cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I think I’ll start writing as if I never left. The reality is that I have been gone for this blog for three years.  Well, a few spotty appearances over the past three don’t count, so let’s just say that since moving to Brazil I quit. That’s right, I quit my blog. Why did I have it anyway? Not even sure anymore. I think that’s why I quit it.

Last week I returned from a one month stay at my parents’ in Seattle. While there, a few (as in more than one) people inquired as to what happened to the Salty Cod. My response – oh, that. It died. Died? Well why did you kill it? I’m not sure. I think I lost inspiration. Confidence with photography, and really, was my life so damned interesting that people actually wanted to read about it? Exactly three years ago the stigma of foodie blogs started to get to me. There were just too many, and everyone was doing the same thing. So I sneaked out the back door. I got tired of seeing that same bloody wooden spoon tied with twine to a mason jar full of pudding. Who ties spoons to their puddings before eating it? So you see, I felt like this foodie blog thing (which was literally nothing in 2006/2007) had turned into like a diaper party of bored housewives.  Not that there’s anything wrong with bored housewife diaper parties, but as a 26 year old expat constantly trying to break into some “entrepreneurial” gig, my biggest fear lurking in the shadow is me becoming a bored diaper partying housewife. So I distanced myself from it.

My second reason for leaving, I think, is that I just got sick of negative comments left on my blog. I never understood why anyone would bother reading my crap if they hated it so much. I didn’t experience much negativity while living and writing in Europe, but once I started writing in Brazil, I started to get punched in the face by Brazilians. I couldn’t mention how I missed picking blackberries in Washington without some anonymous troll scolding me for being spoiled and ungrateful for living in a country with such horticultural abundance and still wishing I had my dumb American berries. Well the problem is that I happen to like my dumb American berries. Yeah, yeah, yeah; ignore. Easier said than done.

My third reason is that I think I started to get bored with the city I live in. When I lived in Paris there was always something to write about. Living in the countryside city where I am now isn’t exactly chock full of things to do. So after a while my stories started to run out.  Who wants to read about food only?

So why am I deciding to come back? Because I’ve gotten over most of the things that pushed me away. Food blog? I’m not going to call this a food blog, I think it can just be called blog. I will still talk about food (mostly my food). But don’t call me a food blogger.  Does that make any sense? No.  And to the Sensitive trolls? Well, I think I’ve lived here long enough that I’ve realized they are omnipresent, both online and out there…in the street…in the bar, lurking. So luckily on the eve of my 3rd year anniversary in Brazil, I don’t really give a damn if someone gets offended by something I have to say about my own perception of Brazil. And lastly, we’re leaving our little city after three years and moving into Sao Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world. Life in the concrete jungle, I assume, will produce a few more stories than here in my sleepy suburb.

We’ll see how this goes. What I miss the most is sharing my life with people who actually care—the friends, family and strangers who actually enjoy reading (and sometimes talking) to me. So let’s give it another try.

As you can see by the not so creative photos, I recently made a cake. Yesterday to be exact. The cake is for my best friends’ new baby who will be born in a few days. A zero years old birthday cake. She’ll love it. 

The real reason to talk about this cake is the frosting. You see, I have been wanting a Kitchenaid mixer since I started cooking/baking (secretly in my dorm room) in 2005. The problem is that I could never really afford one. After moving to Brazil, I could afford, but the logistics of getting one here were ugly. So For the past seven years I have been griping and grumbling over every god damn facebook post from friends showing off their new mixers, with titles such as “I will make cookies first!” god damn it…cookies in a mixer? I deserve that not you!!!  I am a very jealous person apparently. Long story short, I finally sucked it up and sacrificed 25 pounds of luggage space for the beast and brought one home with me. The years of whipping meringues, frostings and whipped cream by hand are over. Though I am sure I have a much stronger tennis arm than all of you because of it. The first thing I wanted to make was Swiss meringue buttercream. I have been wanting to do it for a while…….but the descriptions of “mix at medium speed for 15-20 minutes” turned me off…that’s like 40 minutes in arm whipping time…yeah no.  

So I made it. Very simple. And can I just add—it tastes at least ten times better than powdered sugar buttercream, who the hell ever invented powdered sugar buttercream and why is it still in existence? Good grief. It has an amazingly smooth flavor and the texture is much better for stacking layers and covering cakes. Oh man I’ve been missing out.  I am fairly certain that at this point I will never make chalk buttercream again.

Want a recipe? Google it. There are a billion out there. One tip though I would add—after adding the butter to the glossy meringue, make sure to switch to the paddle attachment on the mixer.