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Friday, April 1, 2011


I have to bake a cake. Through my own stupidity, or possibly unthinking generosity, I said I'd bake a carrot cake. That's 3 cups of grated carrots, and I don't have a food processor. I don't have carrots either. Or cream cheese for frosting. Or enough confectioners sugar. Or cake pans... (Making a list, checking it twice...)

My sister Gail came up with the idea to smash Aries birthdays together and have lunch. After a flurry of emails and phone calls, I warned Mom 8 - 15 people are coming over tomorrow. I suspect Mom is now in her own flurry of activity, picking up her piles of recent auction buys -- or she's yelling at my brother to pick it all up. There's a lot of noise currently going on in my head while I imagine everyone jumping into action.

"Duet" is a great description of how Gail and I fill our roles preparing a family meal. We each know our parts well, while menfolk park themselves in front of the TV or gather around some mechanical thing outside. I count it as a personal victory to have transferred potato peeling to men, but the rest of it is on us as we dance our parts in the kitchen, sometimes breaking out in an actual musical duet as the mood strikes us. Gail has a good voice when she applies herself. Both of her sons are quite gifted musically too.

I told Gail about Jane's recipe for rutabagas, but Sis says "NO!" Obviously we're both scarred by our bumper crops of rutabagas in childhood. We're going with asparagus instead, which has the added benefit of being the only cooked vegetable we're allowed to eat with our fingers if we choose to do so. Thanks Emily Post!

Happy birthday to Riley, Mom, Timmy, and Richard! Plus happy birthday to Craig, John, Lynne, Carly, and all of the Aries Marinos. Have I remembered everyone? I know there's a bunch of Aries pals in the blogging world too, but forgive me if I don't look up everyone's birthday to remind myself. There's a cake that needs baking. Just count yourself in my general wishes for happy Aries birthdays, and a happy weekend to everyone else!

P.S. I wrote this post this morning, then went shopping and borrowed necessaries. I thought this art would go fast, but alas, it took longer than intended. I stopped to get the cake is in the oven, which required breaking almost every rule I have about cooking. The first of which is to avoid appliances like a plague. It's far better to make an entire meal with one pan and one spoon. Carrot cake requires the food processor, mixer, carrot peeler, knife, spatula, bowl, spoon, beaters for the mixer, cutting board, cake pans, cooling racks, cake plate... This is ridiculous! On top of that, it requires me to break my other essential motto -- measuring is for cowards. (Okay, maybe I just don't like being told what to do?) AND NOW, I have to wash all that stuff so I can make frosting!

P.P.S. I was thinking "never again" while I was cleaning up, and licked the beater. OMG is that good!!! Maybe I'll forget about the mess and do it again another time?


The birthday party went great and the cake was a hit. Everyone laughed when my sister read this blog while we were sitting around after lunch. However, I had said the men wouldn't help, but as you can see, my brother Chris is in the kitchen scooping out seeds from a cantaloupe. Photographic evidence that men can and sometimes do help! He's even demonstrating composting, by putting the melon guts in the appropriate container.

My brother Brian also helped by preparing the asparagus. I said I would blog about that, but he said "No! People will think I'm a wuss!" So I said I'd blog his response instead, which for some reason is more acceptable than actually snapping the ends off of asparagus??

I'm not allowed to show pictures of cute children, so I'll just show evidence of their presence instead. My niece and my nephew's daughter had a bucket of chalk in the driveway and demonstrated artistic skills run in the family :)


  1. Yum Linda, I do enjoy a slice of carrot cake, no need for links to understand this one-LOL. I am another of your Aries friends who celebrated my birthday yesterday! We also have lots of family birthdays at the moment and I have a big party lunch tomorrow. Luckily I am NOT cooking. Have fun and we will raise a glass to your family as I celebrate with mine!
    Cheers! Jane x

  2. Linda, there is such a thing as a grocery store... they do sell things like carrot cake you know! Ah the conveniences of modern life! I know, I know; there is no substitute for the love one puts into a home-baked cake! Nice carrot(s) illustration! Enjoy your get-together!

  3. Thanks! Next cake might come from the grocery store, but for now, I am pretty pleased with myself for my creation. Nothing like Jane's cakes, but I'm satisfied with the fact that it's symmetrical with a flat top :D

    Off to the party! Have a great weekend!

    Happy belated birthday Jane!

