Tanya Bosch is the co-founder and co-editor of zain cake.
Illustration: Lindsay Mound
Tanya Bosch wants a cake that makes us happy. Currently, it is preparing to publish the second issue of zain cakesugarcentric magazine she co-founded with Aliza Abarbanel – The two became friends after Abarbanel came across Bush’s Instagram account, Antidepressants. But while the first issue was about the relationship between bread and sex, the next edition, “evil cake“ It delves into darker topics, with an article on siru-tteok (Korean rice cake is said to eliminate evil spirits) and topic-appropriate recipes like Death by Chocolate. “We thought it would be an interesting reversal of exploration,” Bush says. “To explore something very saccharine and sweet that is usually thought of as totally fun and turn that on its head.”
Wednesday October 19
I wake up to a barrage of apartment noises: a hissing radiator, building outside, and one of my cats, Solomon, frantically drenching the water from the cup next to my bed. Despite my lofty aspiration to the magazine as soon as I wake up, I scroll under the covers and scroll on Instagram, making me hungry because my feed is full of cake. Prozac, then I stumble into the kitchen to turn on the WNYC and eat a mini glazed cake with sprinkles. I had baked it the night before an event. Muffins are known to be horrible the next day, so I put them in the microwave, making molten rainbow sprinkles. I took a picture for Instagram and then ate a slice of cheddar on my own because my boyfriend is out of town, so there’s no one but cats to testify. Recently coffee has been causing heart palpitations at the level of crash, so I boil water for genmaicha tea and settle down at the computer.
Lunch a piece of milk bread from The Lost Bread Company with the rice Hummus with garlic. I’ve been dealing with a stabbing pain in my teeth and increasingly convinced it’s a cavity, as I’ve been bingeing on sugar lately, and I also believe karmic punishment comes in the form of the dentist. Make an emergency appointment.
My plugin editor is turned on zain cake, Aliza Abarbanel, is coming to dinner so we can do a final pass together on the latest clue. We often have meetings over meals; I make something sweet and it deals with the taste.
We decide on pasta for the evening, so I picked up some pachiri, tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, and pickled artichokes. Back home, I pulled some leftover orange rye bread dough from the freezer and rolled it up into little tart pans. “Did you know you have a white print on your ass?” Eliza says when I arrived.
We do some work and then Alisa cooks: spicy pasta a la vodka because we need comfort food and shaved fennel and apple salad because Alisa is so devoted to vegetables and she’s afraid I’m not getting enough of her. Then I mix the cherry jam I made over the summer with a dash of lemon, layer it on the bottom of the tart shell, and top it up with some mascarpone whipped cream mixed with honey and orange zest.
Alisa gracefully circles us while I set up the projector, then we go up to the rooftop to smoke. It’s the kind of october evening that makes you realize that winter is approaching, so we don’t stay long before heading downstairs to eat pancakes and watch Spy Kids 2. It’s for Halloween costume research, I swear.
Thursday 20 October
Hissing, masonry, Solomon drinking. For breakfast, the cats get a fancy feast (“gravy lovers: beef broth’s beef feast”) while I have a slice of the leftover carrot cake. I fry them on the stove in some Kerrygold butter like French toast. Massad.
It’s a beautiful day, so I decided to walk to the dentist in downtown Brooklyn. When I arrived, the waiting room smelled suspiciously like burnt sugar, which is unpleasant for the setting. As soon as I’m in the chair, the dental assistant hands me a cup of mouthwash and I walk out quickly, but there’s no sink in sight, so I swallow the blue liquid wholeheartedly. The dentist finally came to put some cardboard in my mouth to take x-rays, and I went over to the drone shots of the mountains running on the TV. While I wait, I promise myself that I will be brave if I need a root canal. We’re in the snow-capped Himalayas when my dentist told me there was nothing wrong with my mouth, just a ‘small’ wound I could have contracted from a ‘brittle crusher’ or ‘pizza burn’. I’m relieved and embarrassed.
I go to designer Noah Emmerich’s home, where our team gathers to see samples of the new cover. Elisa picked up lunch from Saraghina bakery On the road: olives, tangy onion focaccia, shredded mozzarella and elegantly topped it, with lau jan ma chili, and then, of course, there’s cake, both vanilla and chocolate iterations. The first is dense and gentle. The second is very luxurious and not too sweet. Noah shows us cover samples. Outwardly, they are “significantly” different from the shades of green, but they look exactly the same to me. While I’m starting to panic that I’m color blind, Noah makes us some espressos. This takes 20 minutes: he systematically sprinkles the ground coffee with water to “reduce static” and to ensure he gets the exact amount of grind.
