First, one day left to vote on this summer's Knocked Down Hunk Contest. Quick: send me your man's (or your self's) pics for our next contest, which will happen as soon as I've amassed sufficient mouthwatering male images. As for the current race, looks like our man Double-D is still in the lead. Which isn't surprising, because let's face it: there's something automatically sexy about soldiers, cops, fire fighters, anyone who engages in activities that involve physical activity and putting one's own life in danger. Pro-sports players also count as combatant hunks of man, as evidenced by Tuesday's bench-clearing, mouthwatering brawl between Boston's Kevin Youkilis and Detroit's scrawny ball-beaning pitcher Porcello (probably just grumpy that he has to live in Detroit). I've watched a crappy homemade replay of that I'm not sure how many times, marveling at this festival of chaotic manly hotness.
ANYWAY, just because I put a link there doesn't mean you should click on it. Stay here! I've got more important things to discuss.
As the current, self-proclaimed reigning Thinker-Upper-of-Snooty-Snobby-Reasons-Why-I'm-Better-Off-Without-Poopy-Barfy-Ki I still have moments (plenty of them, actually) when I wistfully think: DAMN. Having a child of my own, poop and barf and all, would be / could be / might be actually enjoyable. Moments of looking back at the time when, during the acid-trippy months after Zach's dirth, I frantically gathered packets on international adoption and foster care, nail-chompingly desperate to be a mother. Didn't care how it happened, or how much cash it took, or how out-there my kid-acquisition measures might seem to others (including my own husband).
I wanted offspring, and I wanted it now.
Thank god, though: that feeling of maternal desperation passed for the most part. Keep in mind, folks, I've got nearly two years of Dead-Baby Mommahood under my belt to smooth out (some of) those rough edges of insanity.
Even still, I've got longings sometimes, reasons for multiplying that sometimes express themselves in the form of little conversations inside my head. And one of those reasons, among others, is: having a kid means getting to do, and get excited about, those things I used to do, and get excited about as a kid. Things like Christmas, for example. Getting a tree. Having sing-alongs. Going to the pumpkin patch. Jumping into a pile of red and orange leaves. Watching Saturday morning cartoons. Getting dressed up in a pink frilly dress and going to fancy Easter brunch with my grandparents.
Ann and Lis have kids, and they do fun stuff with them. And ya know what? Much of it is the kind of stuff that, if you were to attempt it with a handful of your adult thirty- or forty-something buddies, you'd eventually stop and look at each other and go, "Why the hell are we doing this? Let's go hit the tavern. " On the other hand, imagine if you have child with you, a giddily enthusiastic child enjoying these things! Then you might change your stick-in-the-mud, grown-up-old-scroogy attitude, now wouldn't you. I certainly would. At least I think I would.
Anyway, lately I've had several conversations with friends about "foods that remind me of childhood." That is: foods that taste EXACTLY the way they did when I was seven or eight years old, and that I sometimes ate, and that I loved. The main ones I can think of are:
1) grape Kool-Aid 2) McDonald's cheeseburgers (just the simple basic ones without any lettuce and tomato) 3) Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake
We never, ever had these things in the house, of course. They were all reserved for special occasions like birthdays and such.
In the course of remembering these delicious food-items, I got fixated on the Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake. Now, the ones I ate as a child never were this fancy, but here's a contemporary example of one:
See that top one? Layer of chocolate cake. Layer of ice cream. Layer of frosting.
I decided to do something which, if I were a child, I would simply go ga-ga over: attempt to make a home-made Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. Now look. I know that "mom's homemade replicas of chain-restaurant food items" are NEVER as good as the chain-restaurant food-items. Sorry, but mom's pan-fried cheese burger simply isn't a McDonald's one, not even if the ingredients are technically the same. Still, I had this sudden inexplicible longing to do something fun and nostalgic to make in the kitchen, something which I would have gotten excited about if my own mother had tried it. And if I HAD a child, that child would certainly stand on a chair beside me and "help."
It went like this:
First, I started with boxed vanilla cake. Sorry, but this DB-Momma is way too lazy to make the real thing from scratch. I used organic, for what it's worth, and not chocolate, because it seemed like that might be chocolate overkill. Kevin disagrees, but whatev. This was MY ridiculous, messy endeavor, not his!
