrote on March 6th, but never posted. I know, I've been away for a while. Not blogging, not doing much of anything creative, to tell you the truth.
I've had a strange and unsettling last couple of months, with both emotional and health challenges. But, I'm back, feeling optimistic and with my creative mojo still intact. I'll be posting a lot of new music and other work shortly.
Thanks for sticking with me. And by the way, I'm turning the 'Allow Comments' option back on. I turned them off because I was inundated with Asian spammers advertising designer knock offs. I'm hoping my spammers will have given up and gone away by now.
If you want to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you. Really! Just know that comments won't be published until I approve them. That means you can leave either a public or private comment. Let me know if you don't want your comment to be published and I'll respect that.
And, here's the front of that peacock.
Okay, here goes with the old blog I wrote on March 6th. Be Well and Good Luck. MM
Craving Burnt Sugar Icing
I take a bite of Pink Lady apple. I bought a bag of them at the flea market last Saturday. I love apples for breakfast, with a mug of strong, black coffee and a handful of raw almonds. Except this morning, I'm out of almonds. Oh well, not to worry! I'll just open one of those bags of candied pecans I bought after Christmas when they were marked down for quick sale at Kroger's.
I stand at the kitchen window, savoring the morning, my apple and candied pecans. They're a sweet, salty and crunchy combination. Delicious! Or 'scrumptious' as my mother would have said. They remind me of her and her burnt sugar icing.
"Burnts sugar' is what she called caramel. She used to make burnt sugar icing when I was a little girl. I remember watching her as she caramelized white sugar until it turned golden brown in her cast iron skillet on top of the stove, then added butter, cream, vanilla and a pinch of salt, cooking it on low heat until it reached the mysterious 'right consistency' and finally stirring in chopped pecans. When she was through icing the cake, she'd give me the cold skillet to lick, which sometimes I literally did, turning it upside down and scouring it with my tongue and getting the end of my nose sticky.
Now, I'm an old women, nearly 64 years old, thinking about my dead mother and wondering how long it's been since I've tasted one of her good caramel cakes. Too long
I wish I were a better baker, but I never learned to bake, not like Mother anyway. She baked from scratch and didn't even use written recipes. She invented recipes in her head the way I invent melodies in mine.
I seldom bake cakes and when I do, I use a Betty Crocker mix, which means my cakes are never dense, moist and heavy like Mother's. Sometimes I add a couple of extra egg yolks and tablespoon of potato starch or coconut flour to give the cake a little more heft and moisture, but those extra ingredients do little to disguise the taste and smell of preservatives that boxed mixes have. And I usually avoid the whole cooked icing dilemma by making a simple cream cheese or butter cream frosting.
I did attempt to duplicate Mother's burnt sugar icing once, but it was a failure, not just once, but twice. I didn't cook it long enough the first time and it was runny; so I put it back on the stove and cooked it again, but then it got hard as a rock.
The Kroger's bakery sells a yellow cake with caramel icing that's a sorry second best for Mother's, but will do in a pinch. Caramel is still one of my favorite flavors and sometimes when I see those packaged caramel cake slices in Kroger's, I nearly tremble with craving. That's when I buy a couple and wolf them down guiltily in the parking lot while sitting in my van.
But I suspect it's not just caramel that makes me tremble with craving. What I'm really craving is my mother. There will always be an empty place in my heart that only her love could fill....except my mother, though she did her best, could never fill it because she had an empty place too.
I have a friend who has been researching epigenetic transmission of trauma. That's the scientific name, she tells me, for trauma passed down from one generation to the next, from mother to daughter. Intuitively, I feel there's something to that. I don't know what happened to Mother in Sugar Tree. I have my suspicions, but I'll never know for sure. She and all of her Sugar Tree kin are long dead and I doubt if any of them would tell me anyway.
As much as I would have liked to have had a daughter, it's probably a good thing I only had sons.