pretzel bites.

pretzel bites.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

portrait of a morning. with children. and oatmeal.

this morning i am eating cold, glumpy oatmeal for breakfast. cold, glumpy, packaged oatmeal that has a kind of sad little puddle of melted ice right in the middle. i eat it with a small pink spoon that turns white if it's too hot. the oatmeal isn't meant to be mine. i do not put ice cubes in my oatmeal. i did not mean to have this for breakfast. but sometimes things like this happen.  
my husband is reading the paper. he takes 13.8 minutes to make coffee. it has tasting notes. tsk tsk, he says, about The News. you should read this, he says. he sips his coffee.

i look up at him from the floor. i am on the floor because i am trying to wrangle three small children into clothing. it is not going well. i cannot remember where i put my coffee. it was too hot to drink around all this commotion. my children are always making commotion. 

they are playing. they are running. they are telling me things. at the same time. they do not speak with indoor voices. they are feeling many things. they are laughing. they are crying. or making whining sounds. please do not talk in those whining voices i say. talk in happy voices i say. 

who have i become?  

where is my coffee?
no words needed.
last night the baby woke up. she has an ear infection so i can't just let her cry. also i can't just let her cry if she does not have an ear infection. when she woke up i looked down at the mat next to my bed. my son was there. some time between 10 pm and 4 am he wakes up and leaves his bed with the train sheets and comes to sleep on a mat with a blanket for the rest of the night. sometimes he needs water. or to be tucked in. sometimes he comes into our room with toys that he puts on my night table. when the baby woke up i went downstairs to nurse her and then my two year old woke up and asked if we could go upstairs. it's three am i told her. we do not wake up at three am. she does not know what i mean when i talk about ams and pms. when i finished nursing i took her to sleep with me on the bed with the train sheets. the mattress does not have a pillow top. 
inspecting her cookie for chocolate.

my husband hands me my coffee. he has small toothbrushes in his hand. toothbrushing and vitamin time, he says. the older ones run to him. i am still on the floor. some of the clothes are still on the floor.

the baby pulls up on my knee. she is smiling at me with her mouth open. it is a baby grin. i grin back. my two year old trummels by. trummel is not a word but it is what my two year old does. she kisses my shoulder. it is part of a game she is playing that i don't understand. but she kisses my shoulder and i understand that i love when she kisses me.
poor baby doesn't know she's eating bamba while her brother and sister are eating cookies.
i have made a lunch. and put an ice pack in it and a note with a heart and a smiley face and a moon and a sun. i have packed a backpack with stars and constellations on it. i have packed snacks. so many snacks. and water bottles. i have packed diapers. two sizes of diapers. and wipes. i have sent three work emails. four if you count the one i sent at three am when the baby woke up.
two-year-old's cookie post chocolate extraction. i ate the rest.
i take a sip of my coffee. 

my stomach growls.

my four year old makes a joke. a real joke. my husband and i look at each other with big eyes. 

in seven minutes it will be time to leave. leaving always takes longer than it should. i am in pajamas. i haven't eaten breakfast. please do not look at my hair. i go to clear the table for the second time. the second round of breakfast. there is a bowl of oatmeal. it is cold and glumpy. it has melted ice puddled in it. in it there is a small pink spoon that turns white when it's hot. 

i eat it all. 
(i avoid the spot with the melted ice.) 
i eat it standing over the sink.
it is delicious. 
it is comforting. 
it is exactly what i want to be eating.

then i do all the other things. 
i often eat forgotten, rejected oatmeal for breakfast. most of the time it's cold. and that's okay. because oatmeal is one of the greatest, most wonderful foods of all time. All Time. it is simultaneously filling and restoring. luxurious and sturdy.

when i am feeling indulgent, i make salted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. when i am feeling even more indulgent i make peanut butter oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and m&ms. monster cookies, they are called. i do not make them as well as the person who gave me the recipe. her name is ellen. i am not going to share her recipe but i know that The Internet can provide different versions of it. i am sure they are good, too.

