, , , ,

(Update: see the finished cake here)

I’d been in the mood to attempt a coconut cake.

I will never not associate coconut cake with one of my favorite moments ever in The Simpsons, from Season 8: 

Lady Baltimore cake involves dried fruit somehow, right?

Mrs. Skinner: I collect pictures of cakes that I clip out of the magazines. It all started in 1941 when “Good Housekeeping” featured a photo of a lovely cake. [opens album]
Bart: You wouldn’t happen to have any real cakes around here, would you?
Mrs. Skinner: Oh, my, no. I don’t care for cake, too sweet. Now, this is called a Lady Baltimore cake. [points to a picture] At my age, I don’t have much saliva left, so you’ll have to lick my thumb before I can turn the page. [gives Bart the thumbs-up]
Bart: Oh, can’t I just turn the page for you? [reaches for the page]
Mrs. Skinner: [slaps Bart’s hand away] No! But you can pick out any picture you want to take home with you.
Bart: Okay … that one. [points]
Mrs. Skinner: [slaps Bart’s hand away] No! You can’t have that one! That’s a coconut cake!

I planned to blog about the coconut cake and use this quote as a title.

Turns out someone already did it (and do I ever admire her no. 3 round tip skills), but there should still be plenty of Simpsons/cake crossover love to go around online.

That said, why not take it a step further?

Why not try to recreate a cake as near as possible to the one in Mrs. Skinner’s (Agnes’) scrapbook?

I mean, why bother compulsively buying cookbooks from antique stores if you can’t use them as a reference when constructing an elaborate late-nineties pop culture reference?

And while you’re at it, why not read up a little on period food availability and kitchen technology so you can replicate the coconut cake Bart can’t have a picture of using the same ingredients and equipment available to the average reader of a ladies’ magazine in 1940s Anytown USA?

(We’re assuming the cake isn’t only a lie put forth by magazine artists for egg-and-sugar-strapped wartime consumers to slobber over.)

As silly as this idea is, it set my dork nerves all a-tingle, and then I thought–

Why stop with coconut cake?

I’d already planned to turn this into a food blog. While I may have other things to say sometimes, food makes for the snappiest posts with the strongest readership. And focusing on one subject would give this blog a much needed sense of direction.

To that end, I’ve weeded out the archives here, keeping most of the old food posts and a few others. I’ve given the former Wednesday Woman a new title, which as a bonus could snag unsuspecting Googlers looking for the Simpsons Wiki.

And also–

It’s a good title for a new theme, of “Making food from books or shows or movies I like (or don’t)”.

I’m not the first person to have this idea. I’m pretty sure someone’s doing it for George R. R. Martin.  Still, there’s got to be enough love or tolerance for the food/fiction to go around.

Plus I’d love doing it. I’d get to rant or rave a tiny bit, do a little contextual research and analysis, then go nuts in the kitchen.  And if the process is inherently interesting, to me at least, the pressure’s off somewhat for making something edible.

If the idea goes over well, I’ll keep it up. Of course the entries will be pretty work intensive and won’t happen every week, or even every two. Some weeks I’ll write about lunch and some I won’t write at all. Sometimes I might still try for something completely different. 

But for now, I’ll be looking up illustrated cake recipes from Ladies Home Journal in the early forties.

A final thanks to my many coworkers who eat things for me. Hope some of you like coconut.


Still The Wednesday Woman