“It is the first mild day of March:
Each minute sweeter than before…
There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
And grass in the green field…
We from to-day, my Friend, will date
The opening of the year.
Love, now an universal birth,
From heart to heart is stealing,
From earth to man, from man to earth:
—It is the hour of feeling.’
~William Wordsworth (1770–1850), “To My Sister”
art credit: ‘sing me a song,’ by caitlin welz-stein
Theories abound as to the origins of Russian cake. The popular legend goes that it was created by a New Orleans baker who ran out of ingredients to bake a proper cake for the Russian Grand Duke Alexis when the latter visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 1872. But the late food historian Michael Mizell-Nelson put this theory to rest, writing that there was no documentation to confirm this story. Mizell-Nelson offered instead that Russian cake may have been an offshoot of the raspberry trifle, or even the Austrian/German punschtorte. The latter features a “punch” of cake and biscuit scraps mixed with rum, cocoa, and jam that gets sandwiched between layers of sponge cake. Another inspiration for the Louisiana Russian Cake may have been the Charlotte à la Russe, a popular dessert in the 18th and 19th centuries, in which a cake mold was lined with stale bread or cake then filled with cream or trifle and set with a layer of gelatin.
Today’s Russian cake is rich and moist, and bakers advise moderation in its enjoyment. It is soaked in rum, padded with jam, and covered in a dense layer of icing topped with sprinkles, making for quite the sugar bomb. Sometimes anise extract is used to enhance flavor. While this is decadent, it pales in comparison to some versions: A recipe for a giant Russian cake, found in the archives of The Times-Picayune from the 1980s, and submitted by a reader from Lafayette, called for 15 pounds of cake leftovers and serious carpentry skills. A mold made of a customized bottomless wooden frame that was 14 inches long, 10 inches wide, and seven inches deep would first need to be made. The cake scraps, along with two glassfuls of jelly, four and a half cups of sugar, a bit of rum, and two boxes of white cake mix, yielded a 21-pound Russian cake. Sometimes (only sometimes), there really can be too much of a sweet thing.
“a party without cake is just a meeting.” ~Julia Child
so here it is, the last day of march
and i just found out that march is national sleep month
had i known i would have fully celebrated
each and every day
like a long fiesta with long siestas
and i will do my best to make up for it today
who am i not to honor a holiday?
“there is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
image credit: animalandnature.com
here’s to the ones who
march, walk, talk, stand up, and take action
on behalf of what they believe in
today and every day
even when it’s inconvenient .
“a cause may be inconvenient, but it’s magnificent.
it’s like champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it.”
image credit: google images
storming in like a buffalo
and out like a wing?
“february makes a bridge and march breaks it. “
– Witts Recreations, Selected from the Finest Fancies of Moderne Muses, with a Thousand Outlandish Proverbs (edited by George Herbert, 1593–1633)
image credit: tom murphy, Yellowstone Park Buffalo, “Frozen Snow”