when i am alone and i am not sitting on the floor, i make a bowl of oatmeal like this:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
more salt than any oatmeal package suggests
two shakes of cinnamon
packet of stevia
3/4 cup water

stir. microwave. (mine takes 2 minutes on level 8/10. oatmeal can also be made on the stovetop, but then you will have to clean an extra dish.)

stir in a drop of strawberry jam and some chopped banana. 

sit down. eat in silence. drink coffee, if possible.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

dry walnut cookies (are better than they sound)

you know what's the worst? walnuts. walnuts are the worst. it seems to me they exist largely to destroy chocolate desserts. who in their right mind would want to ruin an otherwise lovely brownie with walnuts? or a chocolate chip cookie? think you're about to take a bite of the best cookie ever? BAM. walnut. ruining everything with its... walnutiness.

here is my rating of raw nuts:
brazil nut
all the other nuts i can't think of

no one just walks around eating walnuts because GAH. that would be like walking around eating bitter, expensive sticks..

some people even go so far as to put walnuts in salads. let's not talk about those people.

here is a good life rule: avoid walnuts.
1. fesenjan.
2. my mom's dry walnut cookies. 

i know, the name alone makes them sound like sad, sad things that don't warrant the name "cookie." but trust me. they do. my mom used to make them to give as holiday gifts to people she liked but wasn't friends with. mr. kim, the dry cleaner, mr. patel, the package store guy, all the vet techs, etc. and i never understood why she would go to such trouble to make so many cookies that didn't have chocolate. 
and then something happened. i don't know what. but i started loving these dry walnut cookies. i started gobbling them up one after the other after the other as if they were chewy chocolate chip cookies. i ate them straight from the freezer (where my mom kept them) when i was home to visit. who says people never change?

when my mom died, there was a bag of these cookies in the freezer. and oof, they were like the most valuable cookies of all time. my mom made them with her very own hands. 

last year some time joey started making the dry walnut cookies a lot. it was maybe the first thing he ever successfully baked. (but not the last--he makes bread now!) and he used to text me or call me when he made them. and around thanksgiving, when he was home for a long weekend, he made a few batches for everyone and they were just perfect. so i decided to make them, too. this week was the third anniversary of my mom's death, and i was looking for ways to recognize it, to ritualize it because this year her yahrzeit isn't until july.
that morning i dressed in a flowing, flowery dress of hers that she wore throughout my childhood. it felt so wonderful to be draped in it, to be wrapped in her, and i took nava to her grave and we sat for a while feeling peaceful and grateful for the bountiful blessings my mom gave me, gave us. and then later, after school pick up and work and errands and dinner and bath, the kids finally went to bed and i was alone. i toasted and then ground walnuts, measured flour and salt, oil and lemon juice. i texted with joey all the while to ask for advice. it felt so, so good and right. and i thought hey, look at me, i'm doing so well. i'm not a weeping mess--i'm honoring my mom by living this beautiful, busy, happy life. la di da. and then i proceeded to have a very bad week. a Very Bad Week. the kind of week that makes me just wish i could call my mom and say come over and rescue me! these kids are driving me nuts! or at least call her and have her tell me nani, you're not messing everything up. you're doing fine. better than fine, you're doing great. she would have. she would have made everything okay. and of course wanting that of course added to the feelings that made it a Very Bad Week. and so it goes.
the salve to all of this is knowing there's a little taste of my mom just a room away in my freezer. it's no small thing. and the leftover walnuts? they'll sit around forever. or at least until i run out of these cookies...

this is the recipe joey had. i amended it slightly and got more info by texting joey throughout.

350 degrees
3 extra large eggs
2/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp lemon juice (one lemon)
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup toasted walnuts, ground

here's what i did.

