Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We sure did! Great food, great booze, great company. Our hosts handled most of the cooking, so we just contributed four items: a green bean casserole, mulled wine (the Admiral's concoction), a pumpkin pie (the tried and true Joy of Cooking recipe) with fresh whipped cream, and a fabulous persimmon cake. The latter is adapted from a recipe called "Fuyu Bundt Cake" that I dug up online last year when we kept getting persimmons in the box from our CSA. The source attributes the recipe to an old Sunset magazine. I wouldn't be surprised, since I've found all the Sunset recipes I've tried to be absolutely delicious. (Did you see the Cranberry Obsession Snow Cake on the cover of the last issue? It looks awesome. I am *so* making that for Christmas.) I'm going to go ahead and post my version of the persimmon cake recipe below.

But first, a word about Buy Nothing Day. I've soured on Adbusters magazine because of their insistence on holding up fat people as symbols of our society's insatiable appetite for energy and consumer goods. But I still acknowledge that they've had some good ideas over the years -- one of them being (in my opinion) Buy Nothing Day. The idea is that on the day after Thanksgiving, instead of running out to Wal-Mart and participating in the orgy of pre-Christmas spending (at the risk of getting trampled), we should commit to going 24 hours without spending a dime. This way, we basically drop out of the economy for a day and we don't contribute to this one big day of retail sales that adds to everybody's crushing credit card debt and basically keeps our unsustainable way of life going for another year. Adbusters suggests some protests that you can stage to celebrate Buy Nothing Day -- for example, you can go to a mall with a pair of scissors and offer to cut up people's credit cards. Another idea that wasn't necessarily suggested by Adbusters, but which they endorsed after the fact, was a mass vomit where people went to a mall and took ipecac and all barfed in unison. That seems a bit extreme to me and I'm not sure there was a direct connection to Buy Nothing Day. I think it had to do with eating as a metaphor for consumption in general, and therefore barfing as a rejection of consumption; but really I think the idea was to gross out the customers so they would leave and not buy as much (unfortunately, the only guaranteed consequence was that some mall employee had to clean up the barf, but I guess a hard-core Culture Jammer might argue that a mall employee is a cog in the wheel and therefore deserves to have to clean up barf, or something like that). So anyway, all this is to say that although I'm not participating in any protests, I'm also not buying anything today. Instead, I'll just stay home and get some reading done, and eat some leftover persimmon cake. And now, on to that recipe.

Persmimmon Bundt Cake

5 fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped (it's crucial to get fuyus b/c hachiyas can be tart if they aren't ripe)
2 t. baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1 2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. lemon juice
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
powdered sugar

Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.

Preheat oven to 350.

Blend baking soda with chopped fuyus (this can be done in a blender). Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar. Add eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.

Stir in fuyu mix.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Stir flour mixture into fuyu mixture until just blended.

Spoon mixture into prepared bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick tests clean.

Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn onto serving plate (preferably a dark-colored one).

Put some powdered sugar into a small strainer and, holding it over the cake, tap the edge of it to create an even dusting of sugar over the top of the cake and the plate.


Why, oh why, didn't I take a picture of the cake yesterday? It was so pretty. Oh well, anyway, here's a picture of a fuyu persimmon. This is the kind you want; hachiyas are longer and pointier at the bottom.

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