Oh, people, this heat! All week long, I’ve been coping okay, but I don’t think I can handle the sticky, oily skin, the wet humidity, the entire-body fatigue for much longer. This afternoon, in the middle of a cooking tornado in which I had the oven cranked to 400 degrees for several consecutive hours (roasted beets, roasted zucchini), I turned the radio on just in time to hear the announcer report that lows would be in the 70s, highs in the 90s, the weather muggy-uggy for the entire weekend, and my soul shriveled. I actually felt it.
Last night one of the writing groups met at our house. I placed two fans at either end of the dining room table. Maybe if the hot air was moving, people wouldn’t notice it so much? The blinds over the sink were closed, and I’d left up the ratty blanket that we hang in front of the deck door to block the blistering sun, so in the dim light, the kitchen looked dingy-dirty. But oh well. To hell with appearances—survival was all that mattered.
We sat around the table, our shorts, t-shirts, even our hair and the skin on the back of legs, sticking to the chairs so that every now and then we’d have to lean forward, gingerly peeling fabric and flesh from wood. I served tap water with ice, chilled white wine, and cake, just zucchini bread that I’d baked in a round pan and then stashed in the freezer for moments such as this.
While it was still frozen, I’d iced it with the leftover cream cheese frosting—packed with butter and cream cheese, and spiked with lots of fresh lemon juice, this new favorite of mine tastes cheesier than my standard cream cheese frosting, almost like a cheesecake (!!) but in icing form—from my daughter’s birthday cake, and then popped it in the jelly cupboard while we ate our supper and cleaned up the house. A couple hours later when I pulled it from the cupboard, the glass cakestand was gloriously chilly, beads of cold water clinging sexily to the plate’s underside.
Towards the end of the meeting, a breeze picked up so I threw wide the deck door, trying to catch as much fresh, summer night air as possible, and by the time everyone left, the inside temperature had dropped to 84 degrees, only two degrees lower than what it had been when everyone arrived, but still. It felt lovely.
Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Epicurious.
2½ sticks butter
2½ 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy, and then beat in the lemon juice, salt, and vanilla. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.