Tebow took great interest in the baked, rectangular vanilla cake that emerged from the oven after 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch him stare in canine wonderment, unsure of what that steaming rectangle is exactly, but praying to the God of Dogs that a tender morsel will fall directly onto his snout!
After I'd allowed it to cool, it was time to flip the fucker over onto a piece of tin foil. But the fucker wouldn't flip, even though I'd put about...oh...three inches of canola oil on the bottom of the pan. Viktoria, baker betty, if you're reading this...help! I had to go to drastic measures to get the thing out of its firmly ensconced position inside the pan.
Worked like a charm. Nobody would ever know my amature-chef secret cake-transferring method!
NOW, drumroll please, came the BESTEST, FUNNEST, AWESOMEST, KICK-ASSEST, AMAZINGEST, BITCHIN'EST part of the whole thing. Check this out:
You got that right, honey child! Slicing directly through a box of ice cream. Seriously, I get to do this in my adult life? This looks like something we only got to do in kindergarden. Boy oh boy, you should have seen the perma-grin on my face as I sawed through this rectangular-version-of-a-cube (whatever the word for that is) of Cookies-n-Cream ice cream.
Tebow diligently patrolled for falling ice-cream molecules, of course.
TAH-DAH! Tell me how freakin' cool that is! Go on, tell me!
The ice cream was gingerly transferred to the cake-brick level.
Of course, no self-respecting Baskin Robbins ice cream cake would have ledges of cake jutting out from the sides. So I had to do some trimming.
Now, there are probably saint-like people out there who take trimmed cake-slivers and simply throw them into the trash. But not me. No, no, no - not when I paid...what...$3.50 for that box of cake mix! See that great big hunk-o-trimmed-cake, the one closest to the camera? Yeah, that one. I ate that one with a glass of milk, and chased it with salt-n-vinager potato chips. That's what I love about being an adult: you can do that shit, EVEN RIGHT BEFORE DINNERTIME, and nobody's going to chastise you for it.
So, the trimmed cake went into the freezer to... I don't know...just chill for a while. Next, I had to Google what exactly IS the "frosting" that Baskin Robbins uses on its cakes, so that I could precisely duplicate it. Turns out, much to my disbelief (and slight disappointment) that it's nothing but vanilla ice cream! Just plain old vanilla ice cream, which supposedly first gets softened to "frosting consistency." I was skeptical that a cake could be frosted with half-melted ice cream, but had to set my doubts aside if I ever hoped to finish this project.
So I let some vanilla sit on the counter for about a half-hour, and then got to work frantically trying to whip it up into something frosting-like. This was not a leisurely, pause-in-the-middle-to-sip-tea kind of affair. Especially not since the "recipe" online fwarned repeatedly in italics: "WORK FAST SO THAT EVERYTHING DOESN'T MELT INTO A GIGANTIC PUDDLE OF MELTED ICE-CREAMY GOO!"
So I stirred, stirred, stirred. Glad I wore deodorant that day; this was a bit of an arm-workout.
Lo and behold, it DID turn into something frosting-like! I was thrilled. Out came my trimmed icecream cake-rectangle, and on went my vanilla-icecream "frosting."
Then came the final, magical embellishment. No skimping here: this is the first part of the cake that will be viewed by others, and I wasn't about to settle for less than an absolutely fantastic impression! I went with Double Stuff Oreos - no Paul Newman fruit-juice sweetened fake Oreos or single-stuff. It was double or nothin'.
Unexpectedly difficult to chop into rough pieces, these things were. The "stuff" in the middle kept squishing out the sides. But in the end, with perseverance and a positive attitude, I managed. Check out this Oreo-Cookie-scape:
Onto the cake they went. Fast, fast, before everything turned to liquid!
Then boom: the 99%-finalized product. I was proud of my achievement.
Now, this goes into the freezer to get good and frozen and Baskin-Robbins-y, after which it will eventually get adorned with blue swirls from a tube of frosting, and brought to a party for a certain someone.