Jessica Day George

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cake, cake, cake, cake!

I have a dream of conquering the world of housewifely arts through literature! Everyone is now scratching their heads, but fear not! I shall explain. In Dragon Slippers, our heroine is a seamstress. In Sun and Moon, our heroine also sews (though not well or happily), but there is some key shirt laundering in that story. In Black Wool Chain (coming in 2009, I hope) our hero (yes, a guy) is a knitter. My editor has teased me about this, but I remain firm. I love to knit. I wish I could sew better. And the shirt laundering scene is a key part of the original East o' the Sun fairy tale. But if I may paraphrase Debbie Stoller, staunch feminist author and editor, what's wrong with that?! In the introduction of her wonderful knitting book, "Stitch n' Bitch", she makes that point that everyone applauds a woman when she takes karate or auto repair, but say you've been learning to knit and people sneer. They call you old-fashioned. Knitting is a skill. It's an art form. You can do freakin' cool things with knitting, and some patterns are more complex than repairing a transmission. So why not a heroine that knits? (Allow me to point out that my beloved editor has nothing against knitting, sewing, or clean shirts, but simply finds the trend in my books amusing.) And now, after years of talking about it, I have finally bitten the bullet and enrolled in a cake decorating class. I love cake. I love to make cake. I love frosting. My cakes taste wonderful, but are frequently lopsided, or frosting looks odd. I made an Ernie and Bert cake for my older brother Jason's birthday in June (family joke), and it was recognizably Ernie and Bert, and yet it wasn't quite as professional as I would have hoped. And so I enrolled in the class, coercing my sister into taking it with me. Five minutes into that first session last night, and I was totally hooked. This is going to be fun, and I am finally going to be able to make great-looking cakes. I'm so excited that I'm starting to think: how could I incorporate cake decorating into a book? I've got five works in progress right now, and sadly none of them have room for baking. But some day, I'm sure. Perhaps as I'm making my first frosting rose (session 3), I'll be inspired. We can only hope. We can also only hope that, after some diligent dieting has finally brought me close to my pre-pregnancy weight (Boy is 2 and a half, oh dear), all this cake and frosting won't ruin me.


Megan said...

I applaud you for addressing the more "homey" skills in your books. I, too, wish I could sew better. I also wish I could knit, crochet, embroider, and decorate cakes! But, alas, I can only cross stitch! I can, however, make very tasty cakes, but they really don't look all that appetizing.:) Good luck with your endeavors! And I love the idea of a hero who knits! Can't wait!

noam said...

i agree