3 extra large eggs
2/3 canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
juice of one lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup toasted walnuts, ground
cinnamon and sugar, optional

1. preheat oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet or put parchment on it
2. toast walnuts in heated oven in a single layer on a cookie sheet. this should take between 5-10 minutes. don't let them get too brown. when they're cool grind them in a food processor until they're mostly ground with at least a few chunky pieces.
3. mix the eggs, canola oil, vanilla, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
4. add the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and walnuts to the wet mixture and stir until everything is combined.
5. form the dough, which will feel quite wet, into two or three oval logs on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until they start browning and the center is mostly cooked through.
6. remove the cookies from the oven and carefully slice them into one inch pieces while trying not to burn yourself. spread the cookies on the cookie sheet on their sides in one layer and return to oven.
7. bake for another 20 minutes or until cookies are darker shade of brown. depending on your oven and the size of your cookies you might have to rotate them while they're baking, or flip them over, or even remove the ones that bake fastest. it'll be worth it.
8. sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them while they're hot. i did this because i always sprinkle cinnamon and sugar when it's suggested. joey likes them without it.
9. let them cool and enjoy. store in the fridge or freezer.

Friday, July 17, 2015

lemony ricotta cake. with blueberries and plums.

we got home from vacation on saturday.
getting home from vacation is sort of the worst.
especially when you have no food in the house.
and your children decide to share your last $2 yogurt.
(YES! sometimes i buy $2 yogurt, okay!)

josh offered to go to the grocery store because, he told me, i looked too tired to do it. which i was. he took maya with him and i got to sit on the floor and play chutes and ladders with rapha, which i did not win.

josh is a deeply kind human being.

they left at 5 something. and they didn't get back until almost 7.
i don't know what happened.

he asked for a list. i gave him a list. on this list i wrote:
peaches (or nectarines. whatever is ripe.)

before he left i thought about reviewing what i meant by ripe, since josh once came home with an avocado that seemed like a scientific anomaly in its epic hardness, then claimed he doesn't really know what a ripe avocado feels like. but the thing is, my husband constantly awes me with not only his kindness and patience, but with the depths and creativity of his mind, too. he's always thinking. whether it's about philosophy or religion or belief or the law or shoes or parenting or game of thrones, his mind does not stop twisting and turning in the most fascinating, beautiful ways.

and maybe that's how and why he came home with one bag full of rock hard peaches and another bag full of rock hard plums. oh, and the biggest container of ricotta i've ever seen. because, he explained, he likes to garnish his french toast with it. (we make french toast once a week, on saturday mornings, with leftover challah.)
sometimes it's hard for Thinkers to go grocery shopping.

and i know that right now it probably seems like i'm making fun of josh, but i don't mean to. because sometimes having too much of something, or not the right version of something is a wonderful challenge. and it seemed to me the only thing to do with all of this food we wouldn't possibly be able to eat before we move on monday is bake it. which is what i did.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (i used whole milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped plums

to make:
1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper, then spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a big old bowl.
3. combine the eggs, ricotta, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and butter in another bowl.
4. dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir slowly until combined.
5. add in the fruit (i'm sure any kind of fruit would be good here) and stir gently until it's all mixed in. 
6. spread in pan and, if you're feeling fancy like i was, gently place some thinly sliced fruit on top.
7. bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is a nice golden color.

a wonderful summer cake. enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

donuts. in cakes. on the cape.

when you marry someone, their family is not yet your own, and you have to learn to navigate an entirely foreign dynamic, which, needless to say, can be difficult. you're thrown into another entity--a group that existed as a unit before any of them ever knew you existed--and with your spouse comes a family history, quirks, ways of understanding the world, and traditions.
if you're lucky, like me, you marry someone whose family comes from providence and has a summer tradition of renting a house in cape cod for two weeks every summer.

you see, before i met josh, The Cape was a mysterious far off land, somewhere up there on the map, part of a state i knew only for boston and cambridge. people always flexed their arm muscle as they explained the geography of this place with an abundance of hydrangeas and i smiled politely and pictured people with blonde hair wearing pastel shirts tucked into shorts with small marine animals decorating them.
but, oh, oh, oh, cape cod. how i've fallen for this place with its quaint-but-not-too-quaint towns. its ancient trees. its ever-shifting bay, high tide so high the rocks upon which we collected hermit crabs and went splashing in the tide pools mere hours before are nowhere to be seen, low tides so low the beach is an endless expanse into the calm, blue waters. the gardens here are well tended, full of color, a source of pride. there are ice creameries on what seems like every corner. cranberries actually grow around the corner from the house my in-laws rent. you get the idea. and when we're here, we're on vacation. and i don't mean we don't have to work (i've actually been working a good deal while i've been here), i mean when we arrived a few days ago my mother-in-law said "you're off duty." magical words to the ears of the mother of two toddlers. a vacation, indeed.

