Liminal Gingerbread

April 30, 2022


Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

You let the coconut oil cool in the lidless pot - she won’t admit it for another half hour but your wife packed the lid earlier this week. She also bought a 2 gallon tub of coconut oil just before she left town for her new job, and now there’s still a gallon of it left. No matter: oil and sugar is what makes cake delicious, and you still have sugar. Mixing bowls, however, are revealed as an unnecessary frivolity - an affectation of the bourgeoisie.

So you let the coconut oil cool in the lidless pot and then slowly add the vanilla, molasses, salt, white sugar… Best to wait for the baking soda and egg though.

Conveniently the last of your white whole wheat flour is in the fridge, so it should help cool things down. Give no concern for such niceties as “mix the dry ingredients and then combine with the wet” – those were rules for a time when your walls were decorated with anything other than bare nails and hanging brackets.

Add a similar amount of white flour and ask yourself if you’ll wind up buying more flour before this move is through. Savor the rich fantasies of all the baking you’ll never do in this apartment.

You notice that single shot of malibu island melon rum is still next to the flour in your pantry. The freeing thing about this transitionary period is that everything is fair game - no more saving for later. Later has arrived. Add the rum and a few dashes of agnostura bitters.

Grate some fresh nutmeg - it takes a minute to find but you still have a serviceable grater. Add cinnamon since you still have plenty.

Mix it all up, noticing how hard it is to incorporate those streaks of molasses that have been half-absorbed by the flour. The dough isn’t quite holding together, which is perfect since you don’t have an egg yet. Maybe just a splash of cold water.

Now the baking soda, powder, and your last egg. You’ve been saving it for cookies all week.

As you combine the dough it smells fruity and delicious, almost gingery – Ginger! You still have dried and fresh ginger so pull the grater out of the sink and get to it.

Now that you understand you’re making a gingerbread, you wonder whether it’s too much to add chocolate chips. She bought those “mini” sized ones the other day, and you’re pretty sure you’ve almost never regretted adding chocolate. Watch a delicate pour of mini chocolate chips get incorporated into the dough like you’ve incorporated so many little things about this apartment and location into your life.

You only have one baking tray and it’s really kind of a sheet-metal lasagna pan. Do people bake cakes in these? Anyway line it with parchment paper and don’t even worry about smoothing the batter to the edges.

After 20 minutes in the oven it doesn’t actually look done, but a toothpick comes out clean twice so it must be perfect.


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Hi mom!