I’m going to get a t-shirt made. I wife and complain. It’s more accurate. After almost twenty years of marriage, wife as a noun is simply a romantic idea. Let’s turn noun upside down: Wife is in the doing. It’s gritting teeth. It’s dancing through the living-room-kitchen picking up stray coffee cups, sweaters, bath towels a series of single socks [wife edits: cause who knows where the match is. What does one call so many single socks? A flock?]. It’s thinking about dinner before breakfast. It’s cheering at soccer practice and trampoline and swimming and choir. It’s combing the grey hairs sprouting at my temples. It’s ignoring the wrinkles folding at my eyes. It’s romanticizing divorce [wife edits: my own apartment?] then remembering the shared bank account, but also a lonely old age. It’s driving miss daisy, no, our children, round and round and round and round. It’s enduring the repetition; it’s cultivating an intimacy with the banal. Wife as a noun is simply the tacky plastic figurine that tops the wedding cake; it’s not even the icing.
[Gearhead edits: wow, someone got up on the wall side of the bed today. I’m feeling so loved]. [Wife edits: you should, love is a verb. I work really hard at it. I’m a love athlete, an Olympic level lover.]
No, I’m not sour. I post in the spirit of acknowledgement. I post with the tapped out, windblown, too tired to move through the day reality of wifing. I’m wifing and writing. [Gearhead edits: and making up new words. Can you put the kettle on for some tea?] I’m baking. Turning sour rhubarb into something sweet. I’m baking the cake because, hey, that’s a verb too. I’ll continue, “I do”; to “have and to hold”. I’m making peace with upside down. I’m going for a gold medal in wifing.
Fresh Rhubarb Upside Down Cake (adapted from, Baking with Julia)
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
6-7 stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1 cm slices
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch spring form pan and line with parchment paper (I have also made this in a cast iron pan with excellent results…dirties slightly fewer dishes).
Whisk or stir the flour, baking powder and salt together, just to blend. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, stir the vanilla and the sour cream together. Set aside.
Melt half a stick (1/4 cup) of butter in a heavy skillet. Add the brown sugar and bourbon and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar melts. Stir in the pecans to coat with the caramel, turn off the heat. Pour the caramel into the springform pan, quickly, before it cools. Arrange the rhubarb in circles over the sugar, and set aside while you make the batter.
Put the remaining butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and bet on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, scarping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Working with a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the dry ingredients and the sour cream alternately—3 additions of dry ingredients, 2 of sour cream. You’ll end up with a thick batter.
Spoon the batter over the rhubarb in the springform pan. Put the pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, o until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, turn it out onto a wire rack to let cool.