with time to bake.
one of the traditions that has become essential to these visits, whether they last two days or five, is a baking experiment. you see, we stay just down the road from dear friends of my in-laws, who have children who have become dear friends of ours, who now have children of their own we hope will become dear friends of our children. and so on. and every year rebecca and hannah, wonderful, clever sisters, come up with a baking experiment for us to complete. an example: gluten free cronuts, which were successful probably only because we deep fried them and coated them in powdered sugar, and deep frying anything and covering it in powdered sugar can redeem it from a sad, dry, flourless fate.

this year it was donut cake. and i don't mean a stack of donuts assembled in the shape of a cake. i mean donuts in a cake. my extraordinarily brilliant grandfather once remarked, "i love all donuts and anyone who doesn't is a pervert." i couldn't agree with him more. and, well, by now it should be quite clear how i feel about cake. besides which, i've long been a fan of this kind of baking. my hamantashen (sadly, not blogged) this year were peanut butter cups inside chocolate chip cookies inside chocolate sugar cookies with crushed pretzels on top. i believe that putting delicious things inside of other delicious things is almost always a good idea.

rebecca was inspired by a helpful recipe she found in people magazine. the difference between the way rebecca operates in the kitchen and the way i do is drastic. she is a recipe follower, uncomfortable with veering from the set idea and steps laid out before her. i, on the other hand, find it nearly impossible to follow recipes exactly. i'm a rule follower in life, but not in the kitchen. hannah helped us reach a very respectable agreement: we'd just have to make two cakes.

yesterday morning the three of us set out for dunkin' donuts bright and early. we stood in line once and ordered donut holes to taste test as rebecca's recipe called for donut holes. we tried four kinds and had a very serious discussion about the merits of each and their suitable cake pairings. (cinnamon donut hole-->coffee cake. glazed donut hole-->any kind of cake. chocolate donut hole-->highly underwhelming. boston kreme donut hole-->not as good as a full size boston kreme donut.) after much discussion we thought we'd made up our minds and marched back to the counter. when we got there we spotted something we'd missed during our first order--a chips ahoy cream filled donut--and, as you can imagine, in a moment everything changed. we ordered one and brought it back to the table, full of hope. it was one of the most disappointing donuts i've ever eaten. the chocolate glaze on top wasn't the issue, nor was the cookie crumble, which neither added, nor detracted from the overall taste of the donut, but the cream was an inexplicable color and taste. a disaster, really. so then, for the third time, we went to the counter and placed our order. two dozen glazed donut holes and four boston kreme donuts. the big ones.

then we went to stop and shop and had to make more hard decisions. there are just so many cake mixes and frostings. it's even possible to buy a pink and white zebra striped boxed cake mix. what is this, the future? anyway rebecca and hannah settled on a white cake funfetti mix for their glazed donut holes with a blue vanilla frosting with sprinkles. i grabbed the chocolatiest thing i could find--triple chocolate fudge cake, which was a pretty clear choice because three times the chocolate is three times better than regular chocolate cake, and besides, it had the word fudge in it. the frosting gave me pause because i didn't want to go straight up vanilla. i wanted something to match the cream in the boston kreme. and then i saw it. buttercream, of course.

we went home.
we went to the beach.
we bathed our sandy children and took naps.
and then we baked.

we followed the recipes on the back of our boxes. (i wish i could meet the helpful person who created the just add water, oil, and eggs box cake mix and shake his hand.) but here is the most ingenious thing the recipe from people magazine suggested. REPLACE THE WATER IN THE CAKE WITH BUTTERMILK. buttermilk! so that's what we did. and then we poured some of that batter into a greased pans and layered our donuts and poured some more batter on top of them and baked them for longer than the box said to bake them because they were full of donuts. my cake was a little underbaked in the center, and the donuts felt a little hard on top, and i was worried about the cream leaking out and the cake being a total disaster, but there was nothing i could do but frost it and cross my fingers.

