What Miss Plumcake Is…

Hey gang, in a continuing theme of bringing back favorite features, it’s time to find out What Miss Plumcake is:


Reading: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
I’ve only just started this novel about chubby Dominican (as in Republic not Order) school boy because its title is obviously a reference to Hemingway’s great short story The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, which manages to be both brilliantly written and almost embarrassing in Hemingway’s transparent hatred/fear of women and emasculation. Diaz won a mess of awards including the Pulitzer for this little gem and although it’s a bit boggy at parts, it will be interesting to see where this work fits in the spectrum of Latin American Magical Realism and gritty American industrial fiction.

Watching: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work I was never a Joan Rivers fan. I didn’t dislike her per se, but the red carpet fixture never exactly struck me as anything but a Catskills comic better suited to the center square than center stage. This biopic chronicling a year in the life of the groundbreaking (seriously, she was making abortion jokes on TV when it was still in black and white) comedian changed all that. I’m still not a fan of her comedy but I admire her as much as I admire anyone in the entertainment industry today because Joan Rivers hustles. She always hustles. She works constantly, is completely dedicated to her craft and providing for herself and her many dependents, including the children of her employees, who go to private school on her dime. She tells of Johnny Carson, who gave her her start, blacklisting her from NBC when she dared get her own show, how her husband committed suicide and left her a single mother with a ton of debt and over and over (and over) again you see the usually-unspoken bias against female comedians come into light throughout her career. I can’t recommend this doc enough for anyone interested in feminism and the entertainment industry, and it should be required viewing for those of us who attempt to ovulate and make people laugh at the same time.

Hearing: Lyle Lovett – Road to Ensenada
A classic from the Long Tall Texan himself, I pulled this, quite naturally, for this weekend’s drive down the road to Ensenada. This immaculately crafted combination of big band blues (well, it’s not big, it’s large) and Texas-twinged singer/songwriter fare is one of my top 50 albums of all time. Oh, and when Lyle sings the road to Ensenada is plenty wide and fast, he’s using artistic license. It’s a beautiful winding deathmaze as twisted as Charlie Sheen’s psyche and twice as dangerous.

Smelling: Demeter Fragrance Library – Bulgarian Rose
Y’know, I’ve been feeling a little old school lately. Simple, pared down. My highly exclusive masterwork fragrances seem a bit out of place at the open air market where I buy my produce and get abused by the little Oaxacan lady who works there. A sunny stroll along the beach attempting to count the unattended naked children running feral on the shore does not require an almost architectural opus of scent composition and for this reason I’ve been feeling Demeter’s Bulgarian Rose. You don’t get much more old school than Bulgarian Rose, but with typical Demeter style, this isn’t an old lady perfume; it’s merely a precise if breathy reproduction of the scent of a hearty pink Bulgarian rose. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s also one of the rare rose scents that doesn’t turn into pickles on me and it’s cheap enough to use up in two months spraying it on everything from bed linens to tablecloths for a classically pretty but not at all cloying finishing touch.

Loving: Cake Beauty Products
Were you to ask one of my perfumista pals to describe what your devoted Plummy does NOT want in a fragrance they’d probably say something like “Nothing foody or fruity or twee.” and okay, that’s true, which is why Cake Beauty products, particularly their Lemon Cupcake moisturizer are such guilty pleasures. I got this liter bottle of Lemon Cupcake lotion on sale somewhere and it smells straight up like Froot Loops. Now, there’s probably something wrong with a grown woman wanting to smell like Froot Loops, and I certainly don’t want to Loop it up in public, but for the after-shower, pre-bedtime moisturizing, this product is ideal. The scent isn’t long-lived and it doesn’t have any parabens or nasty stuff. Plus it’s inexpensive as all get out so I can afford to slather it on, enjoy my Froot Loopiness and wake up in the morning with hydrated skin sans the breakfast cereal scent.

