When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: A 3-ingredient cake -- halfway in between delicate and rustic -- you'll want to work into your regular rotation.
30 seconds per side. Times 30. That’s 30 whole minutes I am glued to the stove.
30 minutes during which I can’t scrape the scum out from between the tiles next to the sink. I can’t sweep up the dog hair tumbleweeds that keep sailing across the kitchen floor a whole month after we put him down. I can’t peel and dice an entire onion. I can’t hand-wash my favorite lingerie that has been sitting on my closet floor all summer. I can’t fix my son’s broken sword. I can’t figure out the monstrous remote control situation in order to Tivo the Teen Choice Awards for my daughter. I can’t sit down.
I can, however, in between each flip, sip my coffee, reject a song on Pandora, sink my weight back into the heels of my new black patent leather Birkenstock sandals that embarrass my daughter, inhale deeply and extravagantly, exhale all the air out, and then a little more and a little more.
I can do a squat at the wall.
I can do a handstand.
I can read a very short poem.
I can try to say crêpe cake crêpe cake crêpe cake ten times fast.
And because it is such a loose recipe, I can let my 7-year-old son pull up a stool and make a few crêpes. One peppered with holes. One in the shape of a snowman. One that drips over the edges of the pan and down into the flame.
Then he and I can sit down at the kitchen table and assemble the cake in a leisurely, improvisational manner: One crêpe down on the cake stand, and then, determined by whim, we can pipe Nutella in concentric circles or zig-zaggy lines or big blobs.
We’re halfway done!
He delicately unfolds crêpe number fifteen.
Eight crêpes left, Mom!
He drops one down from way up high. He shakes another out like a comforter.
He pats the cake and says, Just a few more layers and we can eat you. And I am calm and ready for anything, including my son’s very urgent question.
Mooooommmmmmm. Are you a cupcake or a beefcake?
I lick some Nutella off of each finger.
I don’t have the faintest idea. You tell me.
You’re halfway in between. Delicate like a cupcake and super-duper-kick-butt-superhero-strong like a beefcake.
I'll cry later. We have a cake to finish.
So. Dash. What you’re saying is: I’m kind of like a Nutella crêpe cake.
Photos by Phyllis Grant