[derail] on sperm v. adoption question February 8, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Let's continue a discussion from this thread that got zapped for being chatfiltery. It has to do with adoption.

Okay, my response to Not That Girl got deleted. I'm not gonna cry foul, because it didn't exactly answer the OP's original question - though it was an attempt to answer an issue touched-on in the [more inside]. Since I worked pretty hard on it, and I think it's a pretty considered point of view, I'd like to get some mileage out of it. Even tangentially, I hope it's a useful discussion.

The original post:

I'm sorry to derail the thread but - in the interest of fairness - I need to respond to poster not that girl.

1) Many people in the United States do not have insurance at all. Most do not have adequate insurance. Suffice to say that birth expenses leading up to (and on occasion incurred by) IUI are not covered under many/most plans. And yes that's probably illegal, crummy, and blindsighted, but that's how things sit right now is. While adoption /will/ probably be more expensive than IUI, it will does not necessarily need to be massively, prohibitively more expensive. And there's only a fractional chance that adoption will medically complicate the life of the mother in even the way of the most routine births. My point was only that there are trade-offs in any case: financially, medically, experientially.

2) You insinuation, "overall [adoption is] much more morally vexed [than IUI]. At least with my two kids conceived with donor sperm, I don't have to live with knowing there's a broken-hearted birthmother out there somewhere" is strikingly loaded and wholly subjective. As a Quaker (I was raised as one, too, as a matter of fact), it behooves one to credit the awareness, consciousness, and conscientiousness of the birth mother's/guardian's decision to give their baby up for adoption. Not some imaginary charity or nobility: as I'm sure you're aware, on both ends, adoption is a flesh-and-blood proceeding - an investment in an individual child, not a grandiose salvation, kindness, or act of abstract goodliness. To experience or image the birth family's process as tremendously difficult or deeply emotional is fair: but to parent a child with constant awareness of "a broken-hearted birthmother out there somewhere" strikes me as tremendously bizarre. For any of a thousand reasons, a child has been given a wonderful second opportunity because of concrete, rational, and pragmatic decisions of two or more people. Adoption is not in any way about a suffering parent and a saving parent: to see it that way strikes me as a bit condescending, and even - in the case of international adoptions - colonial.
posted by mr. remy to MetaFilter-Related at 9:08 AM (115 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I'm sorry but I felt like your answer was much more concerned with going after not that girl's answers than forwarding the initial question which was already a little touchy in this environment. It seems like the sort of thing maybe better off sent over email, though I guess MeTa is okay if she chooses to engage you here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:15 AM on February 8, 2010


You really want to do this? Seriously? Here?
posted by DarlingBri at 9:26 AM on February 8, 2010


Since this discussion is about adoption, I would like to announce that I will be adopting the convention of posting all of my deleted AskMe comments to MeTa in the future.
posted by Eideteker at 9:30 AM on February 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't think you understand; mr. remy thinks he found someone on the internet who is wrong.
posted by found missing at 9:33 AM on February 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


mr. remy, as an infertile woman pursuing ART and surrogacy, I felt your first answer was offensive enough. It was a minefield - between that age old canard to 'Adopt instead, because it is easier and less expensive' to someone pursuing ART, and the "top shelf babies" weirdness, you should have quit while you were (barely) ahead.

Admittedly I didn't see your second comment, but you both acknowledge (and what you state here) seems to bear out that you are just trying to continue a debate about whether ART or adoption is better, and to discredit ART. ART and adoption are different, and people go into them for different reasons. The OP in the AskMe is on a path of discovering whether she can feel ethically and spiritually at peace with ART. Having walked that path myself, those who cavalierly suggest adoption instead without knowing whether I can adopt, am emotionally comfortable with adopting, could pass a home study, can afford to adopt, etc. is unkind.