yesterday evening, out on the deck of the single most beautiful beach house i've ever had the great fortune to set foot in, overlooking the high tide with the sun setting over it, we dined.

the confetti cake was fine. the donuts were a little dry and a little lost in the cake. the icing, however, was very popular with my children. and don't worry, i do feed them food other than cake. (sometimes they eat cookies, too.)

but, as it turns out, putting boston creme donuts inside of a triple chocolate cake baked with buttermilk and covering it with buttercream frosting is a Very Good Idea. maybe even one of my very best.

we're already talking 2016 baking challenge. maybe hannah, rebecca, and i will begin this discussion today, our toes in the sand, boats on the horizon, and happy children at our feet.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

camp food. and chocolate fudge cake.

we’re at camp. like, for real. sleepaway camp. in a place called kunkletown, PA. which might sound weird, but it’s a thing for rabbis to go to reform summer camps for a couple weeks on faculty. we’ve been here for six days. we actually got really lucky and were placed in a lovely little cabin called the green house, which even has a kitchen. with this stove.

 i haven't been doing much cooking.

so here we are at camp. 
eating camp food.

we do what we can. josh has turned into a carb. i’ve been eating a lot of cereal and really weird salad concoctions from the “salad bar.” yesterday it was lettuce, three bean salad, babaganouj, and sliced tomato with some coleslaw on top. for good measure. rapha has taken to hoarding little packets of the most sticky, sickeningly sweet jelly i’ve ever had the misfortune of touching, and straight up licking it out of the container when he thinks i'm not watching. i'm always watching. i don’t blame him. like i said, we do what we can. the only one who seems unaffected is maya, who basically eats whatever is in front of her all day long. 

two days ago, after 20 straight hours of cold rain, we left camp and went out for chinese food. call me an optimist, but sometimes the absolute worst chinese food is the best. or maybe all the canned pineapple and cottage cheese i've been eating at breakfast has turned my palate to mush. 

the above scene might be confusing to you. it was confusing to me. this was the entirety of the decor at the chinese restaurant. (yes, that is a bottle of wine, some red peppers, cabbage, potatoes, numerous other vegetables, and a basket of raw fish...)

anyway, it wasn’t the first time we left camp. we’ve now twice been to the shop rite about 15 minutes away, which is one of the most wonderful grocery stores i’ve ever set foot in. they even have a thomas the train on a track suspended above the store. everyone was happy there. the other day i even took rapha and maya for ice cream in a town called effort. EFFORT. rapha ordered a swedish fish flavored ice.
long before we came here, the rabbi josh works for, who came to this very camp for some 20 years as faculty rabbi, gave me a charge. he is a very wise and kind man and i respect him deeply. so when he told me about the diner down the road called cherry’s, and said i’d have to order the chocolate cake despite the fact it would disappoint every time, and never taste as good as it looks, as good as you want it to, i took him seriously. because, you see, to me, chocolate cake is a very serious matter. 
i think about it a lot. want it all the time. in almost any combination or form. dessert isn't dessert unless chocolate is involved. desperate for chocolate, i've been known to whip up a chocolate chip laden mug cake despite josh's insistence that it can't be good. it's good. or it's good enough. and sometimes all you need is good enough. like when your dessert option has been brownies that taste like passover.
so after the 30 somethingeth hour of cold rain, and after breakfast and staff-brat day camp for rapha and a harry belafonte dance party for maya and me, and after lunch and a good nap for the three of us while josh was off doing various rabbinical things like playing basketball, the four of us climbed into the car and headed for cherry's. we ordered two pieces of chocolate cake to go. one piece of chocolate fudge cake and one piece of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. (i do a lot of things for good measure.)

i'm not going to talk about the chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. it's not worth it. maya is the only one who ate it, anyway. even rapha turned away after eating the sprinkles off the top. 

