Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blursville and The Beauty

Every night when I climb into bed at around 11, I am completely spent. My feet throb. The muscles wrapped around my spine are squeezing, dying to unclench. I switch on the Food Channel and let the laces out. I ooze onto the pillowtop. Husband has been asleep for hours as have the children.

This is the moment of my day that I remember the most. Everything else is on fast forward, a race from one thing to the next. A contest to get a monumental amount of things done. I'm a top competitor in this type of contest, but what the fuck. Where is it all going.

My next door neighbor, a nineteen year old that used to babysit the girls, sports a bumper sticker on her jalopied volvo stationwagon that reads Stop the Killing in Darfur. She's on her way to Africa, on a mission to Tanzania to lend a hand. I like her a lot. She wore a button the other day -- as did her mom -- that read Help Darfur. I thought, I better keep up with what the kids are into these days. I better read up on Darfur because oddly Sudanese massacres aren't really covered on cupcake blogs. The news wasn't much different than the last time I checked up on a genocide though the estimated numbers are higher. It's hope-crushing and makes me draw a blank.

Speaking of Africa, I've taken control of my iPod. I used to leave the iPod management to Husband who has somehow collected 2,500 songs, which is staggering to me considering I have been listening to the same 20 songs for over a year. I pulled up our family iTunes account and the songs to be found were almost exclusively hard-core rap and R&B. There were hints of me in there; some salsa, some blues, some international. I reclaimed my own list, swapped out my 20 songs for 20 newly downloaded ones that are more my flow, including a few assorted cuts by Fela Kuti, who was a Nigerian musician and revolutionary. I used to be obsessed with Fela in the 80's, signing petitions to free him from jail and listening to his vinyl records nonstop. I saw him in concert once when I was about 17, and stood at the edge of the stage, locked down by his blanket-like intensity. I was face to face with his female dancers who were on all fours arching and contracting their backs to the never-ending rhythm. The dancers were far from kitteny and coy about their sexuality. They wore expressions that dared us to even look at them. Fela spent the entire show without a shirt, without shoes, tight polyester pants, chain smoking and bullying his massive band. He berated the American audience asking why we only come to concerts for two hours? "In Nigeria, we play ALL. NIGHT. LONG." His smirks and stares created real fear; his singing put us all under his spell. One of the songs I downloaded over the weekend is ten minutes long with just one sentence sung, an Ashanti proverb: It is because of Beauty that women hold them breasts when they run not because they might fall. Most all of Kuti's music is trance-like, heavy on organ and horns and drums and his dark droning. I still love it so.

I went to a gourmet shop two days ago. I'm not sure if I've actually been in a gourmet shop before, but this was definitely the first time I've been in one with my eyes open. I bought two small items that may change my life. Vietnamese cinnamon is one. I've been reading the praises of this over the last couple months. I use cinnamon every day, sprinkled in my coffee grounds before brewing. I shake a little here, little there. And I report enthusiastically that Vietnamese cinnamon is the motherf'ing Sophia Loren of cinnamons. The other item I bought was ground lavender powder. Tonight, I made a lavender cream frosting that was almost stunning. I used soy creamer instead of soy milk but, predictably, I got a little overzealous with the lavender. Husband couldn't even eat it, but I feel big potential here especially when I made if for an agave clove cake. OOoo, it's so close.

Look what else I tried. Flawless vegan cook and baker QuintanaRoo demystified this chocolate sculpting process for me and I gave it a shot for my coconut cakes.

And then the chocolate became room temperature . . .and she's down . . .

So, I laid the remaining chocolate hearts right on top. This worked out better because then one didn't feel inclined to pull out the heart and eat if first. This way, you ate it like an open-faced cupcake sandwich, which was so much better. I mean, what's better than coconut and chocolate all mashed together? Except Vietnamese cinnamon and crushed lavender and. . .holy shit, it's my decompression/bedtime. Peace.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking me to see Fela Kuti! I used to play his records when I worked Sunday afternoons in a vinyl shop, and they were so good that I felt left out and kind of pouty that I'd been born a white girl in the southern U.S. Of course when I rule the world, everyone's invited. But it's hard not to feel self-conscious sometimems, when the cool is that real.

Also: word combinations like "Vietnamese cinnamon" and "agave clove" are blowing my mind.

SUEB0B said...

I love Vietnamese cinnamon too. But the ceylon (also Mexican, the lighter colored kind) kind has its place too - it is really good in fruit desserts, especially with apples - it just tastes so right.

kristen said...

I love so much coming here and seeing what's new in your cupcake world. And thank you for reminding me to go to I-Tunes to buy a song I heard the other day.
Vietnamese Cinnamon.....I would bet it's delicious since Vietnamese spice and flavors rock my world.

andrea said...

the tales of your cupcake-baking... making me so happy.

Janine said...

I'm off to investigate Fela Kuti! Love those cupcakes madness, as soon as this Ozzie summer starts to cool down I might just have to make some.

Anonymous said...

How strange that the chocolate ...um...wilted. I'm curious about what the conditions were that caused it (because I've never had that happen and I want to continue to avoid it, consciously!) Anyway, they look great and put me in a mind of making cupcakes. But then, when am I not in a mind of making cupcakes. Today my project is a birthday cake though and that will be fun too. Best, Emilie (QuintanaRoo)