December 18, 2012
This year, I made an extra effort to knock out my Christmas shopping as soon as I could. I enjoy gift exchanges—at least to the extent that it’s a way to show I appreciate the people nearest and dearest to me and that I’m keeping them in my thoughts. Frankly, I’d much rather spend the month of December baking (and sharing the resultant wealth of goodies) and being social. But some years, I’m completely strapped for ideas and find myself—days before Christmas—manically browsing shopping websites or, as a last-ditch effort when sanity has completely escaped me, venture out to the shopping malls in hopes that I’ll find the perfect gift. For those of you finding yourselves in said situation, here are a few last minute gift ideas for the foodie who made it onto your “nice” list this year.
Books: The Village Voice‘s Fork in the Road blog recently pointed out 18 books released in 2012. On that list, I’ll personally vouch for two titles. In Vintage Cakes, author Julie Richardson takes a trove of classic recipes—some dating back to the 1920s—and updates them for the modern American palate. Keeping in mind that the tools and techniques of previous generations are not the same as our own, the amount of sleuthing it took to reconstruct these cakes is amazing. Paired with tips and techniques, historical backgrounds on each of the cakes and fabulous photography, it’s a book that works well in your kitchen and on the coffee table. I need to try her version of Texas Sheet Cake to see how well it stacks up against my grandmother’s.
I’d also heartily recommend giving a gift subscription to Lucky Peach, a cross between a literary journal and food magazine that, wrapped together, makes for a magnificent piece of candy for the eye and the mind. Launched in July 2011, each themed issue pairs photography lush illustrations with fabulous writing in delectable ways. (Contributors have included the likes of Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain.) If you subscribe now, the person you’re giving this to won’t receive their first issue in the mail until February 2013; however, you can also buy the current issue on newsstands so you can have something under the tree.
There are also the old standbys that always make for good gifts. I’m a big fan of The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, which is a great cookbook for someone to learn on and contains recipes that are easy to pull together. One year for Christmas I received a copy of The New Basics, and this book has since become my go-to resource for those occasions when I’m having company over and need to lay my table with something a little more impressive than my everyday cooking.
Music: I’m a big fan of the husband and wife duo that writes Turntable Kitchen, a blog that, in addition to expanding your culinary horizons, cultivates your sonic palate. Kasey writes about food, Matthew tackles music—using the language of food and flavor to describe sounds—and together they find tunes and nibbles that complement each other. What’s more is that these internet-based explorations of new flavors and sounds can be taken into our humble, analog realm by way of the Pairings Box. Each month, you get a bundle of music, recipes, suggested pairings and a few ingredients to play with. Unfortunately, the Pairings Box ships out mid-month, so unless you’re OK giving someone a nice card letting them know what goodies will soon be arriving—or do holiday visiting in January— you’ll need a more immediate option. In this situation, try The Recipe Project, which takes recipes from today’s most famous chefs and turns them into songs. (E.g., Mario Batali’s recipe for spaghetti with sweet tomatoes.) This book/CD package can be found at your local bookseller.
Toys: If you know someone culinary aspirations, encourage them to build up the relationship they have with their kitchen. If they are just starting out, giving the gift of standard pieces of equipment are always great. I was thrilled to get a good set of pots and pans when I was in college. Another year I received a slow cooker and a food processor, and for the single working professional, those pieces of equipment made my life in the kitchen so much easier. In the event that you have the budget to splurge on knives, your budding chef will be eternally grateful. There’s nothing worse than bad cutlery. When I finally came into a set of really good knives, it made a world of difference in how I work in the kitchen.
For the established chef, you can add to their collection of kitchen gadgetry. Personally, I’m not a fan of uni-tasker appliances, but if you know someone who enjoys specific foods, find the toys to let them indulge their interests. I highly recommend browsing America’s Test Kitchen Feed’s gadget reviews for handy tools—and whether or not the latest kitchen toys are really the greatest. While not the most aesthetically pleasing, their review of this heavy-duty steel nutcracker has me contemplating a splurge purchase. When you consider how much less expensive nuts are when bought in the shell, it’s a great gift—especially if you give it with a bag of oh, say, chestnuts to roast over an open fire. For sheer whimsy, check out the Foodigity blog’s online shop where you can find dinosaur-shaped tea infusers, unicorn corn holders and ice cream sandwich body pillows. You need to place orders by Friday, December 21 to ensure delivery by the 24th.