josh took a few bites and said he thought the chocolate fudge cake was delicious and challenged me to say anything different. but i am going to say something different. it was not actually delicious. it was wonderful the way even bad chinese food is wonderful because sometimes your heart and soul just need something rich and sweet and indulgent. but delicious is a stretch. the cake itself wasn't dry, so i'll give it that, but i think that has little to do with the actual crumb and more to do with the generosity of the fudge. on its own the cake would be nearing the camp dining hall brownie situation, but the fudge elevates it to entenmann's worthy goodness. this is a compliment. my mom and i used to eat those little boxes of cake together. inch by inch i'd scrape the frosting with a (preferably small) spoon while she ate the cake i'd revealed below. this does not embarrass me. it was a perfect system. that the cherry's fudge from the fudge cake reminded me of an entenmann's cake is no small thing. i went for it, separating out the cake part from the frosting part. it's okay to know what you like. 
the point is, if a chocolate fudge cake is truly delicious, it doesn't look like this when i'm through with it. like i said, the rabbi josh works for is a very wise man. 
maybe i'll head back to the grocery store today and buy an entenmann's cake. i know i can count on maya to eat the cake part. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

the problem with buttermilk

here’s the problem with buttermilk: there’s too much of it.

i don’t mean existentially, in the world. i just mean in the carton. or bottle. they're too big. who needs a whole big container of buttermilk? i don’t. and i love buttermilk. but i’ve never seen a small container of it. ever.  and i spend a lot of time in grocery stores.

there are only so many things you can do with buttermilk before it goes bad, and you’ve got to be committed.

here are the things i made with one carton of buttermilk:
ice cream
cornbread cake
cornbread muffins
we went strawberry picking with friends and i imagined us in lovely hats in a giant field of plump fruit falling off the plant into our stained hands and then tumbling merrily into a giant bucket. 
i pictured my children with strawberry juice dripping from their mouths as they skipped along the endless rows. not so much. there weren’t so many ripe strawberries, it turned out, i forgot my lovely hat and both my children immediately removed theirs, my three year old ate all the best looking strawberries and the ones that were left weren’t exactly sweet, so the only thing to do with them was to roast them. and add sugar. and cream. and buttermilk. and turn them into ice cream.

our neighbors just had twins! a boy and a girl! so i had to bake for them, something quick they could just cut and shove in their mouths in two seconds because that’s all you have when you have new baby. and they have two new babies. i thought about cornbread because who doesn’t love cornbread? also i had buttermilk and blueberries. (a really good thing is that this recipe makes TWO cakes, so we got to eat one, too. it doesn't call for blueberries, but the batter was screaming for some. also, i skipped the frosting, though it looked utterly delicious)

my friend elly made strawberry rhubarb scones AND LEFT THEM AT MY DOOR AS A SURPRISE BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT SHE IS LIKE and they were delicious but i ate them all and then i needed more scones so i had to make more. and it’s almost a sin to not make scones when you have an abundance of buttermilk. either scones or biscuits. and then i ate all of those scones. because that's what happens. i didn't even take any pictures. so there's this one, instead.

my three-year-old has a friend who’s been sick recently with some scary stuff so we offered to make dinner for her lovely family and i thought COMFORT FOOD. obviously. i spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to make. lasagna, mac ‘n cheese, baked ziti, etc. but then i thought maybe they’ve had their fill of pasta and i made a kind of improvised vegetarian cassoulet with veggies, beans, quinoa, and a panko parsley parmesan topping. protein, right? and then i made these happy little kabobs with cucumber, watermelon, and mozzarella, because everyone knows eating food off a stick is better than eating food that’s not on a stick. josh told me he thought they were weird but i was still so proud of them. and for dessert i made peaches and cream and wondered all the while why i don’t make peaches and cream every day. and, of course, buttermilk cornbread muffins. because that’s comfort in the palm of your hand.
the truth is, my mom made the most delicious cornbread i’ve ever had and i can’t find the recipe. i know it had tons of butter and tons of sugar in it because there is simply no way it could have tasted that good without tons of butter and tons of sugar, but even knowing this i still haven’t been able to even get close. i'll keep trying though.  come to think of it, it probably didn’t even have a drop buttermilk in it…

anyway, that’s a lot of buttermilk baking, if you ask me.