Take the train uptown to take a graduate program class in creative writing at Hunter. My workshop is done today, so I buy a Diet Coke in a bodega filled with bong as a treat. I sit for an hour with people discussing the merits of my writing. Everyone is different.
After that, I headed away in the uptown to Sabarsky Cafe To meet my friend Tatiana for dinner. We are the youngest people in the restaurant at 30 years old. When I eat alone, I prefer dessert first, but I try not to subject my friends to this particular dietary preference, so we order smoked crepes; Spaetzle with summer vegetables, which reminds me of baby food; and South Tyrolean cheese dumplings with brown butter, which are crusty bread in the shape of a ball. It’s more intense than a matzo ball but a lot of fun.
At nine o’clock the waiter comes to inform us that the kitchen will be closed soon. We get sachertorte and apfelstrudel. The “Moonlight” sonata begins playing over the loudspeakers, clearly a way of signaling to the extremists that the restaurant is closing. Beethoven’s voice gets increasingly louder until it becomes hostile, so we hastily pay the check and walk through Madison for a while, as the Christmas lights have recently come on.
Friday October 21
I’m not hungry, so I don’t bother with breakfast. Genmaicha sprinkled with whole milk. Cats get white ocean fish in the broth. Listen to the taste audio notation Elisa and I recorded two weeks ago that we had just been released. I do this in four minutes before I get too scared with my voice to go on, and then head over to Aliza to get in on the action.
As I’m sitting on her ramp, Alisa pulls out bags of takeaway. It’s like my personal Kiki delivery service except for the suya-carrying Citi Bike ride. We eat delicious beef and peanuts with jollof rice from Rodothen work together for a while.
One of my oldest friends, Ileana, and her mother invited me to dinner at iris, followed by a musical. I haven’t seen her mom since I had cystic acne and had hair on my waist, so she told me I was a grown-up. We order eggplant three ways, sourdough bread with squash and sage, Greek salad, and then, frantically, dessert (rice pudding like Kozy Shack, which I mean, honestly, as a compliment) because we’re about to pass up Into the forest. I bring a bag of M&M’s of peanuts with me because one of life’s major joys, I think, is eating candy smuggled in theaters.
Saturday October 22
I wake up inexplicably exhausted and rush to my favorite slow morning breakfast: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I capture the drama of the reunion for a few hours, but when I find myself getting so irritable about Lisa Rinna’s mother, I realize I need the caffeine. Tea, cat food. I’m meeting my friends Sana and Forsyth for lunch at wonderful worldwhich I’ve been wanting to try for a while.
It’s another gruesome poet’s day, so we’re sitting outside. After the desired catch-up, we settle on an order. Sana was worried we weren’t getting any vegetables, so we ate a salad.
Amanda Perdomo is the pastry chef here, and it is fitting that the dessert is brought first: bread pudding with barely-the-sweet soft cream and beignets with maple syrup. I eat them to disease. Then we have dirty rice with poached eggs, fried chicken, thick bacon and mashed potatoes. It’s so good, I immediately book a dinner for next week.
Take the train to Prospect Park to meet my best friend from college, Anna, for a weekly outing and whine. We stop for a drink at Winner in the garden (a cold drink for her, my iced tea) And we complain about our stress addictions, insecure attachment patterns, and the death of romance, in a non-consecutive order. I’m not hungry for dinner, so I ate a slice of cheddar before heading into the evening, first to see a friend at a play and then to a surprise party in Bushwick. I miss the surprise and show up as the cake is served. I was told it was going to be a carvel ice cream cake, but it turned out to be a matcha cream cake that got some damage on the way. Everyone compares it to guacamole. I have a few bites anyway and chase them down with a few glasses of tequila and soda.
It’s after midnight, and I feel the sun moving toward Scorpio. Finally, I can embody the intensity of my strength. I’m just kidding. I feel ambient anxiety and feel nauseous from tequila. At this point, I’ve been taking a mental inventory of the past few days, and I’m starting to feel offended by the lack of greens I’ve consumed, along with the sheer amount of refined sugar. I am determined to be better.
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