Please don't do this. These are really personal decisions. We just had a big discussion about adoption in the blue - debate about the generalities could be taken there. But this was one person's question about guidance for her own personal journey.
posted by bunnycup at 9:35 AM on February 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Just another day on the old Metafilters....
posted by anniecat at 9:35 AM on February 8, 2010


DarlingBri: "You really want to do this? Seriously? Here"

Activate the spanking gears!
posted by Joe Beese at 9:37 AM on February 8, 2010


Note: Everyone needs a gub.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:38 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice use of "behooves".
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:39 AM on February 8, 2010


(Please put your favorites in this bag. Abt natural.)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:41 AM on February 8, 2010


Ant natural?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:42 AM on February 8, 2010


Ain't nurturing?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:44 AM on February 8, 2010


It isn't natural for ants to be behooved.
The same is not true for antelope.
Grubs are not baby ants.

Hope that clears up everything.
posted by Babblesort at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


eponysterical.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:48 AM on February 8, 2010


mr. remy, I'm not talking about a hypothetical broken-hearted birthmother. I'm talking about my daughter's actual, real, flesh-and-blood birthmother. It was a wholly subjective statement, because I was talking about me, my daughter, my experience. You'll notice the first-person singular pronoun there. It's not "tremendously bizarre." I know for a fact that my daughter's birthmother regretted her decision to place the baby for adoption almost immediately, and continued to regret it as recently as about six months ago, when she called the adoption agency asking for additional contact with us . At that time, she again said that she regretted placing the baby for adoption. My daughter does have a broken-hearted birthmother out there; she also has a birthfather who wanted, sought, and was not granted custody after the baby was placed with us.

So, a real part of my own very personal and singular adoption experience is knowing that, even though she's mine, my daughter's birthparents are regretful and grieving. I don't think it's bizarre at all to say that that is something I carry with me as I parent my daughter. I also know it's not something that every adoptive parent has to live with.

I'm sorry if you mistook my statement for a general one about adoption; it was meant to be about me and my experience, especially compared to the relatively inexpensive and completely baggage-free donor-sperm conceptions of my two older kids.

[FWIW, we did not consent to additional contact with the birthmother. Broken-hearted or not, our daughter's birthmother is also a mentally unbalanced drug addict who has threatened violence against the director of our agency and once physically attacked our lawyer, so we were not too interested in talking on the phone with her. We did invite her to write to our daughter, and invite her to in every letter we send, but she hasn't chosen to do that, so far].

Last fall, I blogged some about the adoption. If you want to read more about our very particular situation, you can go to my blog, especially the september archive. I haven't written much about the adoption since then.

As far as more general moral vexation, you could look at this excellent recent MetaFilter post on international adoption.

You say "birth expenses...on occasion incurred by IUI are not covered under many/most plans." In my own experience, my first consultation with the RE was covered; the insemination was not; prenatal care and the birth were. I've never heard of insurance not covering a pregnancy because the conception was assisted. Does that really happen? Of course, what "usually" happens doesn't matter; the OPs insurance is what matters for her purpose.

And, of course, adoption is not expensive if you adopt from foster care. There are a lot of options.

I am 100% not interested in getting into a flame war or anything. I think I've said everything I could productively say in response to this, and my oldest son wants the computer, so I'm going to go scrub out a pan and then bake some peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses.

I really hope the OP finds a way to her baby, God bless her. I hope my response was not unhelpful to her.
posted by not that girl at 9:49 AM on February 8, 2010 [23 favorites]


Yikes, remind me not to confuse bubblesort with babblesort for my next database.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:49 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the Christian god enjoy killing kids [Citation: the entire old testament]? I'd be wary of encouraging a Christian to either conceive or gain legal control over a child - they're quite likely to kill them whenever their god demands a blood sacrifice.
posted by cmonkey at 9:57 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you for not commenting in the original thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:00 AM on February 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


I was about to apologize for injecting absurdity right next to not that girl's actual discussion of the topic. But hey cmonkey just added a whole 'nother level to things so I feel like I can just let it go now.
posted by Babblesort at 10:01 AM on February 8, 2010


I flagged it, now I am moving on. This thread will not go well.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:03 AM on February 8, 2010


Foul! You can't cite the old testament for Christians.
posted by smackfu at 10:04 AM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Doesn't the Christian god enjoy killing kids [Citation: the entire old testament]? I'd be wary of encouraging a Christian to either conceive or gain legal control over a child - they're quite likely to kill them whenever their god demands a blood sacrifice.

