Now, where I was on Saturday for so very long was my sister-in-law's and her husband's, as they were holding a dessert party. Their elegant concept was to bake all sorts of desserts and invite over a dozen or so friends, and last year I made the cut and I was interesting enough to be invited back. I got started out a little late --- among other things by stopping to try taking photographs of the Moon-Venus-Jupiter clustering which was backed by very nice skies --- and by the bizarre choice of drivers on the roads up there to start out just a little under the speed limit and gradually decrease their speeds, as if suspecting this whole ``65'' thing on Interstates was a trick.
So while I arrived late I was ahead of everyone except my brother-in-law. My sister, for no obvious reason, declined to come; she didn't even excuse it as her having a tough week at whatever her horse-oriented work is. (There's been some kind of events going on that we can't understand because we're not horse-oriented. Her husband only sort of understands them.) And even he had to leave early, although there wasn't much gap before more people finally started arriving. I'm not saying that because I'm shy about spending time alone with my brother and his wife, just that it's awkward to go digging in to pies or cakes when you're the only guest.
My sister-in-law likes to spend much of the week ahead of these parties cooking, first for practice and then for real, although she keeps working on multiple-layer cakes despite insisting that her oven prevents her from making them come out level. She insists they come out fine in her parents' oven, and they have been planning to refurbish the entire kitchen since they bought the house. Although we cast jokes through the night about the shifting layers allowing us to track subduction zones in the kitchen or see how the magnetic poles have drifted over time, I couldn't tell any difference. Granted the cake layers weren't all the same width, but who wants that in a multi-layer cake?
Trivia: The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was the first foreign power to recognize Louis Napoleon's becoming Emperor Napoleon III. Source: The Struggle For Mastery In Europe, 1848 - 1918, A J P Taylor.
Currently Reading: Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Niño And The Fate Of Civilizations, Brian Fagan.