I got new glasses. So I’m a hipster. So shoot me. But first, let’s have a chat about personality. Then you can see how you feel.
A friend of mine told me yesterday that he was surprised by the amount of sadness I express here in my writing, as opposed to how joyful he finds me in life. I thought two things, mainly.
1) Sadness is important to me. It animates a great deal of my creative work. I often observe sadness as the stigmatized stepchild of emotions: portrayed as being for the weak, the sensitive, the mentally ill, even. Thanks world. And yet, whenever we turn this stigma on others, we turn it ever more fiercely upon ourselves. This is not a good system.
Despite this, for my part, I have also discovered that sadness can be a form of wisdom. My own wistfulness reminds me that life is impermanent, that loss is inevitable, and that we are all living within this truth. The ache of being human pushes me to continue striving towards greater kindness and understanding, because this is a hard truth and these are the best tools I have found to soften the hardship therein. Thus the frequent appearance of said sadness in these pages, if we can stretch that ancient lexicon to this new media.
2) My own perception of myself is enormously limited. I think of myself as winsome, moody, occasionally charismatic, witty in the right company, and (more than) a little bizarre. Yesterday I got called “effervescent.” Wait, what, me?
I suppose this is not new news, but I’m tripping out over here, guys. Personality, man, it’s just…kind of made up. But it also works. I bought these glasses because I like feeling like a retro nerd. I’ve been wanting to write more, and these glasses make me feel like the awkward but charming protagonist of an eighties movie. You know, the girl with the crew neck sweatshirt and full-waisted skirt who spends way too much time in the library. I want to be that girl, except that instead of discovering that Jake Ryan loves me too I want to discover my literary voice.
And the glasses actually help. But at the same time, though I have my own ideas about who I am, and what my glasses add to that, it’s totally based on my own personal narrative, as is all of my personality. My personality, according to me, is how I think of myself. I know that sounds annoyingly cyclical, but think about it. Every person I interact with has their own experience and opinion of me (do you really think I’m a hipster, still? …Oh well.). Each opinion is not more or less valid than my own; I just encounter it less frequently.
In a way, my experience of myself is like that of any stranger’s on the street: an opinion formed based on a given number of interactions and a preexisting history. Sure, it’s my history, but that’s a technicality. I think this is kind of the greatest thing. Me suddenly seems so fluid. And exciting. I can rediscover myself in new ways with every person with whom I interact. Suddenly this me I’ve been lugging around all these years feels dynamic.
How bout that?
Do I sound sad today, huh? I’m all zippy and giddy! Let’s make cake. That’s still my response to pretty much everything. Some things don’t change. But hey, you never know.
This cake teeters between proper cake and decadent muffin territory. It’s more elegant than your average muffin, so I’m calling it cake, despite its frosting-less nature. You can decide for yourself. All you really need to know is that it is spongey and moist and perfumed with honey and rosemary. This is a tactile cake: in your hands as you peel back the paper wrapper; in your mouth as you sink teeth into chewy goodness; against your tongue as you savor herbal, tangy sweetness. Also, it’s absurdly easy to make. Being an oil and buttermilk cake, it requires no softening or creaming of butter. Just measuring and mixing. You can make it even if you don’t have buttermilk, by mixing half a cup of regular milk with half a teaspoon of your favorite vinegar. Caaaake! Do it.
Honey Rosemary Cakeletes
Makes 1 dozen regular cupcakes or 3 dozen minis (or a half portion of each if you, like me, have a whim for cakelet size diversity)
3/4 cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) light rye flour
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup (118 milliliters) buttermilk
3/4 cup (175 milliliters) neutral-flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) apple-cider vinegar (note: this is IN ADDITION to the vinegar you will add if you are using regular milk; everyone uses this portion of vinegar)
1/2 cup (170 grams) strong-flavored honey, such as wildflower or mesquite
1 teaspoon (3 grams) finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
Preheat oven to 350˚ F/180˚ C. Line your desired cupcake tins with paper cups and spray them with
In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the remaining wet ingredients, and whisk until well-mixed. Dump in the dry ingredients and rosemary, and mix just until combined.
Portion into cupcake tins. Bake 22-25 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes or 12-15 minutes for minis. Cakeletes will be golden brown around the edges, and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out with only a few moist crumbs.