Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Theme-Cooking, Tennessee style!

Back in December, I made a disaster, um, I mean cake.
No, I made a disaster.
Going over to friends' house for dinner, I wanted to make a cake.
But I made a disaster.
I intended to make a red velvet layer cake with cheesecake as the middle layer.
I came up with something kind of pink, and not at all layered. And it was hard. And it was disgusting.
Since then, I have been trying figure out how to make up for it. As her March birthday got closer and closer, with no idea in mind, I began to sweat. I mean, it is her husband for whom I made the rockstar birthday cakeS. Yes, cakeS. Two of them, and I did a bang-up, awesome job. On both of them.  And a month later, I fail miserably on a simple dessert cake.
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving. The song Walking in Memphis came on the radio. As an avid music-hound, my mind wanders and I imagine and dream in the midst of every song. I began a weird train of thought. It went a little something like this:

Memphis is in Tennessee.
Pam is from Tennessee.
Tennessee Volunteers.
Bookstore. I love the bookstore in Chattanooga.
Pam is from Tennessee.
Walnut Street Bridge.
Moon Pies.
I want a Moon Pie.
Pam and Moon Pies are from Tennessee.
I want to go back to that bookstore in Chattanooga.
Man, I want to go to Nashville again soon.
This time, I’m going to definitely go to the Grand Ol' Opry.

Marshmallow Fluff
Is it possible to make Moon Pies? I couldn't imagine it not being possible. I mean, someone makes them, right? As per usual, I prepared myself to set out on a crazy quest. I didn't even know if it would work out. Moon Pies are so marketable as a brand, there surely wasn't anyway to break it down into something I could do, right?
This is me going back to my old thinking. My pre-cooking thinking. I was certain everything was hard, everything was impossible, nothing was available. My self-doubt took control of my life for so long that I never realized I had a knack for this. And sometimes (such as this), I slip right back into that old thinking. Possibly because I had never thought to make a Moon Pie. Probably because, in my head, I had a lot riding on the success of her birthday dessert.

Jarred and ready to chill.
As it turns out, there's a book full of recipes. Seriously, what kind of Moon Pie do you want? I can make it. I have a recipe for it. There is also a pan that is specific to making them. Here's the irony. Apparently, Moon Pies are pretty much a seasonal item related to Valentine's Day, when the whole retail world markets them as “Whoopie Pies” (I guess since chocolate is an aphrodisiac and whoopie is a fun old-fashioned word for...um, love, or something that vaguely resembles it?), and this was the end of February...I went to the bookstore, they had ONE copy of that book left. I went to Target, they had ONE pan left.
Why is this picture blurry?
Cause I'm sugared up!
Could this be fate?
I spent a few days rummaging through the book, trying to decide which ones to make. It all sounded pretty simple. Problem: the filling itself calls for marshmallow fluff. Somehow, that equated to using a “box” to me. And I have made that promise to myself to not use a “box” as a shortcut for anything until I know I can do it without the box. So then I began researching if it was possible to make homemade marshmallow fluff. And, no surprise, of course it is possible.
I decided on the classic flavor as well as one with peanut butter filling. Classic had to be part of it, because well, it's the novelty of the idea, right?
I made the fluff the day before, I wanted to give it time to chill in the fridge before I mixed it completely to make the filling. It was so good! I wanted to just suck it up through a straw! It seriously tasted just like marshmallows!
Here's the thing. Everything was surprisingly simple. Just follow the instructions.
Classic and Peanut Butter
Upon giving them to her, the joy that came from making something transferred to her face as she opened, realized what they were, and tasted them! It is always an honor when someone likes my food. It is more than an honor when I make something with someone specific in mind and they get it. And like it.
I made up for my pink disaster from December. I am going to stop obsessing about it. It's my one big failure (other that the zucchini bread/oven fire, of course). Move on, get on.
Soon, I'll get to that bookstore and the Grand Ol' Opry!

***I am not publishing recipes for this blog, since they are someone else's work.  I have, however, linked to the book of Moon Pies, as well as the blog for the marshmallow fluff. If you feel so inclined to make, please, share your experience.  And of course, enjoy! :)
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