Well, to be fair, he is kind of right. Let us not forget about that time God ordered two bears to eat some 40 kids because they made fun of a bald man.

It's cool though, that ordering the killing of children thing.

posted by Lutoslawski at 10:06 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


ah I fucked up the first link. snark fail. this is where the bears eat the children.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:07 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


blindsighted

Is this a thing?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:11 AM on February 8, 2010


blindsighted

Is this a thing?


Heh. Clearly they experienced some kind of noumenal perception as highlighted in the Watts novel of the same name.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 AM on February 8, 2010


Let us not forget about that time God ordered two bears to eat some 40 kids because they made fun of a bald man.

Yeah like Richard Dawkins hasn't done that several times.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 AM on February 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


your tags are quite dickish.
posted by peep at 10:19 AM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'd advise you to stay classy, mr.remy and cmonkey, but you'd have to BE classy to start with.
posted by mephron at 10:26 AM on February 8, 2010


Doesn't the Christian god enjoy killing kids [Citation: the entire old testament]?

Folks here were trying to hash out sensitive, personal issues relating to adoption, infertility and parenting in apparent good faith, without a flamewar.

Your contribution was to add a turd to the proverbial punchbowl. Kudos.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was cogent and restrained not that girl, good for you.
posted by shothotbot at 10:28 AM on February 8, 2010


your tags are quite dickish.

Yeah. That's not helping.
posted by shothotbot at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2010


Folks here were trying to hash out sensitive, personal issues relating to adoption, infertility and parenting in apparent good faith, without a flamewar.

apologies for fanning that fire. mea culpa.

posted by Lutoslawski at 10:35 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for sharing, not that girl.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:35 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


So – what then of the behooved antelope? May I not have her re-hooved? Is this not the place to ask?
posted by Mister_A at 10:38 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are 15 states where ART is covered by insurance (if you are lucky to work for employers with 50+ employees) and I am very, very grateful/lucky to be one of those patients. I think it's a huge crock that it isn't covered in all 50 states no matter the employee number. If Viagra can be covered and handed out for any reason, I feel ART should be too. I think it's bullshit that boners can get covered yet having a baby can't all in the name of "well ART is a choice." Yea well it's not like we're all willy nilly with "hey yea pump me with a bunch of hormones, go through surgery, and cross my fingers". Our infertility isn't a choice. You want a choice? Getting a boner is a choice (unless you take way too many Viagra and wind up with priapism).

My clomid, ultrasounds, daily blood draws, inseminations were covered by my insurance. Sperm centrifuge, ultrasound, trigger of Ovidrel, and insemination costs were too. Confirmation of pregnancy via more blood draws and 2 more ultrasounds were covered as well.

Here's some info on the coverage:

http://www.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ta_pap_icit

http://www.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ta_pap_icit

This is a topic I am VERY passionate about because I'm an adoptee who is also a covered ART patient (and success story) who worked 2 years in an infertility clinic and 14 years in healthcare, including insurance companies.

Adoption for us was on the table but I also have mixed feelings on the matter even though I am an adoptee.

In short, I wanted to at least use all medical technology available so I can carry my own and live through that experience before exploring adoption. As someone who found out about her birth story and met her birth mother, I can say that it's not all "oh they were young and in love and it's an oops happened. But it worked out since the baby was adopted by loving parents and all sunshine and bunnies happened."

