Gettin’ all Martha up in my parents’ kitchen

I’m more exhausted than usual after making a cake, because I made this particular cake at my parents’ house. Since I’m living with them, this is the first time I’ve baked anything in their abode, and I admit, I was having some serious moments–shock and awe–upon realising how unprepared my parents’ kitchen was for me.

It all started with these wild lemons my parents got from my Aunt Becky’s ranch. These warty-skinned wonders looked up at me from the basket my parents have them in, and they begged to be made into a tart. Well, I haven’t tried my amateur hand at tarts yet, so the lemons and I agreed upon a cake instead. I looked at the ingredients of an orange cake recipe I had (which I had altered to create this Glazed Orange Spice Cake), and determined the only things I needed to grab was some sour cream and powdered sugar.

So it was off to the nearby Oviedo Publix, which had a lovely NASCAR display, nicely flanked by cubes of Molson Ice or some other nasty equivalent. I picked up the missing ingredients, calling as I meandered the aisles to ask my father how many eggs we had (“We got five!”), then threaded my way past the soccer and lacrosse moms to the check-out aisle, whereupon I believe I creeped the manager bagging my groceries with my “Candy from Strangers” reusable shop bag I got from BlueQ.

Anyhoo, so I get back to my parents, and grab a couple of bumpy wild lemons to zest. However, there’s a problem: my parents do not own a zester. They neither own a grater. Wait, they *think* they own one of the two… so a search ensues. My mother discovers here angel food cake pan, along with a little hand juicer she bought at Publix, but no dice with the zester or a cheese grater. So, after a poor attempt to zest with a steak knife, I moved onto an apple peeler, which produced less than the 4 teaspoons of required zest in an uneven fashion. Oh well, no big deal, it’s good enough.

Then comes the time to measure the ingredients, and so ensues another hunt for measuring cups and spoons. After much, much digging, and some suggestions I outright refused, including what appeared to be the cup for cough syrup (“Well, that’s a teaspoon right there at the notch.”), Ma finally procures a set of measuring cups and a lone measuring spoon–1/2 teaspoon. Lucky for me, the recipe didn’t need anything measured in tablespoons, so I pressed on, considering the irony of the Bed, Bath & Beyond gift certificate I received this past Christmas, when maybe my parents should have picked up a set of measuring spoons with it instead. And a grater, or even more fancy, a microplane.

When it came time for the eggs, I opened up the fridge and, sure enough, there were five eggs. I only needed two, but there was, again, another problem: the eggs had a “Best before” date of January 25th. Folks, that was a month ago to the day.

So, I went back to Publix at around 8 pm, which is around the time most of the single men tend to do their Publix shopping, loading their carts and baskets with frozen foods and Molson Ice. I plunked in my basket eggs (“Best before March 30 ’08”), measuring spoons and a grater.

After that, I didn’t run into any more problems, and the cake looks good. My ma’s been sticking her face in the cake since it’s been done, and I have to shoo her away, and I poured a lemon glaze over the top. I’ve got to say, it can be pretty exasperating baking and cooking in someone else’s kitchen. I remember the last time I had this much trouble, it was when I was baking biscuits at Mike George’s apartment. The poor man didn’t even have any knives, aside from his pocket knife that he offered, which I declined. I had to wait for Clark to come with a knife from his house so I could cut the dough into little squares for the biscuits.

To be fair, though, everyone’s kitchen is suited to them and how they make–or in some cases, just heat or reheat–food. My parents’ kitchen works for them for the most part, and that’s the important thing. I don’t plan on baking on a daily basis here, although I’m sure my mother would love it if I did.

So what does this wild lemon cake taste like? To be honest… I’m too tired to try it out right now. I took a photo on my digital camera of it post-glaze, and I’m about to cut it in half so that I can take a portion to my someone tomorrow. Of course, I have to relate my tale of guerrilla baking to him in order for there to be an understanding as to all that I went through to make this lemon cake.

I don’t think he reads my blog.

But, apparently, my Granny does! Hey, Granny!

wild lemon cake


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