Subscribe to our blog

Right Now, This is Where I am

by christina posted September 9, 2012 category baking, christina

My writing is best when I’m not forcing it to be something, to be funny or deep or laid-back or profound. It’s when I’m just being myself,  of saying right now, this is where I am.  I was going to try and write a funny post, or at least more light-hearted. In fact, I just spent 30 minutes writing a post about all the bad food I ate last weekend, but it was actually really boring and poorly written. So I’ll spare you a really long post about pizza and little smokies and macaroni.

Instead I’ll tell you this: right now, this is where I am. I am in the midst of trying to live a life of gratitude. Last Wednesday, I sat with my friend Gretchen and we ate Jeni’s ice cream and talked for a few hours. I love long conversations with wise friends because you can cover so much ground and hear so much truth; truth that you’ve been avoiding or haven’t heard or haven’t recognized because life gets busy or we make ourselves busy so we don’t have to encounter truth. Like many conversations I’ve had recently, we discussed community and friends and how in the world  you find community in a city you’ve lived in for two years now, but it still feels so new?

I told her Labor Day was the first weekend I remember that Zach and I had two consecutive full weekend days together. We stayed in and re-painted our guest room three times. We ate junk food and had fun just being together. But, the whole time we both felt a little panicked; a little bit like we were missing out on something that was happening out there while we were in here. You see, we’ve been building friendships and it’s been really beautiful. But we were both struck with the Fear of Missing Out. What if everyone, all our new and potential friends, were hanging out there and here we were, stuck in our house, covered in paint, together?

Gretchen looked at me and said, You need to be grateful for what you have. And that, my friends, is hard to do. I should have been more grateful, more elated that we had each other’s company for two whole consecutive days. Instead, all I could think of was what I didn’t have, or what I wanted instead. What an empty way to live.

The next night, I was with another friend and this time, we were eating chocolate chip cookies. (Let me interject with this — yes, for the past seven days, I have had dessert at least twice every single day.) So, I was with my friend and we were eating cookies and I was telling her how her life seems so FUN. How I miss living with roommates and the community that follows and how the single life seems totally glamorous. Much more glamorous than the terrycloth shorts I am donning every single night around 7pm.

She shook her head and rolled her eyes and basically told me No, you don’t want what I have. I want what you have. What?! At first I thought she was saying this to make me feel better, but then I realized she was actually serious. Do you see what I’m getting at?

I don’t think it’s wrong to want community, more friends, less friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, singleness, a place to settle down or a place to seek adventure. I think those are all good things. It’s when we forget what we have because we’re so focused on what we want…that’s when it becomes a problem. When we forget what we do have, we forget to truly live, to truly experience and feel life in all its fullness and renewal.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

Live well today, being conscious of the treasures each of our lives hold. And if you’re having trouble remembering, I’d encourage you to make this pound cake, sit down with a slice of cake and cup of coffee, and start with those two things. I’m grateful for this coffee and cake. More will come, I assure you.

Although I enjoyed it every day of its pound cake life, I especially enjoyed it the second and third day, toasted in a hot, buttery skillet and covered with raspberry jam.

Dorie’s Perfection Pound Cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours along with lemon syrup from Joy the Baker

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 2-1/4 cups cake flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of two lemons

For the syrup:(Makes a bit extra; I only used 2/3 of the syrup on the cake)

1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
juice of two lemons

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan or an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With your fingers, work the lemon zest into the sugar until the aroma is strong and the sugar is slightly moist. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and lemon sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you’re working, scrape down the bowl and beater often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated – don’t overmix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you’re using a 9×5 pan, you’ll need to bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for five minutes. Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and unmold the cake, setting it right side up on the cooling rack. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cake and brush lemon syrup on sides and top of cake; cool to room temperature.Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature (stale cake is great toasted) or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Syrup directions:

Whisk water and sugar in a small pot; bring to boil and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Set aside until ready to use.

2 Responses to Right Now, This is Where I am

  1. I needed to hear this today :)

  2. I always love it!