Because you know, it wasn't that way. I found out that I was a rape baby, birth mom was a heroin addict who gave up my 5 year old 1/2 brother too because she was selfish (sorry, that's the way I feel). I was adopted by two well meaning yet very abusive parents and I have a crap load of therapy behind me. Finally, I was told by the OB that having a baby would be very difficult. I guess ovaries wrapped behind a uterus and adhered to it was a "choice" too. Again, thank god my state was a covered state.

In short, 38 years of a lot of hurdles and bullshit being an adoptee and I wanted to beat every one of them, including infertility and I am very happy and grateful I did. For those who choose adoption, I think that's wonderful and beautiful but it's not without the recognized heartache and loss that's experienced with the ART journey.

I think people need to be more understanding, get educated, see both sides, and support the people who are going through it--single, ART, adoptee, etc. Unless you are going through it, you have zero clue what it's about and need to open your mind and heart a wee bit more.
posted by stormpooper at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


your tags are quite dickish.

"Christian" "Derail" "Sperm"

Sounds like my Saturday night

BOOYAH
posted by Think_Long at 10:40 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gee, it is literally impossible to throw in my usual MeTa crap in this thread without coming off as a total dick. Apologies to all
posted by Think_Long at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2010


Note my second link is a different link. It should point to: http://www.fertilitylifelines.com/payingfortreatment/state-mandatedinsurancelist.jsp#Illinois
posted by stormpooper at 10:46 AM on February 8, 2010


I think people need to be more understanding, get educated, see both sides, and support the people who are going through it--single, ART, adoptee, etc. Unless you are going through it, you have zero clue what it's about and need to open your mind and heart a wee bit more.

Well put. It would be nice if more people would take this advice to heart.
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure it would be nice, but where's the fun in that?
posted by Floydd at 11:10 AM on February 8, 2010


Floydd, I will add having a sense of humor does work wonders too. My husband would send me pics of himself in the bathroom giving his sample while holding up with worse porn possible. He would text me "we're paying what out of a copay and all they have is porn from 1982? You're lucky I can even give a sample with this junk they call porn."

:)
posted by stormpooper at 11:15 AM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd take a 1982 Playboy over what they're selling now.

Your Masturbation May Vary.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it depend on where that 1982 Playboy has been all theses years?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:33 AM on February 8, 2010


Wouldn't it depend on where that 1982 Playboy has been all theses years?

FWIW -- probably in the woods.
posted by ericb at 11:35 AM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I reeeally don't think this is the best way to go about things, for sure, but I gotta say, the second part of the comment you were responding to really raised my hackles. I was shocked the person was speaking from experience and talking about comparison between their very own kids based on who they adopted and who they had via IUI. More morally vexing?? Oh my.

And I know this issue is a minefield and blah blah blah so I knew it going in and tend to just avoid these topics here, but jesus.

(In case you couldn't tell, my own standpoint is as an adopted person. With, to be specific, very little moral vexation involved--my birth mother most likely died, possibly a postpartum depressive suicide, and my birth father and his parents kept me until they couldn't afford to--it was "keep her and we starve"--and I went to the orphanage. If that morally vexes anyone, that I was raised in a loving home with people who fiercely wanted me, well...)

I know I'm being too subjective and emotional here. So I won't comment further. But just this once, yeah: jesus.
posted by ifjuly at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, my response to Not That Girl got deleted. I'm not gonna cry foul, because it didn't exactly answer the OP's original question - though it was an attempt to answer an issue touched-on in the [more inside]. Since I worked pretty hard on it, and I think it's a pretty considered point of view, I'd like to get some mileage out of it. Even tangentially, I hope it's a useful discussion.

mr. remy, your response didn't answer the question whatsoever. The question was neither about health care nor adoption.

MeTa isn't really here so that you can "get mileage" out of your "hard work." You don't NEED to respond to anyone.
posted by desuetude at 11:46 AM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


mr. remy, as an infertile woman pursuing ART and surrogacy, I felt your first answer was offensive enough.

...and...

