Miss Lucy's Lady With the Alligator Purse
Didn't expect That

A Wheel of Wonder Bread


A dozen white, subjectively large eggs sitting on the counter praying for shelf space made themselves just a little bit smaller. A dozen Humpty Dumpty faces tilted 45 degrees upward presenting twelve uniformly distinct, but all the same, ingratiating smiles.

Nope. Sorry. I started with three dozen (Why?! Just, Why?!), used five for the Saturday Friday Feast Day (the day is as fluid as it needs to be), seven for the mostly acceptable White Cake which left 24 subjectively large eggs attempting to take shelf space by any means necessary. Except they're eggs. Good luck with all that.

The refrigerator is subjectively large, the dishwasher is subjectively large, but the 8.5 square feet of counter space hold up a sign:

No room at the inn. Try recycling to the left or the way station calling itself the top of the trash bin. Just not here. Kthxbai. 

The kitchen table is really a desk from the turn of the last century. It's serviceable, it fits the space, but it has no time for slackers. The transformation, gussied up by the Millennial coined verb 're-purpose', spilled a stain of cranky into the 130 year old dry rustic wood. Nobody said ANYTHING about the indignities of kitchen service. It does not accept groceries; leftover eggs are no more than homeless groceries. 

I wasn't feeling omelettey. Elizabeth was out roaming and the cat hasn't been home in three days, although I can hear him jingling now and then. He's not much inclined to come in out of the rain, let alone eat eggs in place of hot, wet, crunchies. 

Strictly speaking, the refrigerator should have more than enough room. The turkey is gone, the leftovers are gone, and all of the stuff that goes into making Friday Feast what it is, and has been since 2015 (the year I canceled Thanksgiving but didn't quite get away with it). All gone. The refrigerator should be 75% empty.

Almost inconceivably it is full of beer. The beer collection has been building since March or April or maybe even a little earlier. My family arrives armed. Mike brings beer and wine, Elizabeth's dad brings beer and wine, Lucia's husband shows up with Lucia. Everyone drinks wine and somehow a 750 ml bottle of tequila made itself at home on my pantry shelves. 


The table is happy to spend time with Lunazul, gender unbiased. 

Today, there are 49 bottles of beer in the refrigerator, the product of multiple visits, the clear belief that their mother/ex-wife and/or sister/daughter and her friends consume enough beer to make a dent.

There is one particular IPA which is quite good in beef stew. We don't eat much beef stew and I am afraid to remove beer from cold storage and also, to kill it by way of significant temperature change is nearly as sacrilegious as leaving it unfinished on the bar in the first place. The bar is where the beer lives. I drink two or three IPAs a year and like them very much but two or three will not resolve the shelf space.

The Humpty Dumpty clan, in its moulded pulp bus, roll forward in their seats, tuck their heads between their knees, and prepare to die. 

I google Food52 and then Angel food Cake. I am sick of Humpty sniveling and throwing out food is almost as bad as killing perfectly good beer. I need to speak with my father, the last remaining Pope of Beer, about this. 

Full disclosure: The title is not 'Pope of Beer', the title is 'Pope Puff' but nobody coming up outside the military or a civilian drop zone, circa before 1975, has a clue and it's just too damn hard to explain. So it's The Pope of Beer. Work with me.

Angel food cake recipes are terrifying in their differences and approaches, beginning with the required temperature: Room Temperature versus Straight from the Refrigerator. Sugar versus Fine Sugar. Cake Flour versus Regular Bleached Flour. Cream of Tartar at 1/8th teaspoon per egg white or none at all.

I am admittedly old school in most of my baking approaches. I selected the recipe for which I was missing three of the key ingredients. Given the chemistry behind a cake of this magnitude, I believe these three ingredients are necessary:

  1. Super fine sugar - not confectioners sugar, not granulated, goes in your coffee sugar, and certainly not simple syrup (that's as bad as melting butter in the microwave to make up for it being hard as a rock) 
  2. Cake flour - no no no no, not the stuff you keep in your canister!
  3. Cream of tartar - say YES to the egg stabilizer!

I'm a masochist. Not news.

I also have the interwebs at my finger tips although the Joy of Cooking, 1964 edition, probably would have given me the same information if I'd been willing to risk a few more pages on the floor. 

What to do when you don't have:

  1. Super fine sugar can be achieved by grinding it to dust in a food processor and maybe even a blender. It takes a long time. Don't be impatient. 
  2. Cake flour is achieved by removing two tablespoons of flour from a carefully measured cup and replacing with two tablespoons of cornstarch. No shit! Sift the hell out of it though. As an aside, did you know that baking powder can be made with baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch? I didn't have to do that.
  3. Cream of tartar requires firm resolve, a great deal of trust in multiple websites (one or two of which need to be chemistry sites), and the willingness to lose your entire batch of eggs. Cream of tartar is a stabilizer which really is necessary if you're going to make something with that many whipped egg whites. Lemon juice is also a stabilizer.


    Pretty straight forward: the ratio, cream of tartar:lemon juice is 1:2. 

    1/8th of a teaspoon cream of tartar for each egg = 1.5 teaspoons for a dozen egg whites. Alternatively, 3 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. I am more afraid of white vinegar and I needed to scrape every last bit of yellow off a large lemon anyway. 

So that's the story of the pulp mobile full of medium size eggs (I know perfectly well what a large egg looks like and you are NOT fooling me). That and one other thing: I really didn't give a damn about the final product; I entered the zen of baking (which requires not being attached to your results) and I'd like to tell you what was going on in that kitchen but I only have the outcome which appears to be

Wonder Bread 

07-It might be wonder bread

Why? It's the squish that stays squished when I squish it. I'm willing to bet if I'd thought to roll it into those disgusting compact balls we used to make and then pop into our mouths I would have had a slightly sugary and also lemony compact little ball.

I'm not really sure what the consistency of Angel food cake should be, having only ever consumed the supermarket variety which comes wrapped in clear cellophane. I know this wasn't it because the supermarket version is generally like eating a Twinkie without the toxic (still my favorite, dammit) filling. The cake had nothing in common with a Twinkie. But look at it! Look at the grain on that thing and the way it stays pinched! The texture is amazing and that's how I knew it was not mass produced non-food product white bread.

It is also how I came to fully understand the difference between cake flour and any other kind of flour and truly recognized the significance of sugar ground nearly to powder. I already got it about the stabilizer but I'm not ever likely to be lazy about it again.

Here is a fun thing that scared me until it was over:


The idea of inverting a baked good for several hours is generally enough to make me weep. Would you invert a soufflé right out of the oven with at least an inch between the to of the baking dish and the top of the soufflé? I would hope not. The heavy stuff at the bottom would fall right through that delicate crust. 

There is no heaviness in Angel food cake.

05-It was the plate

It made excellent dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Don't cover it with anything. Please. Leave it bare and miraculous.