Silver cakes, silver linings and the myth of positive thinking
I have often portrayed myself as a realist. Meaning that, and due to personal experience, I do not subscribe to the point of view that "good things happen to good people", "if your work hard, you will be rewarded for it", " if you replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, you'll start having positive results" or the quite irritating "dreams don't work unless you do" which to me, sad to say, makes no sense whatsoever. My reality, my life and all that I have experienced through it says that good people have very bad things happen to them, for no reason whatsoever, like, say, being killed by a drunk driver! Hard work is not always rewarded, in fact, it rarely is, and I do not give any one the right to tell me I did not work hard for if I had, I would have been rewarded - I am quite certain of having busted my ass off plenty of times and no rewards came from there, except my personal belief that I did my best and went beyond it. And dreams, come on, dreams are what occur during sleep. You're at rest. Not working. And you dream. Once your start working on something, it is no longer a dream: it's an objective, a goal. Dreams are just that: dreams.
But most people will se me, and my "written philosophies" as someone who is a pessimist, someone who is quite negative, and so, the kind of person these life coaching gurus will tell you to steer clear of. My realism is seen as toxic, making me a toxic person. I don't believe in silver linings, you see. And yet, I am not a sad, unhappy git who sits here drowning in sorrow - and trust me when I tell you there was a time I would revel in said sorrow, oh! to be broken hearted, lonesome and misunderstood, that was what my dreams were made of, the essence of poetry! - I am a happy human being most of the time. I usually catch myself sighing in pure bliss several times a day, the shocker, for silly reasons like sitting down at my laptop listening to some music I adore and writing my heart out, or picking up my son from school and walking home with him playing and singing and talkin, or, go figure, the thought my husband is soon coming home from work and we will be together!! I sigh in pure bliss several times a day as a result from these occurences. Might make a looney out of me.
But you see, I believe these silver lining philosphies do more harm than good. If one strives and works hard, and gives one's best, and keeps at it, and yet has no reward from it (a promotion at work, a book deal, that job you tried so hard for, the recognition of your work from your peers, admiration from others over your achievements) then all this leads is to people who feel they are not good enough, no matter how hard they try. And that will lead to frustration. Depression. Unhappiness. Despair, even. So yeah, I believe this load of crap does more for the creation of bitter, unhappy individuals, full of spite and jealousy than my own philosophy of believing that good things are not the norm, but the exception - I mean, just look at the news, with all the bad shit that happens around the world, do you really believe that children, for instance, deserve bad things? And yet, it seems like everyday I am confronted with news of horrid things being done to kids.
Still, I'm one of those people who will always tell you to go after your goals. I will urge you to try for your dream job, even if your CV is not on a par to the job description, only because I will believe that if you have a passion for it, you can do good at it. I will always believe others have it in them to be quite successful and lucky as well. My pessimism is only reflected in myself, my life. Because that's where I have experience: my life. Full of good things as it is - and those are the things I never for once thought would not work out well - there are other things I might think I would like to have, or to try for, or even work hard for them. And when I do, some of them I know deep down that they will not work out, they will not come my way, I will not succeed. Experience has taught me to see what will and what will not. And intuition, as well. I have learned at very hard expense to listen to my intuition, and then to not go against it. Oh the stories I could tell you of those times I played deaf to its voice, the trouble I could have avoided, the scares, the losses.
Take this cake, for instance. My grandmother used to bake this cake all the time, and it was one of my favourites. She used to make a kidney rice that was to die for, as well, and cod pasties beyond compare. Having tried my hand at both of them, and coming out a failure - a complete and utter failure, a waste of good ingredients!! - experience has taught me that I would perhaps fail at this cake, as well. I would be comparing it to my grandmother's, and that comparison carried a lot of weight in it. It carried all those childhood memories, of being in the kitchen with her and my grandfather, who liked to watch her cook, though he couldn't even boil an egg, memories of her explaining the process to me, in her curt way, as she was busy doing things and had no time for chit chat, memories of running out to hug her legs and get a waft of her "Je reviens" perfume, by Worth - still one of my favourite scents in the whole world - memories of scampering away to her bedroom so I could play with her Chanel handbag and her heels. Of course my cooking of her recipes will never live up to these. I might have been closer to my grandad in the sense of playing with him and what not, but my grandmother has left upon me a deep rooted impression of what I think is a home.
And due to that, I felt I had to tweak her recipes just about enough, so I could say this is now my cake, my silver cake, based on hers, but my own, and it will bring to my mind memories of her, the portrait of a perfect lady in her tweeds and twin sets, her pearls and her perfume, teaching me in her less tender way how to be a lady myself, and what cakes I should have in my repertoire for when I had my own family. Thus said, here's my silver cake, based on my grandmama. It's called a silver cake because it's made out of egg whites, no yolks. I have heard it called a white cake as well, but I'm particular to silver, you see, so a silver cake it stays. At least for me!!
- 125 gr sugar
- 125 gr flour
- 4 egg whites
- a pinch of salt
- 50 gr butter, softened
- sugar and cinnamon to sprinle over