like red velvet cake, but not

chocolate cake cream cheese frosting | the merry gourmet

I had the cake layers in the oven by 9 o’clock Saturday morning. The batter was easy to prepare, almost too easy. The part I hate about baking is waiting for the butter to come to room temperature, but this recipe only uses vegetable oil as the fat, so there was no waiting. I love butter, but I very much liked the not waiting. I also liked that I had all of the ingredients on hand already.

Saturday was Valentine’s Day, which really didn’t matter to me except that it gave me an excuse to bake for my true loves. Not that I need an excuse. But for this more-special-Saturday-than-most, I baked a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. The idea was for the cake to be like red velvet cake, but not. I wanted it to have all of the taste, but without the artificial red food coloring.

“It’s like an Oreo cake,” Oliver suggested. He made a good point, which is typical of my always-sensible son.

chocolate chip banana cake

chocolate chip banana cake | the merry gourmet

The house smells faintly of slow-cooked pork and wood smoke. The aromas strengthen each time someone opens the patio door. I can see the Big Green Egg from my vantage point on the sofa, soft wisps of white smoke puffing from the vent in the top. My husband has been manning the grill since 7:30 this morning, and when the meat comes off in just a short while, the pork will fall from the bone with the gentlest nudge.

I’m not a professional football fan, but I’m thankful tonight is Super Bowl Sunday, if only for the fact that Sam has volunteered to make pulled pork for a friend of his – and thus, for us.

My knitting needles are beside me on the sofa, 58 stitches of a lovely blue yarn line the cable. I’m still working on my Color Tipped Scarf, but I wanted something fresh that I could travel with later in the week. I’m headed to San Diego for a meeting on Thursday, and I’m anticipating hours of plane-ride knitting.

why I learned to knit

on knitting | the merry gourmet

It all started with an Instagram image. The photo was of Emily Hilliard’s partially-knit sweater, a lovely bronze-colored garment, still on a set of circular knitting needles. The caption was something about getting back into knitting and being determined to finish her first sweater.

I don’t know why that particular photo caught my attention, but it did. I immediately commented on it: “I would love to learn to knit.”

That wasn’t the first time I’d thought that, but it was the first time I had written the words and made the thought, the idea of learning to knit, real.

After writing those words, the idea of knitting would not leave my mind. Before diving in – because, really, did I need another hobby? – I decided to research the idea. I turned to Google, typing in such phrases as “how to learn to knit” and “beginning knitting” and, finally, the most important one: “why should I knit?”

It’s that last search phrase that I really wanted the answer to. Why did I want to do this?