I think people need to be more understanding, get educated, see both sides, and support the people who are going through it--single, ART, adoptee, etc. Unless you are going through it, you have zero clue what it's about and need to open your mind and heart a wee bit more.

As a father of two fantastic children conceived through ART, I agree. Let's all remember that we're all talking about something very, very deep and personal to the individuals making these choices, and anyone feeling judgmental about the choices someone else has made or is considering should perhaps move on to another thread. That one about renting a car in Aruba certainly looks interesting.
posted by davejay at 11:51 AM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd be wary of encouraging a Christian to either conceive or gain legal control over a child - they're quite likely to kill them whenever their god demands a blood sacrifice.

Seek professional help, cmonkey. Seriously, it looks like you need therapy to get over whatever grudge you have against your mommy making you go to church once in a while when you were six.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


ifjuly - I totally understand your concern about not that girl's comment, but I think there's a middle ground between "Adoption is always easy and awesome and issue-free" and "Adoption is always horrible and exploitative and laden with issues." Which is why it's very insensitive and frankly tone-deaf when a certain type of internet busy-body glibly suggests adoption as the "best solution" to any problem ranging from unwanted pregnancies to having difficulty conceiving.
posted by muddgirl at 12:00 PM on February 8, 2010


Oh, yeah, almost forgot: given the cost, effort and emotional turmoil that is (generally understood to be) involved in adoption, ART and surrogacy, it can probably be safely assumed that if you are a child falling into any of these categories, you were very very very very wanted by your parents.
posted by davejay at 12:02 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd be wary of encouraging a Christian to either conceive or gain legal control over a child - they're quite likely to kill them whenever their god demands a blood sacrifice.

lolwhut
posted by davejay at 12:03 PM on February 8, 2010


It was the best of the web. It was the blurst of web?!?
posted by slogger at 12:08 PM on February 8, 2010


As a father of two fantastic children conceived through ART, I agree.

Without meaning to make fun of the very personal stories being told here...

I've never heard this acronym "ART" before - it's not in common currency here, and probably replaced by "fertility programmes" or suchlike in the media.

Even though I guessed it was most likely something-beginning-with-A-Reproductive-Technology-or-Techniques, it's still difficult to read the comments without parsing it as "art", but by somebody who takes their Art. Very. Seriously: "It's not art, it's ART, you philistine!!!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:11 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


muddgirl, I totally hear you, thanks. And I only just after posting--of course of course--caught notthatgirl's follow-up in this thread. It helped a lot, knowing better the specifics of where she's coming from, and that she only meant to describe her very particular situation with that one child--which wasn't clear at all to me in the original comment. So, um, I feel way less jaw-grindingly twitchy now.
posted by ifjuly at 12:13 PM on February 8, 2010


I was conceived through ART (body painting was involved, to be specific)
posted by found missing at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've never heard this acronym "ART" before - it's not in common currency here, and probably replaced by "fertility programmes" or suchlike in the media.

Even though I guessed it was most likely something-beginning-with-A-Reproductive-Technology-or-Techniques..."


Assisted Reproductive Technologies. A term typically completely not known or interpreted because most people haven't run across it. Makes Googling hard sometimes - I was trying to search for quotes for the AskMe that was originally at issue here, and accidentally searched for "Bible and ART" and "Sperm and ART" and got very different responses than I intended. I have tunnel vision, I guess. But thanks for bringing that up because for me personally, I talk about this stuff a lot and would like to effort to be better understood by all.
posted by bunnycup at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2010


am i the only one who thinks that this thread should be a memail or mod email thing? it seems this is already going pretty terrible places.
posted by shmegegge at 12:21 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


(My sentence above makes no sense. I meant that regardless of place - the term is used in Australia, I see it used there in 2002 and later from quick research - most people who haven't been chewed through the fertility system probably don't know what it means. So those of us who write about ART, would do better to explain it or use more familiar terms.)
posted by bunnycup at 12:22 PM on February 8, 2010


Yeah, I don't think anyone wants to debate the relative morality of ART or its being covered by insurance or whatever. So this thread is fast approaching pointlessness.
posted by kathrineg at 12:28 PM on February 8, 2010


Sure it would be nice, but where's the fun in that?