  4. Weeeeriririririririr! That's what I hear when I see your great illustration. (That's meant to be the sound of a food processor, by the way.)

    Oh, yum! Carrot cake! Save me a slice. Please and thank you. And you got the men to peel the potatoes? I'm impressed!

    Have a wonderful party! Happy birthday to all the Aries!

  5. I love carrot cake Linda! Call me in when it’s done. I’ll be outside looking at the lawnmower :o) Hilarious post. Love your motto. “Measuring is for wimps”. :o) Be a great title for a book. Happy birhday to all the Aires and great illo.

  6. I'm sending out virtual slices of cake to everyone... I have to admit that I feel a mad urge to redo the illustration since I didn't give it my full attention, but I think it's just going to exist as is since there's still some mess in the kitchen today. Maybe I'll just contemplate my possible recipe book that doesn't have measurements in it?

  7. 'Measuring is for cowards' :-) I adopt that saying as from now.
    Same here: love drawing, dread cooking.
    The chalk work by your younger family members is delightful.
    Keep up the good work, Linda (i.e. drawing).

  8. Thanks Paula! I played with the chalk with the girls too. Sweet girls and such simple fun :)

  9. My Mom could only get me to eat rutabagas in the raw form. But I ate them! Thanks for commenting on my recipe over at TDAC.

  10. Thanks for your kind comment on my turtles on a tee. Your blog is charming+!!
    I have a pal in the hospital who told me all she wants is carrot cake.
    Lucky for me another pal will make it! :-)

  11. Thanks for your comment Linda, love your friendly blog!

  12. Thanks everybody! Best wishes for your friend in the hospital Eye. Sending virtual cake there too...

  13. Wonderful story and lovely illustration!

  14. I enjoyed all the family musings, along with the fun carrot illo. I am glad you had a nice time at the birthday bash!! I would like to try your carrot cake one day, and you know how I feel about veggies in my cake :)

  15. Mmmm, I thought I smelled a carrot cake baking! That's a family favorite here, too, but I totally empathize with the prep and clean up! Family gatherings are always fun, especially when everybody pitches in and there's more time to enjoy playing with the kids!
    Love your shredded carrots- Have you considered posting you illustrated recipe on tdac? :o)

  16. Thanks everybody! I did give a little thought to putting my recipe on TDAC Michele, but I lacked momentum. I enjoy looking at everyone else's recipes though. It's a fun site. For people who don't know that site, there's a link for it under blogs I follow in the right column.

    Remind me next holiday ML, and maybe I'll bake another cake sometime?

  17. Haha! You licked the beater! That can get you arrested in Oz! Food and safety and all that :)

    Sorry I missed this, your stories are always wonderful, nearly as good as your art :)
    Heh, such a clean work, if I was going to pick a professional you'd be it! Lots of movement, great colour choice. Plenty of rythm.

    What else could we want?

    Sorry to be late :)

  18. You know, I had that moment where I wondered if licking the batter could give me salmonella or something, but it was worth it! Thanks for visiting Andrew. You're never too late for the party!

  19. Ha! Such a great post. I especially love the after the fact corrections! :D And now I'm in the mood for carrot cake, but I must admit all that carrot grating would definitely send me to the bakery for a finished product!!

    Cute illo!

  20. Yummy! I'm thoroughly enjoying my virtual slice of your cake. It's funny how different we all are...I love grating anything: carrots, chocolate, cheese...well, especially chocolate and cheese! Love your carrots - they have such movement, as if they're dancing!

  21. I like the idea of dancing carrots :) Thanks for the comments!

  22. this pic http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CvF_KJM0HQs/TZZntWzSXvI/AAAAAAAAAfQ/it44492YvhI/s1600/Gail%2B%2526%2BMe.jpg is adorable :D

  23. Thanks Mita! We used to do that a LOT. See what kids are missing with all their technology? :)

  24. Oh my! I just had to laugh. I tend to think that measuring is for weenies too (and tend not to do it really, even when baking cakes--and as far as I'm concerned, baking a carrot cake IS a one-bowl operation--okay, maybe two--one for wet things and another for dry--plus one spoon and a grater for the carrots). I really like your carrot picture, and the notion of kitchen duets. Actually, I loved this whole topic. I could spend a year on it.

  25. Thanks Coreopsis! Complaining aside, I actually enjoyed making the cake :)