Food: Giving the gift of food itself is always a good idea. I’ve yet to hear complaints from anyone who is well-fed. There are a few ways to work within this idea, perhaps the most obvious tack to take being a food basket, be it one you cobbled together yourself or one you purchased prefab. Or if there are seasonal goodies you like to make, attractively package them and give them as gifts. This year a friend gave me some of her homemade fudge, which she wrapped in cellophane and topped with a felt Christmas ornament she also made herself. The presentation—and the food—were equally delightful.
Another tack to take on this theme is to look to your local food bank. These charitable organizations do what they can to ease hunger in the community, and they rely on monetary and edible donations to continue their mission. Some food banks will also let you donate on behalf of another person—so for someone who would rather see money go to charity than to buying them a gift, this is a great way to go. Contact your local food bank to ask if you can give in this way.
November 5, 2012
In 1983, Christopher Kimball, founder of Cook’s Magazine, received a letter from an irate grandmother unhappy with his presentation of recipes and cooking. “You don’t cook from your heart,” she wrote. Kimball responded in the affirmative. “Yes,” he said, “I cook from my head.”
That approach helped Kimball, a slim man never without his bow tie and glasses, build an empire of inquisitive, science-based cooking with his magazine now named Cook’s Illustrated and PBS shows America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. Based out of a 2,500-square-foot kitchen outside of Boston, the magazine and television programs offer a tirelessly scrupulous approach to solving the kitchen’s persistent problems: Why does food taste better hot (science)? Does marinating really tenderize meat (no)? How do you get extra fluffy rice (rinse in water)? Kimball says, “The objective is to figure out why bad things happen to good recipes.” Accompanied by his even more fastidious science advisor, Guy Crosby–”working with Guy is like working with a Talmudic scholar”– Kimball tests dozens of different methods for each recipe, all so you don’t have to.
Which is fortunate, because as it turns out, “The science of cooking is actually much more complicated than particle physics or anything else that I’ve discovered,” according to Kimball.
In a world of stylized cooking shows with frequent exclamations of “Yum-o!” Kimball, 61, would appear out of synch. To him, cooking with your heart is as useless an expression as cooking with your pancreas. His delights are in trial and error, mastering the how and why. Stubbornly rigorous, Kimball is still far from a perfectionist. He says, “You never see Martha Stewart start a show saying, ‘This cakes looks terrible!’” But Kimball regularly includes failed recipes on his shows to show how common it is and how easy to overcome.
In the recently released book, The Science of Good Cooking, Kimball and company (he works with a staff of more than three dozen) guide the reader through 50 concepts of cooking and more than 400 tested recipes. Perhaps a little more ambitious than physicist Richard Feynman’s Six Easy Pieces, the 50 concepts touch on everything from temperature to tools as a way to enhance not just the recipes in the book, but any dish you attempt in the kitchen.
Some of the tips offered and mysteries explained:
Don’t marinate meat, brine it: Counterintuitive but scientifically proven; salt makes meat juicy. According to the pros, “Salting poultry allows us to reap the benefits of brining as it breaks down proteins and helps to retain moisture within the meat.” The process even makes the skin crispier. Win-win. This is because, when the salt is first applied, through the process of osmosis, water is drawn out of the meat to the surface. But over time as the salt migrates inward, the expelled moisture returns as well, drawing water from the skin to plump the meat and dry the skin. Mouth watering yet? The same actually goes for dried beans, which should be brined instead of soaked. The pros recommend kosher salt but not all kosher salt is the same. “Because of its more open crystal structure, a teaspoon of Diamond Crystal actually contains less salt then a teaspoon of Morton kosher salt.” The book offers this handy conversion: 3 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal=2 1/4 teaspoons Morton.
Serve warm dishes at 98.5 degrees: Scientists, concerned with culinary satisfaction as they are, discovered tiny proteins in our taste buds that allow our sense of taste to be heightened with increased temperature (obviously to a degree, burning your tongue does not enhance flavor). The seemingly optimal temperature is somewhere around 98.5 degrees, depending on the food. Plus, “Much of our perception of flavor comes from aroma,” and, as the book points out, heated molecules are in an excited state more likely to reach our waiting noses. As a caveat, since some dishes are meant to be served cold (revenge not mentioned), the writers say you should flavor cold dishes more aggressively with seasoning.
