Beer and Cake Not a Winning Combination

This morning as I was icing my nose that I rammed with a heavy ball at the gym I saw a segment on TV about a girl who was using cake as a way to find a boyfriend. She was a cute girl from Tennessee who lives in LA. She has spent 2013 baking cakes and taking them to bars to casually offer them to cute guys in the bar in hopes of actually getting a date. She calls it cakebarring and she documents her exploits on her blog “sitting in bars with cake attempting to lure boys with sugar”.

I have not read her whole blog, but my take away is that after 28 cakes she has not gotten a boy friend yet. Since she has been doing this 28 weeks without success I have a few suggestions. First, stop with the cakes. Beer and cake has never been a popular food combination. Maybe she should try homemade Pizzas or soft pretzels. I’m sure she has met plenty of guys who had drunk enough that cake sounded great, but they were probably too drunk to remember who gave them that really great cake and thank her, let alone ask her on a date.

My big question is how much weight is this girl gaining by making a cake every week and at least eating one slice to test the recipe? She did not look heavy in the slightest, but all that cake eventually has to catch up with her. I can’t imagine that in the land of beautiful people who are terrifically body conscious that cake is the draw it is in say, Tennessee.

Everyone knows the old adage “the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach” but I have to actually say I don’t know one man who dated, let alone marry any one for their cooking. My own husband Russ actually proposed to me on the way into The Acme supermarket before I ever cooked him one thing. I had owned a catering business for ten years before that and had many people who loved for me to cook for them, but none of them loved me for my cooking.

People love people, not the things they can do, be it cook or play great tennis or even earn a good living. I know lots of women who can’t cook at all who have major foodie husbands that still love them in spite of their lack of culinary skills.

I hope this nice Tennessee girl living in LA finds a boy friend. I think it is going to have to happen at the dentist office because she might be there more often after eating a years worth of cake.

No Excuses


True to “Mayhem” form I got way off track last month in my eating, working out and general good health.  I won’t blame all the celebrations, school year end stuff and general over stress of May, but boy am I glad last month is over.  From a half century of weight fluctuations I know better than most that if I am not being vigilant I am going the wrong direction.


During May I made my reacquaintance with all things white, as in sugar and flour.   Too many birthday, anniversary, goodbye cakes – big mistake.  I already know that I need to eat an anti-white diet.  White is my enemy.  But it was not just white that got me off track.  Trail mix lead me down the snacking trail too, so nuts and raisins are troublemakers I need to avoid.


No excuses.  I know better.  I’m back to weaning, detoxing, and divestment of the evil things that weaken my resolve.  It will take three days of hardship to get over the sugar cravings.  There is no way around it; I just have to force myself to stick to the plan because I know it works.  Conversely and more importantly I know that I can’t just have a little sugar.  It is a devil to me.  A little sugar or a small bit of flour, like a tiny biscuit, just open the floodgates to eating more and I am powerless to it.


So the coconut cake and the almond cookies I had in May need to be a mere memory of a bygone-era.  One month a year off the wagon is about all I can allow.  Falling off is easy, but crawling back on that moving wagon is difficult.  And recognizing how fast the wagon is going is really hard when you are blinded by a cupcake.


For the record I gained two and a half pounds.  Does not sound bad unless you multiply it by 12 and get thirty pounds.  I am making the commitment here to lose the two and a half and two and a half more by July.  This public humiliation is the only way I can do it.  If you see me in person keep an eye on me.  Since I don’t have any fundraising diet I need all the outside pressure I can get.

Stupid or Brilliant?


I opened an e-mail today from the Food Network and the title of the page was “Crowd Pleasing Cakes.”  Duh! I thought.  Have you ever heard of a crowd hating cake?  It’s a cake; the fact that it is pleasing is not news.  Now Crowd Pleasing Crudités, that’s groundbreaking.  That web-editor was just plain lazy to come up with that cake headline, but then again it did get me thinking about cake with just the power of suggestion.


Sometimes asking a dumb question can get people to go where you want to lead them without them even knowing that is what you are doing.  If that last sentence does not make any sense to you follow this true story.


The summer between my sophomore and junior year in college I stayed in Carlisle, PA and had numerous jobs to try and make ends meet.  It was a recession and unskilled liberal arts labor was cheep and abundant.  One of my favorite short-lived employers was the Electrolux vacuum company, maker of fine, but very expensive cleaning machines.  I was a door-to-door vacuum sales person peddling $500 machines in an area where people’s mortgages might only be $300, yet I still sold some vacuums.


How did I do that, you might ask?  I asked a stupid question.  See, once I got inside someone’s house I was almost assured of selling him or her a vacuum.  The top of the line Electrolux was a canister machine that had a wand so you could not just suck the dirt off the floors, but the furniture, draperies and most importantly, mattresses were all possible cleaning areas.  Have you ever vacuumed your mattress?  Certainly not, if you had an upright vacuum.


Here is how the pitch went:  I showed the sucker; I mean prospect, a clean empty cloth vacuum bag for demonstration purposes.  I vacuum about one square yard in their living room and then take the bag out and dump all the stuff it sucked up back on the floor.  It is amazing what a new vacuum can find.  I never failed to have a noticeably gross amount of dust, dirt and hair, no matter how clean the house looked to start.


Horrified, the homeowner, usually a woman, would make some excuse about the age of her current machine.  Gotcha.  It was never that she had not cleaned in weeks, but to save face it must be an equipment problem.  Then I would ask the really dumb question that guaranteed me the sale, “Has anyone in your house had a cold this year?”  At least one person in every house in America has had a cold in the last year.


That was when I would ask to see their mattress, specifically the husband’s side of the bed.  I would peel back the sheets and repeat the cloth bag routine but on the mattress.  The stuff you get out of a mattress makes the floor look like a clean plate that just came out of the dishwasher.  This is when I would infer that not sucking the dead skin out of your mattress is somehow connected to colds.  SOLD!

The point of this story is don’t be lead down a path you did not intend to travel because someone pointed out something obvious or asked a stupid question.  I had to fight hard not to be drawn to eat some cake just because it was crowd pleasing, but then again I have to work hard not to want cake just because it exists on earth.

Pecan, Fennel and Squash Cake


This is not a diet recipe, but I figure you need a little treat and I still have too much squash.  I have made a ton of zucchini breads that are filling my freezer and being given away to everyone with a new baby or relative visiting.  I can’t remember where I got this idea for a cake but I know I read a recipe somewhere that inspired this one.  What is the difference between a zucchini bread and squash cake.  I am not a baker by trade, but breads are usually made with oil and cakes with butter.


I baked this one as a loaf and had too much batter so I baked this little ramekin cake.  I had one bite to make sure it was good.  I gave the rest to Russ who asked me if it had a lot of sour cream in it because it was so moist.  That was the squash.  It really does make a good cake.


6 cups of grated squash- I used zucchini and yellow squash

1 cup of pecans – toasted and chopped

2 t. fennel seeds

1 ¼ cups of butter

1 ½ cups of sugar

5 eggs

2 cups of flour

2 t. vanilla

½ t. salt

2 t. baking powder



Preheat the oven to 350º.

Grate the squash in the cuisineart and put in a colander and let drain for a half an hour.  Squish all the water you can out of it.


In a mixer put the butter and the sugar and beat together on med, high until if gets fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt and just mix it enough to incorporate it.


Take the bowl out of the mixer and add the squash, pecans and fennel and just fold it all together.


Spray Pam in a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Pour the batter in the pan and bake for about 1 hour.