I made a carrot cake today. I also made carrot juice, but I drank the carrot juice before I took this picture. Both creations happened for the purpose of using up some incredibly humongous carrots from my garden. (Like, carrots four inches in diameter. Serious monstrosity carrots.) I don't even really like carrots, I only planted the stupid carrots because Susan wanted them, and then whenever I harvested any she didn't seem to like them. And then it turned out she didn't like me either, at least not enough to refrain from romancing another woman while still living with me. Apparently this has been going on since May. I found out about it in September. On October 16, Susan officially dumped me to be with the other woman.
And tomorrow marks one week since Susan moved out of here and into the other woman's house. Today's carrot juice and carrot cake are, I think, the first two good things to result from her leaving me. Hopefully they'll be the first of many.
I don't absolutely hate carrots. When I was a little kid and my parents said I had to eat one vegetable or I wouldn't be allowed to eat dessert, I would choose to eat one carrot stick because it was preferable to eating one pea, or one of really any vegetable that was green. Carrots are not green, so I can sort of stand to eat them sometimes. However, they do tend to have a distinctly greenish taste that prevents me from enjoying them. And the carrot monstrosities from my garden added up to way more carrot than I could ever possibly have persuaded myself to eat. Thus, creativity was called for. It was a perfect opportunity to attempt to fill one of the many holes Susan left in my life by learning to make food.
(Technically, I suppose, I had already made the carrot. Susan never made food in that sense of the phrase, so on some level, I actually have a whole lot more experience than Susan does at making food. Still, I can't grow many complete meals in my garden, so I'm going to have to learn new skills.)
Anyway, my first idea was carrot juice. I looked up some recipes online. The recipes all said to blend the carrot in a blender, possibly combining it with various other ingredients. I doubted that my blender was up to the task. I chopped my carrot monstrosities into little bits and boiled them on the stovetop for a while to soften them up enough that I thought my blender might be able to handle them. I filled the blender to the brim with chopped carrot bits and then filled the gaps between the carrot bits with apple juice, also all the way to the brim. The blender struggled a whole lot. I've actually never seen to blender struggle as much with anything as it struggled with this (and the blender is one of the few kitchen appliances that I do actually have considerable experience using). Eventually, though, it shredded most of the carrot.
I used a strainer to remove the carrot shreds from the carrot juice. The carrot juice is really probably more apple juice than carrot, but I've had carrot juice from the grocery store before, and my homemade carrot juice tastes pretty much identical.
However, I only obtained one glass of carrot juice. The remainder of the blender's contents consisted of carrot shreds. I searched the Internet for possible uses for carrot shreds. Thus, the carrot cake was born.
Technically, I didn't finish the recipe. I was supposed to make frosting for it as well, but I don't think I'm up to that tonight. Also, I made the carrot cake in lieu of making any dinner, which detracts somewhat from my sense of accomplishment. Unless the carrot juice can count as dinner? I'll just say I had a liquid dinner tonight.
Anyway, the carrot cake tastes good! It really, really does. Unfortunately it's so filling and so huge that I estimate it will take me at least a month to finish eating it all on my own, and I'm sure it won't last that long. Well, former neighbor Jessica will probably visit soon, and maybe she'll bring her kids, and I can feed a good portion of the cake to them. Or I can go visit my friends Alyson and Jackie and their kids and bring them some cake. So I'll find ways to get rid of it.
The photograph itself is a study in pretending that everything is okay. The little table and two chairs in the background, giving the impression of happy couplehood even though that's all over. The table and chairs themselves will be gone soon; they're Susan's, and she's taking them with her. If you look very closely, you can kind of see, in the shadows of the doorway at the upper right, the stacks of cardboard boxes that I've been frantically packing Susan's stuff into. Yes, I'm packing most of her stuff for her - the alternatives would be to have her spend a whole lot of time here packing it herself or have it linger for a long time, taking up space and bringing back painful memories, so packing it for her seems to me like the best of the options.
But the baskets of fruit and nuts are the main things adding a sense of abundance to the background of the photograph. And those things aren't going to leave when Susan does. The nuts are from our, excuse me, my pecan tree, in our, excuse me, my back yard (well, not really all mine yet, in the monetary sense, but hopefully it will all be legally in my name only by the end of this month). The tree is at the peak of its harvest season right now, and I've been harvesting daily. I harvested all the pecans myself. Even last year, I harvested all the pecans myself; pecan harvesting was my job alone all along. So it's fair for me to claim full credit for the abundance of pecans.
The fruit in the baskets isn't homegrown. It includes some of the same kinds of fruit that will be homegrown soon; the orange tree has ten oranges on it that should all start ripening very soon (okay, in the photograph you can't even see any oranges in the baskets, but they're there), and I've planted two apple trees, although they're too small to produce fruit yet. But the actual fruit in the photograph is just fruit from our, excuse me, my box of fruit delivered to the doorstep once a month. Still, I paid for this month's delivery all by myself, so I suppose I can claim credit for that also.
So: abundance! Food! Harvest! Successful acquisition of new skills! I can do this! I can keep the whole household running all by myself, even though I still have three mammalian pets to take care of (I got Susan to agree to take Ganymede with her) and all the fish and, well, Jessica's entire family, kind of. And even though I have yet to actually operate the lawnmower successfully (though I did get Susan to show me how). Okay, so I'm not really quite entirely confident about any of this yet, but there's hope. At least today's cooking experiment was a success.