Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007

The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

help me make a brain cake, by little gator

A friend of mine who wishes to not be named has advanced MS and wants to have "a funeral for her brain" while it still works well enough to let her enjoy it. I am trying not to think about the reason for this party, since she wants us to enjoy it. We'll have forever to miss her when the time comes.

I have been given the assignment of making a brain cake. I got some useful info at
Make An Anatomically Correct Brain Cake.

But am already changing it around. Their marshmallow fondant is nasty-tasting and grossly sticky.

I found another fondant recipe from my old Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

The fondant I'm using is made of powdered sugar and condensed milk.

Mr Gator was assigned the writing of a short story on the topic of loss of brain function. One thing he may put in his story is a child in virtual reality with a robin's nest growing out of her brain.

(Robin's Nest, painting by Angela Woods)

So I've made a sample batch and made robin eggs and eyes. Light blue eyes, cause that's what my friend's eyes are like. Each eye is a ball of white fondant with a tinted fondant iris and a chocolate chip pupil. Any idea how long this will keep in the freezer?

I'm experimenting with shapes and sizes of pans for the cake itself. The page listed above has the cake as a lateral profile, but I'd prefer something rounder that looks like a view from above. As another friend said, that just looks "brainier." The top bit will be from a round-bottom pan and the whole brain will be cut into "hemispheres.'

I tried my mixing bowl but it was too deep and the inside didn't cook right. Maybe 2 layers, one in a flat round pan and the other in the mixing bowl, but not as deep?

There will be walnut halves in the batter. The cake flavor is unimportant but (sob) I can't eat chocolate so it will be chocolate free cake and icing.

Then I will assemble the cake and ice with pink/red buttercream. On top of that I will arrange coils of grey-tinted fondant looking like brain-wrinkles. Some of the frosting will show through between the coils. The eyes will be attached by red licorice strings, with maybe a bit of coconut shreds.

If I add the birds nest, it will be made of red licorice too.

Since my friend loves lolcats, I will submit the cake's photo with the caption "brain cake saw what you did there."

I welcome all advice.

(Knitted Brain, by Karen Norberg, from The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art)


Sunday, April 20, 2008

HAPPY PESACH! -- by Maggie Jochild

When I lived in San Francisco during my 20s and 30s, the dyke political community that was my base was over 50% Jewish. Every Passover, we had a community seder, with a cobbled together haggadah, secular and feminist revisionism, and tons of singing. After the first one, I couldn't imagine how I'd gone my whole life without this meaningful watershed event. It became one of my top three holidays (along with Halloween and Rosh Hoshanah).

I love tsimmes, kugel, matzoh brei (the next morning), brisket, and charoses. I hate the taste of parsley (bitter indeed) and am not wild about wine. When we'd recount the Ten Plagues, we'd dip a finger into our wine and flick the drop onto our plates while shouting "Feh!" after each plague. We kept an orange on the seder plate, and we often included the Yemeni Jewish practice of flogging each other with green onions during the escape from slavery section of the story, which often turned into a free-for-all around the entire house. We stressed the role of Miriam, noting how powerful women are maligned and accused of anything under the sun to keep them from sharing leadership, and we set out a cup for her as well as Elijah.

But especially, I loved the songs. Below are my three favorites.

One is a hilarious rap remix of Dayenu done by a couple of yeshiva homeboys.

Eliyahu Hanavi is given a haunting rendition by the Vienna Jewish Choir, conducted by Roman Grinberg.

The last is Go Down Moses, sung by a genuine African-American radical, Paul Robeson -- the most sacred part of every seder for me.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Fighting Geoducks

Making good on my threat in the previous thread, here is a photo of Speedy Geoduck, mascot of Washington’s official hippie college, The Evergreen State College (don’t forget the definite article!).

The Geoduck Fight Song
by Malcolm Stilson, 1971
Go, Geoducks go,
Through the mud and the sand, let’s go.
Siphon high, squirt it out,
Swivel all about,
Let it all hang out.
Go, Geoducks go,
Stretch your necks when the tide is low
Siphon high, squirt it out,
Swivel all about,
Let it all hang out.

Digging for geoducks is not easy. They dig fast, and you have to wield your shovel even faster to catch one, hence the nickname “Speedy.” The word is pronounced “gooey-duck.” Don’t ask way; that’s just the way it is. After you’ve dug like mad and covered yourself with muck, this is what you get:

Don’t freak out too badly, it’s just a clam. Here’s what the TESC website has to say: The geoduck is a mollusk native to the Pacific Northwest. The geoduck is the largest burrowing clam in the world, weighing in at anywhere from one to three pounds at maturity. The appearance of geoduck’s large, protruding siphon has led to the belief that the geoduck has the properties of an aphrodisiac. The geoduck has a life expectancy of up to 150 years with the oldest recorded at 163 years.

When I was with Puddletown Dancers, the gay square dance club in Seattle, we gave a festival every year called the Geoduck Jamboree. Of course no one from the other clubs around the country knew what a geoduck is or how to pronounce the word. That was the whole idea; we were enlightening them. After about ten years, saner and more boring heads prevailed and the festival was re-named “Spin the Needle.” How tedious. Nevertheless, I still have a hot pink t-shirt depicting a geoduck wearing a cowboy hat. It’s an extra-small, and I’m not sure I can still squeeze my matronly body into it, but I wouldn’t think of getting rid of it.

No bad for an ugly bivalve.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Rock, Chalk,Jayhawk!

Jayhawk Baby goes for a 3 pointer as she celebrates
KU's win over the Memphis Tigers, in overtime, 75-68!!!

Okay, I know I'm probably the only one on this blog who even cares about this, but trust me, around here, we're pretty happy. Yes, I live in Missouri, but as Lawrence is only 4o miles away, and both my kids went to school there (one of 'em will even be graduating this December) Kansas is my school, then, now and always!