Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Utensil Void: Individual Cake Chisel Knives

Photo: The offending cake bricks only hours before being used to shore up the foundation of the house in Florida.

Southern Cakes. A book by Nancie McDermott. A highly questionable and occasionally indefensible supposed reference text on many cakes one will recognize and several I have never heard of (but, I have never had dessert in the Ozarks). Also, a moderately effective source of kindling material. And, a means of stumping the Hostess with regard to acquiring a utensil with which one can consume the Mississippi Mud Cake small enough to be placed by each plate and where said mini-chisel or hand saw is properly located around the plate.

This past Sunday night, an evening which saw a lovely dinner for four, began with gorgeres, moved on to Barefoot Contessa's brisket (absurdly delicious), potato souffle, braised cabbage, and ended, confusingly, with this Mississippi Mud Pie. We tried this dessert about one hour out of the oven when I sliced it and it was a fine layered chocolate, marshmallow, and fudgy bar cake : I wouldn't get rich if I slapped a pretentious label on it and hocked it at Neiman's at Christmas, but it wouldn't bankrupt the bake sale that is my life either. Fast forward a few hours while it awaited its fate on the tiered dessert tray and find it hardened into a brick with chocolate marshmallow topping.

Of course, I did not know this change occurred until I put the tines of the Grand Baroque into the corner and had to restrain myself from kicking off my kitten heels, climbing up into my chair with the carving knife and fork, and hacking away at my little square with all the force and intent of Vlad the Impaler. Lordy! I exclaimed to myself. I should get the guests another utensil. But, what? WHAT? This criminal of a dessert laughed in the face of steak knives (as if I could hear myself liltingly explaining the presence of the second knife at the setting, "That's the dessert carving knife! Fun, don't you think?!")! After dinner, I scurried off to the computer to access my bookmarked Grand Baroque tab at Replacements.com and answer the question regards what happens when dessert needs to be carved by each guest.


Nothing. Nothing to assist me with this crazy cake. You are on your own with this one, Pals. You could get a carving set for each place setting which can alternately be used for the dessert moose carving on other evenings. Or, get small handsaws and saw horses for each guest, make a festive table of unfinished cedar planks, and have large buckets of nails as centerpieces. Conversely, pitch the book into the fire because the recipe for Huguenot Torte is also an insult to all we came to know of the dessert by the same name in Charleston, the city of its birth, and instead serve Chocolate Mousse with a spoon.

1 comment:

The Dashing Host said...

The answer regarding what utensil to use seems obvious: Serve it in bite sized portions. Perhaps stacked creatively, like Legos. Watch in good natured humor as your guests navigate the desert placed like so much brittle before them, wondering how to get it from the plate to mouth. Remember a finger bowl does not solely exist for fish! Is not the spine of entertaining innovation?

Sorry for being MIA, love. Busy, busy, busy, here. I sense you have come to join me south of the Mason Dixon and promise to support you as you ride out the Winter in North Florida.