Friday, November 18, 2005

God bless Duncan Hines

We decided to take the day easy--no road trips. We spent the day on the beach in front of the Camino. While Robert and Allison played in the water I wandered to the tide pools. Nothing much to see there but some tiny black snails. More interesting are the pelicans that dive-bomb for fish. They are short on grace, but seem to get good results.

Food continues to be a problem. I am craving pasta and french bread and Lamar's donuts. Robert did make a great pot of beans with pork, but Allison and I can't take another tortilla for awhile. We want something we recognize. On our shopping day Allison had tossed a box of chocolate cake mix into to cart. Tonight that sounded pretty good. However, we could not figure how to light our gas oven. Finally, Robert consulted the faded manual and discovered someones handwriting and an arrow pointing to a diagram: "This part is missing." So we added the oven to our list of domestic deprivations.

But I wouldn't be stopped. I had an idea to bake the cake on the stove. My reasoning for possibility based on memories of my southern grandmother making pineapple upside-down cake in her black cast-iron skillet. So I oiled up the skillet, poured in the batter and gave it a try. Robert assisted with the idea to stack two other burner grates atop the first to distance the flame. And guess what? Perfect chocolate cake! Allison squealed with delight and we dug in praising Duncan Hines and cheering for America where people know what tastes good.

Finally I should note that Allison lost her first tooth yesterday. When she awoke she found the tooth fairy left 50 pesos under her pillow. I murmured later to the tooth fairy, "when I was a kid it was a quarter."

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