Hating: Tardiness
I believe my two friends I took to Ireland with me last year will attest how I feel about tardiness. They nearly made me miss our plane from Heathrow and as soon as we landed in Shannon I marched myself directly to the reservation desk and tried to book myself a ticket to Spain because I sure as hell wasn’t going to spend a week with those no-time-keeping fools. In the intervening year I’ve managed to calm down a little, but Mexico, where it’s the cultural norm to be two hours late to a party, is working overtime on my delicate last nerve. Totally hypothetical situation: let’s say one person threw a party that started at four, and spent a lot of time and money making sure everything went off without a hitch, which is pretty darn difficult when your power inexplicably goes out for almost 24 hours the day before. Two and a half hours roll by, the barbecued brisket is turning into shoe leather and the first guest has yet to arrive. Four hours later several invited guests (plus even more uninvited ones) show up and don’t leave until midnight. That hostess should be allowed to spend the next day in bed eating grapefruit and drinking bourbon until she doesn’t to kill anyone anymore, right? Right.

Wanting: ReVive Serum Presse
Got this little potion in a Barney’s goodie bag last year and have just started to use it and wow, it’s great. Spendy but great. Maybe the magic gift with purchase fairy will wend a full-size sample my way when next I load up on my favorite Barney’s-only scents.

Buying: Weighmax Electronic Kitchen Scale
Man, I was surprised at my reluctance to buy a food scale. Most recipes here are done by weight not volume so it’s a necessary evil, but it roused a whole mess of latent fat girl feelings in me. I don’t know if my eating disordered grandmother or my pudge-prone mother ever used one of these things, but it FEELS like deprivation. Like I should be measuring out my 200 grams of lean protein and breathlessly waiting to see whether I’m allowed six or seven almonds as my healthy mid-afternoon snack. Living so near the sea and working with unfamiliar familiar ingredients (refined sugar isn’t white here, and flour has a slightly different texture) using a food scale is crucial, but I’ll admit I bought it online because I didn’t want to be the fat girl with the food scale standing in line at the supermercado. Weird, huh.

6 Responses to “What Miss Plumcake Is…”

  1. Erin March 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    You have to tell them the party starts two hours earlier than actually want it to start. Seriously. I figured this out after I spent an an hour in a half crying in a bar with my only North American friend because I thought no one came to my birthday party. It’s the only way to get people there when you want them to be there.

  2. Erin March 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    ps – there is, however, no way to get them to leave before midnight. Don’t even try.

  3. Marsha March 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    We once hosted an exchange student from Brazil and found pretty quickly that her notion of the time/arrival relationship was really, really different from ours. She was the one who suggested that I share deadlines and appointments with her by describing them as “Brazilian Time” or “American Time”. Even on “American Time” she was late, although not the usual three hours as for “Brazilian Time”, more like 30-45 minutes.

    So, yeah, I understand.

  4. jen209 March 7, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I read Oscar Wao with my book club, and the reason we read it was that Junot Diaz was coming to speak at the National Book Festival (with Plumcake’s Beltway roots, she might be familiar with said festival). The day he was speaking was really rainy, so all the tourists were crowding under the tents on the Mall, so we staked out the tent Diaz was speaking in, and sat through the speaker before him so we would be sure to have a seat.

    The speaker before Diaz was…Nicholas Sparks. Who proceeded to tell us how he takes a couple months to write each of his books, and his most recent book was written because Miley Cyrus’s “people” called him and told him she wanted to star in a movie based on one of his books. The Diaz came on and told us he was writing Oscar Wao for eleven years. It was really an interesting and amusing contrast. And I’ve never been tempted to read a Nicholas Sparks book again.

  5. Lisa from SoCal March 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I sooooo hear you on the food scale:

    “Like I should be measuring out my 200 grams of lean protein and breathlessly waiting to see whether I’m allowed six or seven almonds as my healthy mid-afternoon snack.”

    but the altitude/near the ocean thing is totally true when it comes to baking.

    Oh, and the tardiness. Honey, that’s a lost cause. Mexico time defies any conception of linearity. It is an entity on unto its own. (I’m convinced that so many mexican dishes are grilled or slow-cooked because of this phenomenon: a) you can throw it on when people finally show or b) you can scoop out stuff as people dribble in).

    Maybe if you drink more mimosas it would make you feel better.

  6. Lisa from SoCal March 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    And I lurrrrve me some Joan Rivers. Always have.