Coming to an end...
So a week from today, my sister and our friend will board a plane to come visit me. I can hardly believe my time in France is coming to a close. We have two more groups here at the Chateau before I leave, one of which arrived on Thursday. I will be leaving the Chateau a week from Monday to head to Paris for a week. I have the itinerary all mapped out and it seems that a week just isn't enough, so if I can talk Laura and Amy into it we may just extend our trip indefinitely. I'm sure I'll have some good blogs to post.

I realized that most of the latest blogs have just been pictures (mostly oriented towards the ADHD readers that can't get through my endless dribblings). Well it's time to indulge the literary types and elate (nice use of the Scramble word from the Tribune) you with a good story.

The other day I received a wonderful package from my grandmother via the "pop shipping services" (thanks to all those involved at GL). In the package was a wonderful Duncan Hines Angel Food Cake mix, which is my birthday cake of choice. I decided to make the cake and take it as a "thank you for letting us invade your home" gift on our recent trip to visit Amy. I procured an Angel Food cake pan from Sue and figured I'd scrounge up the rest of the cooking tools from our "well-stocked" kitchen. The first few steps were quite easy... bowl, dump in packet contents, and just add water. The simplicity of the project stopped there.

The next thing on the directions said to mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Slight problem, no mixer. Okay, not a problem, I'll just find a wire whisk. Again, not available. So what does one use when there is no mixer or whisk... a fork, generally the same principle! The trick was finding low speed on the arm gyrations, and then sustaining them for 30 seconds. I seemed to have managed that step quite nicely and get all of the powder mixed.

It was now time for the next step... beat on medium speed for 1 minute. I figured medium speed was somewhere between low and make your arm come out of its socket. I revved up my arm and went to mixing. About 30 seconds into the mixing, and several arms swaps, I couldn't go on, so I had to pass the fork to Kristen for the final 30 seconds. By the end we were left with what seemed to be a good consistency cake batter.

Now came the next challenge, determining the appropriate oven temperature. It was not a matter of converting F to C, but more of a problem converting 350 degrees to a oven dial that was a markless continuum. I picked a random setting and figured I'd just go with it! I placed the pan in the oven, first securing aluminum foil to the bottom to prevent leakage from the handy (I have a removeable center and liquid pours out of me) pan. What I forgot to calculate in the process was that due to our fine mixing skills the cake would rise about 1 1/2 inches above the pan. Well it began to touch the top of the oven, mind you the oven is about the size of the play oven I had 27 years ago. The cake was turning a nice shade of black on the top, so I decide to risk the "fall" and move the oven rack down one notch. Doing this now meant that the cake was pretty much directly on top of the gas flame. Nice!

The cake managed to come out of the oven with minimal damage and only strips of black that peeled right off, revealing a beautiful white inside. I also had to peel the foil off of the pan, because the cake batter had managed to glue it to the bottom. There was also a nice burnt drip hanging from the oven rack. I plated the cake and wrapped it in plastic in preparation for our journey. It was truly a work of great art and a miraculous product created from primitive tools!

However beautiful it was when it left the house, the ride to Le Creusot proved to be deadly for the cake. It just so happened that my suitcase managed to take a tumble right onto the cake during our journey (probably rounding one of those fun carrefours) and we didn't even notice. It wasn't until we arrived and went to collect our belongings from the car that we discovered the deadly accident. The good news was that it only smashed one side of the cake into within a 1/2 inch of its life (literally) and the other side remained perfectly unharmed. Needless to say, I presented the cake to our hosts and apologized for its sightly presentation. We partook of the cake the following day, and it was just as Angel Food should be... delicious, just flat!

All in a days work!