Rest dough to cut down kneading time: “Kneading is the most enjoyable part of the breadmaking process,” the writers admit. But, they warn, over-kneading is a common sin that leaves the bread with less flavor and poor texture. You’ll know you’ve arrived at this sad place when your dough goes from a “wheaty tan” to a “grayish white.” The text explains that the point of kneading is to break down existing bonds and form stronger, straighter gluten sheets. But overknead, especially with electric mixers and you introduce both heat and air into your dough. The trick: autolyse, a technique first developed in the 1970s. Essentially all you have to do is rest your dough before kneading. The rest process actually takes care of some of the kneading work for you as enzymes go to work breaking down the mess of coiled protein to prepare for those nice gluten sheets later to come. According to the book, “Doughs that were given the 20-minute respite took an average of about five minutes less kneading.”
Fry foods between 325 and 375 using a mix of old and new oil: Nothing is worse than soggy fried chicken. Likewise, nothing is better than perfectly crisp fried chicken. The difference may be a matter of degrees. Most food is fried somewhere between 325 and 375 degrees (French fries, for example, are perfectly crisped at 325 degrees). It’s important to maintain this temperature (one of the reasons you fry in small amounts because dumping a large quantity of food into the pan lowers the overall temperature, warn the writers). Dropping a piece of battered shrimp into hot oil causes the surface moisture to escape in a burst of steam. That allows oil to move in. Too hot and too much moisture is lost meaning too much oil moves in, making the food greasy. But just right and the oil crisps the surface while allowing the meat to cook as well. And as a super secret way to make your food even crisper and more golden, the book recommends saving a cup of used oil to mix with fresh oil. Turns out, oil goes through five different stages while frying (beginning with “break-in” and “fresh” and ending with “degrading” and “runaway”) and right in the middle is the “optimum” oil. Mixing helps you avoid the first batch flop many of us have experienced.
Add milk to scrambled eggs, frozen butter to omelets: If you want scrambled eggs, most of us know to throw in a bit of milk or butter while scrambling. That’s because the lipids in the dairy coat the proteins in the egg (11 percent in the whites and 16 percent in the yolks) and slow down the process of coagulation, a.k.a. when the proteins are denatured and unfurl, releasing much of the water in the mixture. Adding fat helps keep some moisture in and fluff up the final product. But the same does not go for omelets. “While scrambled eggs should be fluffy, an omelet is more compact,” the authors write. While milk works for scrambled eggs, it can add to much moisture to an omelet. The chefs recommend frozen bits of butter instead, which melt more slowly and disperse more evenly. And it turns out you can go ahead and salt the eggs before you even cook them up. Because salt affects the electrical charge on the proteins, it weakens the bonds between them, preventing overcoagulation. Bring that up at your next brunch.
This is just a glimpse into the world of America’s Test Kitchen, where they don’t just find the right fry temperature, they find the individual smoke points of every oil (from coconut to peanut to canola). Precise and tested advice mixed with irresistible-sounding recipes for creamy parmesan polenta, crunchy baked pork chops and Boston cream cupcakes makes for a guide both the experienced home cook and the nervous beginner will enjoy.
“We’re not about gourmet food,” says Kimball. “We just want people to cook at home.”
Even Kimball admits, though, that are some kitchen conundrums he can’t solve. When asked if he’d found a way to really engage his own four kids with the science of cooking he said, “The only thing I’ve proved is they only want to cook with marshmallows and chocolate.”
May 16, 2012
In a local supermarket, a frozen food section is a matter of course, but have you ever wondered who had the idea to make a business out of preserving food this way? The short answer is right there in the freezer aisle when you pick up a package of Birsdeye frozen vegetables. For the long answer, consult the latest book by Mark Kurlansky. The author who gave us biographies of everyday objects such as salt and cod now delves into the entertaining history of Clarence Birdseye, an adventurer and entrepreneur who revolutionized the way we eat. I spoke with Kurlansky by phone about the mastermind behind frozen food and the place these products have in a culture that increasingly prefers food that’s fresh and local.
People had been freezing foods well before Clarence Birdseye, so why write a book about this one person?
He did not invent frozen food but he clearly invented the modern frozen food industry. Before Birdseye, hardly anybody ate frozen food because it was awful. New York State banned it from their prison system as inhumane. It was mushy and terrible because it was frozen just at the freezing point so it took a day or so to freeze. Also you couldn’t commercialize it because they would freeze a whole side of beef or something. Nobody figured out how to put it in a packagable, marketable form. On a number of levels he truly was the creator of the frozen food industry.
