Musings in General, Cake Musings and Pasta Mama

I think my favorite rainy day song is Norah Jones’s Don’t Know Why.  Everytime I hear it I just think of raindrops falling from a tin roof (don’t ask me why I chose tin, I’m not sure myself, but just go with it) and dripping down to a puddle outside connected to a small stream trickling down the sidewalk.  And the “I” in the song…well, she’s inside watching this and thinking of someone, life, etc.  But mostly thinking of that someone she let go of in the song.  Her heart is drenched in wine, but he’ll be on her mind forever…

Oh the morning musings of…well, me.

When I woke up this morning, one by one, thoughts of today’s brunch with my friend and the cooking and baking I need to do started trickling into mind, much like the raindrops I talk about previously.  I started composing the list of things to get from the grocery, still debating in my mind what I’m going to finally do.  And here and there thoughts of the 50th birthday cake I’ll be making try to jump in like antsy little children, vying for their mother’s attention.  You see, the difficulty in making a cake is not so much in the baking, but in the decorating.  I toyed with the idea of making a fondant ribbon to place on top of the cake and piping a small fondant “gift card” with the “Happy Birthday!” message and placing it next to the ribbon.  And as I typed that last sentence, an idea popped into my head to pipe little white dots all over the cake itself to make a pattern.  All well and good, but can I pull it off?  Well, one way to find out…

As for the cooking and baking that have happened this weekend already, on Friday I finally tried making that pasta dish I was talking about in a previous post.  It’s a pasta dish with butter, scrambled eggs, garlic and parsley.  Since then I’ve managed to recall the restaurant in West Hollywood that serves this dish and it’s Hugo’s, and again, the dish is called “Pasta Mama” on their menu.  I put my own spin on it by adding bacon and sundried tomatoes.  My test subject enjoyed the dish and said that it was pretty good.  Having never worked with fresh pasta (I used Buitoni’s linguine) before, I wasn’t sure what difference it would make to use fresh pasta, but as it turns out it was much better than the dried pasta I normally go with.  There wasn’t a specific recipe that I followed when making the dish.  I figured I would just throw in the ingredients mentioned plus some of my own and season it all to taste.  I used fresh parmesan cheese that I grated myself — next time I think I’ll add more of this.  The sundried tomatoes really gave it a nicely subtle tangy kick.  It was pretty easy to make, except a little messy due to my very tiny kitchen.  But things don’t always go like clockwork especially when you make a dish for the first time.

My rendition of “Pasta Mama”
I called my mom to tell her what I was making and she said maybe I should cook for them one time I’m home…I laughed.  When I’m home, the kitchen is her kitchen.  Coming from my tiny, cozy little kitchen I get a little intimidated by her kitchen, which is probably two and a half times the size of mine.  A kitchen is just a room in a home, but to those who love cooking and baking and all things culinary, it’s such a personal thing.  When you get to know your kitchen you know the quirks of your oven and where everything is, what equipment you’ve got to work with.  Working in someone else’s kitchen is just a little unsettling at first until you get used to it and it feels almost like a second home.
My cooking and baking hobby is getting to the point where I feel just a little overwhelmed — with the things I want to try, want to learn…and underneath it all I wonder sometimes about the personal motivations I have for throwing myself into it.  It’s slowly becoming a part of “me” and I like it.  But underneath it all, I know this is about more than just food for me.  It’s my escape, I suppose.  I’ve often remarked that I don’t mind the work that goes into making a dish or baking something because it keeps me busy and it keeps me from brooding.  It makes me feel productive too, because instead of going and ordering food from takeout or buying something ready-made, I’m taking the time to create it myself.  The feeling you get from accomplishing something that a lot of people wouldn’t bother to trouble with is one of the motivations I have for doing this, I suppose.  But again, there are a lot of reasons, not all of which I’m sure I know.  Maybe there’s a grander purpose to all this, or maybe I’m just another girl looking to find a beacon to guide her to the shores of sanity in a crazy, crazy world…

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