Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chocolate Reflection: A Day without Eating

My belief about religion is that it is inherently disorganized, the practice of it more private and intimate than sex. (I once set a controversial--as religious matters often are--precedent for this website by insisting that no participant in an event I organized advertise his or her religion.) But today, I'm openly embracing tradition by fasting for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. I've done this most years since 2001, when I (an inexperienced traveler with no plan, no Spanish, no way home to my family in New York) found myself in a Guatemalan synagogue. The moment collapsed the astonishingly familiar and the utterly foreign, horror and comfort, conflict and peace. It allowed me to contemplate in a way I never had before the connection we have to other people.

Pittsburgh has brought many new connections to my life, including a writer and avid baker named Andrea. I asked if she would send me a recipe for a chocolate cake and she responded--but not with the recipe. She sent instead a lyric essay:

My Baking Style
by Andrea Applebee

I went to make a "funny cake", a kind of chocolate cake in a pie
crust. The recipie makes two pies. I only have. One pie crust, so I had
to halve the recipe. No white flour,no sugar. Whole wheat and honey replaces.
Forgot to halve the milk.
Tried to pour most of the batter into one pie crust anyway. Spilled
it en route to the oven, into the oven. Shit. Turned off oven. Tried
to clean, not very well. It was hot. Pie drippings burning. Ineluctable.
Turned on oven. Shut. Ignore.
Plenty of my baking adventures turn out well. And yet--and yet--I
have nightmares about disasters with the oven some nights. Spills,
burns, fires.
Perhaps I'll never be a real girl.
Real girls would follow the recipes exactly.
Their ovens spotless; hands, steady.
That pie like so much of the fruit of my hands: messy, risky, made-up,
cracked at the bottom, too full, grainy, not at all like your mother's.

A recipe for a day without food.


Blogger essny said...

Hi Emily!

hope you're finding Pittsburgh to your liking.


10:07 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ninja Chef said...

Hmm, guess you're into chocolate. Are you thinking of writing this into something larger?

11:14 AM GMT-5  

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