“street cake!” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday August 25, 2017
9:12pm
5 minutes
From a text

I preheat the oven while you select a record. I’m not sure what exactly you choose, we’ve been hitting up garage sales, but it’s sexy and it’s got vocals and some horns, so it’s all good. You asked for cake this morning, and all day at work I dreamed about what wouldn’t require softened butter. I dreamed about caramel and vanilla, or, chocolate, yes! Chocolate. I use coconut oil because it’s so very good for you and I sift the ingredients and you watch me and sometimes grab at me and I push you away but only for now.

“ideal cooking oil” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Mama sticks her finger into the jar and pulls out white silk that turns her skin glossy.
Doesn’t that smell like heaven? She hums, lifting her hand to my nose.
I nod my head. I want to eat the melting silk off of mama’s warm forefinger. She smiles at me, glad that I like what she likes. She dabs both of my cheeks with it and rubs it in. Feels nice, doesn’t it? I nod again, this time voraciously.
I want mama to let me bathe in this stuff. I want mama to let me alone with it so I can put it everywhere.
This is what you use for baking and cooking, she tells me, grabbing a spoon out of the drawer. She hands it to me. But it’s good for anything you can think of. She winks. I smile. I feel lucky to be let in to this place. She has given me her secret to the universe.

“this folder is empty” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 11, 2014
10:02am
5 minutes
from the library tab on a computer

Josie browns her butter and smokes a cigarette. She regrets not going for a run that morning but doesn’t regret the butter. How can we ever regret butter? She stirs and listens to the bubbles. Nothing better. She ashes her cigarette in the earth of the cactus on the window ledge and then feels guilty. She gets a spoon from the drawer and removes the ash. She puts in the compost and then feels guilty. When she goes to remove it, it’s already mixed in with the coffee grinds, the grapefruit peel, the chicken bones. She smiles at herself. She thinks about quitting smoking. She turns off the stove and pours the butter into the eggs and brown sugar. She mixes with a wooden spoon.

“Cinnamon coffee” by Julia on the subway going east


Tuesday February 18, 2014
6:12pm
5 minutes


I was waiting outside your back gate with a cinnamon coffee for you and a batch of failed cookies. It was your favourite kind of day: the one with the light snow and the zero regrets policy. You did that for yourself once a year, you said, and this day just happened to be your birthday. The reject cookies I ultimately brought over were burnt on the bottoms and much too salty every second bite. I tried a couple rounds but there was a lot of pressure to get them right because they were supposed to be your favourite. Not that they were difficult or challenging due to their obscure nature. You never cared for fancy things. For things that looked like they were trying too hard. Chocolate chip. You liked the simplistic, classic, easy to make chocolate chip ones. The ones you can’t even really mess up. I brought them for you anyway hoping you secretly liked the underdog cookies: the ones that needed a bit more love and understanding.

“no matter what she wears.” By Julia at Sambuca Grill


Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
3:47pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Anne Roiphe

My grandfather was a compulsive liar. He used to tell stories to anyone who’d listen. Anyone who wouldn’t–he’d lie even more. I used to wonder how my grandmother put up with him, how she trusted him, how she knew when he was being sincere. She seemed so happy all of the time. She wasn’t one of those closet sad people. No trace of pills, of depression, of long cords tucked under her bed. Nothing like that. She was genuinely content. Then I figured it out. She knew that everything my grandfather said to others wasn’t true; but he would never lie to her. They must have made an arrangement when they were young and in love. She was tough, I forget that sometimes. She was the one who made the decisions. She was the one that put him in his place. He loved my grandmother more than life itself.
I know this because he’d tell us when we were kids, “your grandmother is the laziest woman I’ve ever met.”
She baked for us every Sunday whether we saw her or not.

“cupcakes” by Sasha in High Park


Thursday, November 29, 2012 in High Park
4:30pm
5 minutes
The Lawblaws ad
on the back of NOW Magazine


He doesn’t lick the spoon because Grandpa Finnegan used to smack his hand and this trained him well. He sets the oven to three hundred and fifty degrees and pours the melted chocolate into the batter that waits, patiently, on the granite countertop.

Even in the fifties and sixties, baking was a man’s job. His grandmother and mother, aunts and female cousins played Crazy Eights and Gin Rummy while the boys learned about kneading dough and the science of baking soda. Grandpa Finnegan would visit and bring with him Maldon Salt and thick British molasses. He would smuggle these goods and others in his carry-on luggage and lie to the airport security about health and special needs and about manners regarding ones elders.

Today, Finnegan long gone, he makes cupcakes for his daughter’s ninth birthday. Recently divorced he is over the moon that he got to host the birthday. Ten third graders will be arriving in the late afternoon for manicures and Earl Grey tea… and cupcakes, devil’s chocolate cupcakes. Finnegan’s recipe.