Heh. :)

We often handle discussions on adoption / surrogacy / IVF/ART reasonably well. But it's a sensitive, difficult topic for a lot of folks including myself. Like davejay, my kids were conceived through ART, and I worked with the industry for years. Luckily, there are a few MeFites who speak passionately and eloquently about these issues. I'm quite grateful for their contributions.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


ifjluly, I'm actually a big booster of adoption. I know so many happy adoptive families and amazing adopted kids. At the same time, our adoption was tougher and more fraught than some, and I get my hackles up, as muddgirl said above, when somebody suggests adoption like it's the easiest thing in the world. The phrase "just adopt," as in "why don't you just adopt?" (often heard by couples having trouble conceiving) can send me into a frothing rant.

My cookies came out pretty good, by the way. My daughter, who is 2 1/2 now, "helped" bake them. I wish I could give one to everybody in this thread, and peace and harmony would reign forever.

(I'm doing this wrong, aren't I?)
posted by not that girl at 12:32 PM on February 8, 2010


am i the only one who thinks that this thread should be a memail or mod email thing?

FWIW, I would not have answered a private e-mail that took the tone of this post. I would not have wanted to engage with mr. remy in that way, or with anyone, really, who wrote to me with such hostility and (seeming) willful misunderstanding of what I'd said.
posted by not that girl at 12:36 PM on February 8, 2010


(I'm doing this wrong, aren't I?)

I think you're doing just fine. :) Enjoy your cookies!
posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on February 8, 2010


ifjluly, I'm actually a big booster of adoption.

I would like to emphasize this as well. My wife is adopted and we have relationships with some of her birth parents family. We have had reproductive challenges ourselves. It took my wife two years to get pregnant with our first daughter - no IVF - and we have been working on a second child - with IVF - for another two years. There is no baby related option with which I am not familiar and I have this to say: I completely support you in whatever choice works for your family.
posted by shothotbot at 12:46 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


not that girl, thanks for taking the time to respond to me--and as people mentioned upthread, your response here was calm and thorough and impressive. Really, thank you.

I do hear you. I do. I actually found myself taking a class in college about adoption in the English Lit department--it wound up being way more focused on the sociological and public policy aspects, interestingly enough. And it was such a minefield even in that academic pocket. You have people like Jackie Kay and then others like Betty Jean Lifton. And it gets intense! I myself have confusing and conflicting emotions still, with all the messy intersections of race and class and all that that come from global adoption and how they are at times at war with the very intimate parts I feel, the right-down-in-your-bones-just-like-blood family ties and love, all so powerful. I forget sometimes how emotional and heated these things get, and you're absolutely right that ultimately the point is, it's not like there's a uniform experience of it. And it's insulting and frustrating when anyone on either side tries to gloss it over like there is, and that your response, since it doesn't fit prescribed tidy expectations, is wrong somehow. So, you know...sorry if I was insensitive to where you were coming from initially. I'm right with you about being vocal about one's own particular experience and not letting others try to mash it into a tightly defined box.

(Yay cookies. I made cookies last night, pistachio apricot oatmeal ones. They had lots of brown sugar in them, which made them super caramel-y crispy. They also didn't yield a large batch, less than 2 dozen in fact. I've been struggling all day to save the last 5 for my husband when he comes tonight. It's...a losing battle.)
posted by ifjuly at 12:53 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Yay cookies. I made cookies last night,...I've been struggling all day to save the last 5 for my husband when he comes tonight. It's...a losing battle.)

Another thing we have in common, ifjuly. My husband will see on Facebook that the kids and I baked something, and we do our best to hold onto some remnant for him when he gets home from work...but sometimes he comes home in eager anticipation, and there's nothing but crumbs.
posted by not that girl at 12:58 PM on February 8, 2010


pistachio apricot oatmeal ones

Recipe, plz?

