Not to sound like a 90s stand-up comedian but what is the deal with spam comments these days? They're coming towards me thick and swift. I could change my blog settings but the codes to decipher before commenting are getting as complicated and unreadable as the spambots are blithely persistent. So in the interest of not putting off nice commenters, since said comments are so seriously delightful to receive, I instead choose to duel with the spambots. My deal-questioning though, lies squarely with that which the spambots peddle. Back in the early days of this blog, it was very easy to catch them. Y'know, :::::free viagara here::::, they'd say. Now they're more subtle. More conversational. One spambot actually, and quite sinisterly, complained about the presence of spam. I like to look at is the "click on my website" bit of the comment. That's how you know they're spam, and that's where things get weird. Well, weirder than me casually interacting with communication sent to me by robots.
Some of them are obvious - the sites they're pushing me towards have names like "Get followers"; "Make fast money"; "Free poker game", and with some inevitability, "Find out more about ejaculation guru".
But there are the ones that make me say "what's the deal with this?" I just wonder, who on this earth is out there behind the following websites that I have been urged to visit?
"Emergency plumbers in Birmingham"
"10th birthday party ideas"
"Cooking frozen lobster tails"
"Stretching exercises to increase your height" (admittedly, this might fall under the viagara category)
"Toe rings white gold"
And my favourite: "Cliffs of Moher pictures".
Wait, this is my favourite - being directed to a website called "make the truck your office."
I mean...this spam is more endearing than some people I know.
I really do find that kinda hilarious, but maybe the reason I doth protest too much about misguided spambots is that this recipe for fairy bread not only hilariously simple...it's also that for a lot of people in New Zealand, this is more equivalent to a reminder on a post-it note. The concept of fairy bread has been around for so long that I feel like I should say "recipe" in scare quotes. As for people out of New Zealand who have never had fairy bread, it may appear to have all the flavour and appeal of eating a reminder written on a post-it note.
On Sunday I suddenly felt like eating Fairy Bread. So I made it. There was a delicate and delicious balance between the nostalgia for that which I ate as a child and the grown-up joy of doing as I damn well please.
So in case you've never heard of it, or you just need a reminder, here is the recipe. (I wrote and deleted quote marks around the word recipe literally eight times just now.)
Hundreds and thousands sprinkles (rainbow sprinkles)
Cut the crusts from the bread, or not. As you can see from the photos I've rakishly given myself both options. Butter the bread fairly thickly. Carefully tip over the sprinkles. Eat. (Allowing for sprinkle overflow to occur, they can't all get indented into the butter.)
To paraphrase sweet Wesley from Princess Bride, we are people of action, lies do not become us. I cannot lie: this is really, really good. However, I don't want to imply in any way that I invented this, firstly because I didn't - it has been around since long before I was born and will surely outlive us all. And secondly because I'm not sure even my rainbows-and-sugar-loving brain could come up with something so simple and brilliant. I'm also not implying that you have no idea how to make this. It's just - like I said - a reminder. Just not implying anything, okay? Other that "yeah Fairy Bread!"
But what does it even taste like? Beautiful though they may be, hundreds and thousands are more or less flavourless. They're just mildly sugary. The appeal lies partly in eating a staple of the children's birthday party and partly in the delicious unfolding layers of texture - the crunch of cavity-occupying tiny sprinkles embedded in the salty yielding butter, and the bread all thin and airy and soft.
And it's really, divertingly, eye-flirtingly super pretty. Which, if the movies taught me anything, I bitterly concede counts for a lot.
So apart from louchely eating sprinkles on buttered bread, what else have I been trying my hand at?
My cookbook proof arrived. The name is appropriate, its existence is hard evidence to me that I didn't just dream the last year. Right now I'm working deep into the night writing notes on it and making sure everything is as perfect as it can be, with the assistance of the book's photographers and stylist (and my friends!) Kim, Jason and Kate. It was like the montage days of the cookbook photoshoots getting together with them last night to go over this. The old gang! Back for one last job! It's also why this blog post took its sweet time getting to you. Proofing the proof hurts my brain. (PS: the cookbook isn't coming out till later this year. If you read this blog, there is no way you can possibly miss it, because I will be justifiably talking about it a lot.)
I went to Webstock, which is this super-exciting conference held in Wellington every February. I had a brilliant time and left feeling all full of knowledge and inspiration and singularly brilliant catering. There were some specific things that were not cool (which became escalatingly troubling - and is outlined here by my friend Jo who also went) like some eye-rolling events of a dudebro-related nature. But there were also amazing people to meet or catch up with and incredible speakers like Karen McGrane and Adam Greenfield and Kelli Anderson (who gave me a new life goal: successfully pull off a heist.) The organisers do a breathtaking job and I'm now a tiny bit withdrawal-y that it's over.
And, my glasses arrived! As a late-onset glasses wearer, everything that is second nature to Tim, who has had them since way back, is enchantingly novel to me. I'm all, "Hey! My glasses just steamed up when I opened the oven!" "Guess what! I went to push my glasses further up on my nose but they weren't even there!" "I have glasses!" And so on. I...actually nearly cried when I picked them up, I could just see everything so much better and my eyes felt so relaxed. Now, a couple of days in, I'm still getting used to their presence - it's like constantly having a cat sitting on your lap or something, how you can drift in and out of consciousness of its pressure against your body.
I really adore the look of hundreds and thousands sprinkles. I didn't think I could love them more than I did, but they really look good through my glasses. The crispest rainbow ever. It's a small thing, but it's strangely exciting. But I think better than all of that, even better than food looking more beautiful...is how, because I have to use them for reading and computer work, I feel like Homer Simpson putting on his glasses when he does his Serious Business.
title via: A poignant-as comedown from all that food colouring, Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now.
Elastica, Stutter. Too, too cool. Sigh.
Garbage, Only Happy When It Rains. Also too, too cool. Also, missing their Wellington show. All of the sighs.
M.I.A, Bad Girls. Never not obsessed. Never not losing the ability to make proper sentences about cool women making really great music too, apparently.
Next time: I stand by my fairy bread! But I promise a really, really complicated recipe to make up for the laughableness of this one.