How did Birdseye make frozen food a desirable product?
In history, most of the inventors aren’t the ones who invented the thing. They’re the ones who figured out how to make it profitable. (Robert Fulton didn’t invent steam ships, he just had the first profitable steam ship.) You see a lot of that. Birdseye first of all had to figure out how to make frozen food a good product, which he did by realizing that when he lived in Labrador the food he froze for his family was really good—not like the frozen food that was available everywhere. He realized that that was because it froze instantly because it was so cold—that was the key to making frozen food good. An old principle that salt makers know is that the quicker crystals form, the smaller they are. So if you get really small crystals the ice doesn’t deform the tissue. So that was the first important thing. But then he had to figure out a way to package it so it could be frozen in packages that were saleable size that people in the stores could deal with and did a lot of experimenting with packaging and packaging material. He actually got the DuPont Company to invent cellophane for cellophane wrappers. Then there were all these things like transportation, getting trucking companies and trains to have freezer cars and getting stores to carry freezers. There was absolutely no infrastructure for frozen food. He had to do all of that and it took more than a decade.
Was this a difficult book to research and write?
It really was detective work. Birdseye didn’t write an autobiography. Nobody has ever written a biography on him. Almost everything on the internet is wrong and they keep repeating the same mistakes, which shows you that internet articles keep copying each other. So anytime I could really document something was exciting. Just going to Amherst and I found his report cards, it was exciting to see how he did in school. One of his grandsons had—I forget now how many—something like 20 boxes from the family that he somehow inherited and were in his attic and he had never opened them. And by threatening to go to Michigan and go through his attic myself, I got him to go up there and look through the boxes and he found a lot of letters and things that were very interesting. Going to the Peabody Museum and looking at the whale harpoon he built—one of his inventions. It was very illuminating because it was so completely mechanical and kind of simplistic. You could see that this was a 19th century, Industrial Revolution guy who built mechanical things out of household objects and things that he could get in the hardware store. I started off sort of dreading how little there was available, but it became just great fun unearthing things.
In your book, Birdseye comes across as someone who was prone to exaggerating events in his life a bit. How difficult was it to write about someone who embellished his life stories?
I don’t know that Birdseye did that more than other people. What you seem to find when you get into this biography business is that people tend to have an image of themselves that they want to project and they want to color statements by this image. It’s not so much that he was a wild liar. He just had a certain view of himself that he liked, so he would emphasize certain things. He always emphasized himself as an adventurer and a wild guy. He always described his years in the Bitterroot Mountains and talked about the hunting he did there and the incredible amount of animals he shot—over 700 animals one summer—and he loved to talk about that stuff. He never talked very much about the fact that this was a major medical, scientific research project on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and that he played an important role in this research, which is an important chapter in medical history. What they learned about controlling that disease later had an impact on dealing with malaria and even later in Lyme disease. It was important scientific work, but typical of Birdseye, he mainly talked about himself as the mighty hunter. Fortunately that was the chapter of his life that was easy to document.
And in certain ways he didn’t talk about himself very much. When he was in Labrador, he kept a daily diary, and this was during the period that he courted and married he wife, and he barely ever mentioned her. There’s a letterhead clipped to a page in his diary without any comment. Well there’s a description of staying in a hotel and the things he did but what he didn’t mention was that it was his honeymoon. So there are lots of gaps. I could never find out if he was a Republican or a Democrat. And interestingly, his family doesn’t know. Even his daughter-in-law, who’s still alive and was quite close to him, didn’t really know what he was.
Was there an especially fun moment you had while working on the book?
The New York Public Library has every directory ever printed of New York, so it took me about five minutes to find out which house he grew up in in Brooklyn, in Cobble Hill, and I went there and it didn’t seem to have changed much. It was still a single family dwelling, it had chandeliers and a lot of late 19th century décor and a kind of elegance. It solved a mystery for me because everybody who’s ever met Birdseye talked about what an unpretentious, easygoing guy he was, and yet in Gloucester he built this pompous mansion with pillars up on a hill. And I always wondered: If he really was so unpretentious, why did he build such a pretentious house? Seeing the house he was born in, I realized that this was the way he was raised.
