Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meal and a Movie: Sixteen Candles

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T and I watch a lot of eighties entertainment. It brings us back to those innocent times. It soothes us. I've always said that if time travel is possible, I'll go back to the eighties. Such a glamorous and colorful time, I think. I was thin and young. The fashions were hip and witty. The music was awesome. The movies rocked. Television was at its heyday. Food was fresh and exiting (no more canned soup hot dish). I tasted pesto and sushi and avocados for the first time. I was naive and content. 

What I forget is that traveling forward in time to the oughts has changed me. I no longer think of Reagan as a nice old man who loves America. I no longer laugh at jokes that poke fun at people who don't act like me (oh those funny gays) or look like me (oh those funny Asians). Which means watching certain movies that I remember as reflecting my flirty yet chaste youth occasionally makes me feel... well... dirty. Like Eddie Murphy's comic brilliance in Delirious. Gosh, I've been quoting from that act for two decades now. Daily I utter phrases like "Goony goo goo," and "My shoe! My shoe!" But watching the DVD when it was released a few years ago was a shocking and rather humbling experience. 

I didn't expect to feel the same tummy-sickening response when watching Sixteen Candles. Although the adolescent spoof isn't quite at the same level of mean-spirited homophobic performance as Delirious, there are moments that take my breath away. It is like having an out of body experience, enjoying the movie while simultaneously ignoring all the derogatory names for The Donger, the "Bohunks," and of course, the gays (insert "f-word" here).

But I do love this movie. I try to peek around its faults. Watching Sixteen Candles is like opening a time capsule, flaws and all. The eighties were not as innocent as I want to remember. And apparently I was not as innocent as I want to remember, either.

Molly Ringwald plays Samantha, who turns sixteen the day before her older sister's wedding day. Sam's birthday is forgotten. Insecure, fragile, sarcastic, annoyed, yet hopeful: Sam is "Every Adolescent." She bravely faces visiting grandparents, a school dance, a nerd, and her sister's wedding. All the while she pines over a hunky rich boy completely out of her league. As the movie ends, Sam gets the guy and they eat birthday cake.   

Watch Sixteen Candles with both eyes (and your mind) open, and eat cake. Celebrate Sam's birthday and celebrate that it is no longer acceptable to tell gay jokes.

Lemon Drop Chiffon Cake
Sift together then set aside:
1 and 1/8 cup cake flour
1/2 c sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 t salt

Beat until smooth:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 egg yolks
3 ounces citron vodka  (OR fresh squeezed lemon juice for non-alcoholic cake)
1 t vanilla extract
Zest from 2 lemons

Add flour to egg-oil mix and beat until smooth and incorporated. Set aside.

In clean bowl beat 6 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. Add ¼ cup sugar as whites start to foam. Continue beating until whites are VERY stiff.

Gently fold whites into flour-egg-oil mix until well incorporated, but taking care to keep airy.

Pour batter into ungreased Angel Food pan and bake ~1 hour in preheated 325 degree oven. Cool upside-down.

Meanwhile, prepare syrup (I don’t measure this - just kind of eyeball) of sugar and juice from 2 lemons (should taste pretty sweet but have a nice sour note). Heat to boil to dissolve sugar; stir constantly. Remove from heat; pour into measuring cup. Add enough vodka to make 1 cup syrup. Pour half over cooled cake (poke holes in the cake with a chop stick to help it absorb). About half an hour later, remove cake from pan and place top side down on serving plate. Pour remaining syrup over cake.

Frost with 7-minute frosting or simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice. Garnish with candied (sugared) citrus zest, lemon drops, or chewy lemon candies.

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