Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Illustrated & Unpremeditated

Today, Marz and I made pineapple upside-down cake with my mother's handwritten recipe.

[ * * * *RECIPE AT END OF POST . . . ]

Then we talked about it.

MARZ: [This cake is] like dissonance.
Is it?
Is it?

FREX: Yes! Because it shoves into close contact elements which we normally keep distinct.

MARZ: Uh, yeah... with the fruit and the cake touching. That could be disturbing. It could make you feel like you're upside down. Even the name of the cake... you might have to sit down after hearing it.

FREX: Yeah, and the tart acid next to the fat sweet. It's like... what do you call it? When the chord isn't a comfortable major cord, like C-major?

MARZ: I don't know what that's called. You mean minor chords? Or, dissonance? Dissonance is major and minor chords touching?
Let's hope no one who knows music theory reads this.

FREX: Well, they could help us.

MARZ: Yeah, but it's not about the theory. It's just about the metaphor. Like how you can talk about math if you don't know it.

FREX: OK, but, you know what? I don't think dissonance is the best metaphor for this cake, because in fact, the cake is much more comforting, very much LIKE a C-major chord.

MARZ: When everyone was warming up for marching band, the section leader would say, "OK, everybody, C-major chord," to see if we were in tune to prevent any future dissonance.

FREX: This cake is more like the way dissonance resolves in music.

MARZ: It felt really dissonant to plop the pineapples in the skillet with the sugar and butter.

FREX: It's really satisfying to have something that sets your nerves on edge...

MARZ:... as long as it resolves.

FREX: It makes you feel all worried and then, sigh... everything's all right with the world.
Even if that's an illusion, it's an incredibly comforting one.

MARZ: All the waves are in synch. Which is right and makes sense.

FREX: Even though it's not how things really are.
Well, sometimes they are.
As in this cake.

MARZ: The people who are going to eat this cake won't experience it as dissonant because they weren't involved in the process of creation.
Like making the burrito at Taco Bell--
--if you're making it you know that everything barely comes together. It's very messy, very unsatisfying, actually, to make one of those burritos, but it's all folded up so the people on the receiving end aren't aware of that.

FREX: Maybe that's what art does for us. What artists do for us. They wade into the dissonance and wrestle it to the floor. Speaking of mixed metaphors...
Wait, maybe that works---it's like wading into a swamp and wrestling an alligator.
Which is a little dramatic for the act of baking.
Tho the way our kitchen looked at the end, maybe not.

MARZ: You did throw an egg, Frexipan.

MARZ: Let's fold this post up like a dissonant burrito. Can we charge people money too? Ninety-eight cents?

FREX: Yeah. Everyone: please send 98 cents and we will send you a piece of nondissonant cake. If there's any left. Which there won't be.

MARZ: So, in parentheses, that's (no).

To resolve this satisfactorily, here's the recipe for

Melt in cast-iron skillet
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 c(1 stick) or 1/4 c butter

Drain can of pineapple. Set pineapple on top of the melted butter and sugar.

Mix in small bowl:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cream 1/2 cup butter with 1 c. sugar
add 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add flour mix, alternating with 1 cup milk, to creamed mixture.

Beat 2 egg whites stiff and add to batter at end.

Bake 350 degrees, 40 minutes or so

(from my mother, Lytton V. Davis)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay--as usual, I haven't read every single word here and digested the post--I'm responding to initial gestalt:
first--so moving to see Lytton's hand-writing and know that what you two magicked was inspired by her hands, too

then--the amazing Marz/Frex images and dialogue

got me wondering and courageous enough to venture a mixed metaphor response--somehow this work seems elemental and planetary and like the resonances in the universe and I was thinkin' maybe pineapple upside down cake is more like an augmented chord with the augmentation way out there like a 9th or 11th. (I hope to hell, but really don't care if my musician spouse ever reads what I say hear. He already knows I'm an instinctual and theoretically ignorant or obstinate/defiant musician!)

nextly--I selfishly propose that you two co-habit for at least another year or so, so more posts such as this can happen with whatever serendipity if they require proximity. I will try to make this recipe sometime soon with a flour I can eat.

Thank you both so much for divine sparks!