In your book, Birdseye’s frozen food products are desirable, but over time attitudes have changed. Our modern culture is placing a lot of emphasis on fresh foods and eating locally.
I don’t think that we are really going to go back to that world. To begin with, there were drawbacks to that world that nobody in the foodie world thinks about. Like most places where you live, there isn’t much fresh food available for a number of months of the year. So unless you use frozen food or canned food, which is what they used to do, you can’t be a locavore all year round except for a few climates. You could be a locavore in Florida or southern California. But I tried that. It was really limiting.
So does Birdseye’s frozen food innovations still have a place in our modern culture?
Oh, it has a huge place—bigger than ever. And now you see more and more sophisticated versions of frozen food—frozen gourmet food. Places like Trader Joe’s, where you can get frozen truffle pizza and things like that–that’s one of the things that has changed public perception.
To us, frozen food isn’t like fresh food. We know the difference. But when somebody in Birdseye’s day tasted frozen food, they weren’t comparing it to fresh food; they were comparing it to canned food or dried, salted food. And by that standard, it was so like fresh food. But today we tend to compare it to actual fresh food. While it comes a lot closer than canned food, it’s not really as good as fresh food. One of the things that has happened with that market is that they have figured out how to make frozen food a middle priced or even inexpensive product so that’s one of its selling points is that it’s easily affordable and it’s often cheaper than really good fresh food. So it has taken a completely different place than where it started off.
Check in tomorrow for Part II of our interview with Mark Kurlansky about his masterpiece on the history of salt, the only edible rock on the planet.
March 7, 2012
If you were to point to the most marvelous product kicking around in your pantry right now, would it be your loaf of bread? It is one of the most mundane staple foods, but as Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows in his book White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, the lowly loaf is so much more than the sum of its simple parts. In American culture, bread is a status symbol, and the book provides a fascinating look at how store-bought white bread rose and fell in prominence. The book also answers the big question: Why do we have pre-sliced bread, and why it was the greatest thing to hit grocery store shelves?
To understand sliced bread, one must first understand the dramatic shift in bread making habits in America. In 1890, about 90 percent of bread was baked at home, but by 1930, factories usurped the home baker. Considering that bread making had been a part of domestic life for millennia, this is a fairly rapid change. In the early 20th century, Americans were highly concerned with the purity of their food supply. In the case of bread, hand-kneading was suddenly seen as a possible source of contamination, and yeast—those mystical, microscopic organisms that causes dough to rise—were viewed with suspicion. “Bread rises when infected with the yeast germ because millions of these little worms have been born and have died,” Eugene Christian wrote in his 1904 book Raw Foods and How to Use Them. “And from their dead and decaying bodies there rises a gas just as it does from the dead body of a hog of any other animal.” Images like this hardly make someone want to do business with the local baker.
Mass-produced bread, on the other hand, seemed safe. It was made in shining factories, mechanically mixed, government regulated. It was individually wrapped. It was a product of modern science that left nothing to chance. It was also convenient, sparing women hours in the kitchen to prepare a daily staple. Factory loaves also had an attractive, streamlined aesthetic, dispensing with the “unsightly” irregularities of homemade bread. Americans fed on factory bread because the bread companies were able to feed on consumer fear.
But factory breads were also incredibly soft. Buying pre-wrapped bread, consumers were forced to evaluate a product under sensory deprivation—it’s next to impossible to effectively see, touch and smell bread through a wrapper. “Softness,” Borrow-Strain writes, “had become customers’ proxy for freshness, and savvy bakery scientists turned their minds to engineering even more squeezable loaves. As a result of the drive toward softer bread, industry observers noted that modern loaves had become almost impossible to slice neatly at home.” The solution had to be mechanical slicing.
Factory-sliced bread was born on July 6, 1928 at Missouri’s Chillicothe Baking Company. While retailers would slice bread at the point of sale, the idea of pre-sliced bread was a novelty. “The housewife can well experience a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread with each slice the exact counterpart of its fellows,” a reporter said of the sliced bread. “So neat and precise are the slices, and so definitely better than anyone could possibly slice by hand with a bread knife that one realizes instantly that here is a refinement that will receive a hearty and permanent welcome.” The bakery saw a 2,000 percent increase in sales, and mechanical slicing quickly swept the nation. With Americans all agog at the wonders of the mechanical age, sliced bread was a beacon of the amazing things the future might hold. At least that was the mindset. “Technology,” Bobrow-Strain says, “would usher in good society by conquering and taming the fickle nature of food provisioning.”
