Spring cleaning has come just a tad early this year. There is no fine green haze of tender leaf buds tipping my borough of trees yet, and hardly a thick and rubbery stem pushing up from now friable soil to splash a frilly head of pastel flower. March is straddled and struggling between two seasons and as nondescript as a zoo without a lion or lamb. This, of course, will change, and typically at a moment's notice. I refuse to miss one second of it, vigilant at the window, scanning for a sign of sweet, new life that will compel me to seize the day, to grab my camera and go. So it is now that I am organizing my space in anticipation of abandoning it: bending, lifting, crawling and hauling to dust and stylize a home that has been suffering a benign neglect over the gray dormancy of the last few months. It is backbreaking work, none so straining to the spine as the collection of my cookbooks. There are well over a hundred of them now, and hunting them down, scuttling under bed, tables and chairs in an ungainly limbo dance before dragging them back to their proper, sturdy shelves has been a bit of an ordeal.
You'd think I'd be able to bask in the reflection of all those slick book jackets lined up in crisp military formation, but I have a greater task at hand. And this is where I need your help. I am scheduled to bake for a literary-minded food-blogging event by April 4. I've long ago selected the author, the novel, the character, and the scene, but I am paralyzed to fix my focus on a flavor. My cookbooks are no help at all, because they are too many. It will be a grand cake, in keeping with the occasion of the story, but outside of the general style, the choices are staggering. I have painfully narrowed them down to three: nut, fruit or chocolate, and have fashioned a ballot box in the sidebar of this blog for you to vote your personal favorite, available through March 27. I would be very much obliged to you if you weight in on this sweetly important issue and will be keenly motivated by the result. I hope you will enjoy the interactive play as much as I already am in gleeful anticipation. You could even look at it this way: this is probably the only time you will ever be able to make me do anything. Seize the day.