HOMELY MATTERS


Butter rum cake with strawberries
BUTTER RUM CAKE AND KOSHER PIG
My friend John has a strange predilection for the likeness of pigs. So much so that his collection of pig-like objects has grown larger than his artistic sensitivity can abide. Consequently, he has issued a moratorium on gifts of a swinish nature, which leaves me in a quandary. What am I to do with the tea towels I embroidered with a sweetly retro piggie munching on a candy cane and the porcine Fred Astaire doing the soft shoe routine? Who uses tea towels anyway? They are a nostalgic remnant of a time when women whiled away long winters at hearth. No one whiles rime away anymore. In Little Macondo, most folks I know rush about doing the things they used to do when they were part of an affluent society. Repose is for those have no jobs, own no homes, have no social position to maintain. Being middle and upper middle class is full time chore hereabouts. It does not exclude the sorrows common to the proletariat, but it obscures lesser worries such as the water bill, the cost of gas, ailing lawn mowers. Middle class people do not worry. They delegate. They do not do manual labour. They outsource. For all that, they have little free time and if they want a little chunk of nostalgia, such as tea towels, they head to Anthropologie.
I know the ways of the middle class from personal experience. For the past few years I have been learning a simpler lifestyle that marginalises me more than being an immigrant ever did. Living simply has not yet caught on in Little Macondo as the cool thing to do. I am patient. I embroider tea towels using saccharine patterns from yesteryear because they straddle the line that separates the hideous from the homely cute. I also bake, on occasion though I understand that what is truly middle class is to get one’s baked goods from a little Jamaican baker no one else has heard about. In a pinch, there is Trader’s Joe. Me, I bake my own cakes. The one above is a plain yellow cake drizzled with a glaze made from melted butter, rum and confectioner’s sugar. Add strawberries Romanoff and it’s pig heaven. Neither tea towels nor cakes make me into a superior person, but they are certainly less labour intensive than clinging to the social ladder.
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