December 23, 2011
Baking can be an intimidating prospect. It requires lots of precision, and it’s disappointing to spend a painstaking chunk of your day futzing with an arsenal of measuring cups, the front of your person plastered with flour, only to have your creation come out of the oven looking less than fabulous. In your 11th hour panicking, you could opt for a professionally made cake—but even those can reach your eager clutches as an aesthetic and architectural mess. You could be upset, cry, maybe sit silently and stare blankly off into space wondering what higher power could possibly allow this sort of thing to happen. Or you can laugh it off—and Cake Wrecks, a blog started by Jen Yates in 2008, provides some much-needed comic relief as it looks at human foibles by way of baked goods. I corresponded with Yates via email about the blog and her new holiday-themed book Wreck the Halls.
What prompted you to start Cake Wrecks?
All of my friends knew about my new cake decorating hobby, and one of them forwarded me an e-mail with the now famous “Best Wishes Suzanne/Under Neat That/We Will Miss You” cake in it. That was my lightbulb moment, and within just a few hours I’d started the blog. Of course, I never expected anyone to read it! It was just a fun little side project, meant only for me and my own amusement. The fact that other people found it and liked it was the shocking virtual cherry on top.
Are you personally making any decorated baked goods this holiday season?
Um, no. This time of year is way too crazy! I do bake, just not as often as I’d like because of the no-time thing. In fact, the hobby preceded the blog. My husband, John, signed us up for cake decorating classes at a local craft store back in 2008, and a few months later I started Cake Wrecks. As much as I love the wrecks—and believe me, I do!—I still have a passion for great cake art. That’s why we also feature amazing cakes every Sunday in our Sunday Sweets posts.
Why do you think there is such a prevalence of poorly decorated baked goods?
I think it’s just human nature. We’ve all been there: the post-lunch mental lull, the rushed order, the distraction that keeps us from noticing something glaringly obvious later on. Hey, I’ve done it, and odds are all my readers have, too. Like I say on the site: I’m not out to vilify bakers; I’m just trying to find a little funny in unexpected places.
Of course, some of the cakes I post are more of a concept-wreck, like belly cakes and edible babies, and those boil down to a matter of taste—pun intended. There really are ladies out there who think a slice of boob cake is “adorable.” Which is awesome. Because then we get to giggle about it.
Do you notice any trends among the wrecked holiday cakes?
Angry Santa faces. Like, plotting-to-murder-you-in-your-sleep angry. I don’t know why, but apparently a lot of bakeries are anti-smiley face.
Are there certain pieces of holiday imagery that wreckerators from all over seem to have trouble with?
The star of David, no question. If I had a nickel for every five-pointed Hanukkah star I’ve seen… well, I’d have at least 50 cents. In Wreck The Halls I include a Hanukkah cake with a five-pointed star that’s also upside down and inside a circle. Yes, they actually made a Hanukkah pentagram.
What is your favorite holiday cake wreck?
The first one that jumps to mind is Constipated Santa. He has this florescent pink face, and he’s bent double like he’s straaaaaiiining, and I can’t help but giggle every time I see it.
Then there’s this ridiculous lizard-with-a-human-head-wearing-a-Santa-hat cake. It looks as creepy as it sounds, believe me.
Of course the [book's] cover wreck is also a doozie: “Happy Hole Days.” We also have “Happy Holly Days,” “Marry Christmas,” and “Merrychrist Mas.” Good stuff.
And while it’s not holiday-oriented, the Star Trek/Star Wars mash-up ranks pretty high in my all-time favorites. As a die-hard geek, it makes me both cringe and laugh at the same time.
For someone who is entertaining during the holidays and ends up with a cake wreck, do you have any advice for them on how to fix it?
My advice? Don’t even try. The holidays are hectic enough without stressing over cake, so just let it go—or better yet, turn it into an inside joke. Who knows? You might end up with a new yearly tradition, like signing all your cards, “Mary Chistmas!” or making special homicidal snowmen for the front yard.
If you need a last-minute stocking stuffer—or simply want to enjoy more holiday wrecks—pick up Wreck the Halls. And for tragically comic cakes all year long, check out the Cake Wrecks blog.