I am basically Martha Stewart today. Well, not exactly. She probably doesn't have laundry strewn around her living room and she probably doesn't shop at Trader Joe's, but in spirit...No. You know what? Strike that. Here's what it boils down to. Tomorrow I'm having a very small dinner party. It has been--gosh--maybe years?--since I had a very small dinner party (this is the only size dinner party I ever have, incidentally. It is not large here. Plus, I'm not a "let me just whip something together for 20" type of girl). Today, I'm accomplishing hostessy things, not at all in the manner of Martha Stewart, but in the manner of someone who got a new cookbook for Christmas and who is, at least, planning ahead.
On my way to the grocery store, I stopped at Thrift Town to check out the bakeware. This, I want to confess, made me feel like a money-saving super genius. I realize that that is probably an overreaction. Nevertheless, I did walk out of there with a loaf pan (hello, grapefruit cake of the future!) and a bunt pan (oh, when you use your never-used fancy punch bowl to wow the book club, you're supposed to put an ice ring in it? How the hell...? Oh. In a bunt pan, you say? Lined Martha Stewartly with citrus slices? Well guess who has a bunt pan now? And citrus? Look out, 2016.) They also had a springform pan, but it was a very dubious springform pan that looked like it was more about springing than forming. Still, two outta three ain't bad.
Shortly thereafter, at Trader Joe's I learned that Cointreau and Triple Sec are the same thing. How did I not know that? Thank you, edifying Trader Joe's sign that spared my asking a team member and being judged for my total lack of cocktail savvy. In a pinch I could have evened the score by telling them about my ice ring plans, but I'm glad it didn't come to that.
Next up: non-dubious pan.
Scene. Interior. Bed Bath and Beyond. I am wandering, squinting helplessly though a sea of useful kitchen items.
Salesperson: Do you have a question?
Me: Oh! Yes. Thanks. Do you know where I can find a springform pan?
SP: A spring? form? pan?
Me: Ah. Yeah. It's that kind of baking pan with the buckle on it? So you can take it apart when the cake is done.
SP: Ohhh. OK. They're right here.
he leads me to shelf, empty save for one springform pan.
Me: Sure enough. Springform pan. New vocabulary for you. Well, I guess this is the one for me.
SP. from other side of shelf There are some more over here if you want to see them.
Me: Ah. There they are. I just thought there'd been some big run on srpingform plans.
SP: Ha. No. This is the shelf where they're supposed to be.
Me: I just thought, well, it is baking season.
SP: Yeah. That's what I'd like to do. Just spend the day in the kitchen watching somebody cook. It's been so cold out.
Me: It is cold. I notice you're planning to just sit and watch.
SP: very earnestly. Oh, I mean I'd be breaking off little pieces and eating them too.
Aside from useful BB&B vocabulary, there was another lesson learned in this story. And that is that a spingform pan is MUCH taller than a regular baking pan, so if you've been wondering why, when you ignore the springform stipulation in the recipe, your cake is overflowing in the oven, now you know. (You weren't wondering that, but I was. "Do I really need to buy such highly specialized equipment as a springform pan?" I've been asking myself for cake after overflowing cake. Yes, you ninny. Yes, you do.)
By the way, the entire time I've been writing this, I've also been roasting a brisket.
I know. It's almost dizzying. Clearly someone should be dating me.