(There is no way to do it wrong in a meTa if cookies are involved. Pie is traditional, but cookies are also good. Just sayin'.)
posted by rtha at 1:01 PM on February 8, 2010


Well if we are going to segue into the schmoope thread I would like to mention the football player shaped sugar cookies decorated in Saints and Colts colors we made yesterday afternoon.
posted by shothotbot at 1:03 PM on February 8, 2010


My husband is baking bread for us to have with dinner, does that count? I so desperately want to be included...
posted by bunnycup at 1:04 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


My husband is baking bread for us to have with dinner, does that count?

Sorry, no.
posted by shothotbot at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2010


Oh, OK.
posted by shothotbot at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


This past weekend I tried to make some espresso chocolate chip cookies but I think I used too much butter and the first pan kind of came out not so good, so I put the remaining dough in to a roll pan and made delicious buttery mocha chocolate chip biscuits instead.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2010


Ask MetaTalk: I made some pretty basic chocolate cupcakes (with yellow frosting! And black piping!) for a Saints-fan's Super Bowl party yesterday. The recipe was based on a chocolate cake recipe in my Fanny Farmer cookbook. The second batch turned out really well - that flat cupcake shape that's perfect for frosting and decorations. But for some reason the first batch turned out very weird. When I checked on them after 20 minutes in a 350° oven, the center of each cupcake had risen to a point and you could see that uncooked batter was erupting out of the center of some of them - basically like little cupcake volcanoes.

Did I fill the cupcake tray with too much batter? My partner put the tray in the oven in a strange direction, and then rotated them at the 15 minute mark - could the resultant uneven heating have caused this strange phenomenon?
posted by muddgirl at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2010


Recipe, plz?

I feel bad because I think Matt's going to think I'm a self-linking spammer with how often I mention Orangette, but um, yeah, they were hers. They're best the uglier they are--you want them to get real thin and melt-y crispy-burnt-looking, and then harden as they cool. A couple for some reason stayed fat and they weren't nearly as awesome as their nearly-nut-brittle-ish siblings. I did mine on parchment paper AND spray and they slid off like a charm.

I had to put those last few away in a cupboard (out of sight out of mind) because my husband deserves them. So sad.
posted by ifjuly at 1:14 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well muddgirl, when a cupcake reaches a certain age it sometimes begins to experience what we call "discharge"...
posted by cimbrog at 1:16 PM on February 8, 2010


Oh, God, I'm sorry. I just finished re-reading that paper on lulz a bit ago and my mind hasn't quite gotten back into Metafilter-shape.
posted by cimbrog at 1:17 PM on February 8, 2010


muddgirl, I've had similar cupcake texture problems when I get pressed for time and try to put the trays in together, vertically instead of horizontally. So maybe the weird tray turning thing you mentioned was the problem.

Espresso chocolate cookies are on my to-do list, Burhanistan--your biscuit save sounds really delicious.

I love wintertime cookie baking, in case you couldn't tell.
posted by ifjuly at 1:18 PM on February 8, 2010


I refuse to read about cookies in a thread tagged with sperm.
posted by found missing at 1:30 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The pistachio cookies sound fantastic, as do the cupcakes and espresso chip...things. I guess I better eat lunch....
posted by rtha at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2010


My husband is baking bread for us to have with dinner, does that count? I so desperately want to be included...

Ooh, I baked my first-ever batch of bread this weekend. Can I get picked for your team?
posted by desuetude at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2010


muddgirl, it is probably uneven heating. In my experience, cupcake trays on different shelves in the same oven under the same conditions will often cook into different shapes. (I had this happen on Saturday, baking cupcakes for my kids.) For ovens which give more heat in the back than the front, one half of a tray may have nicer-looking muffin tops than the other.
posted by zarq at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2010


I made Magnolia bakery black-bottom cupcakes yesterday. I have a very hot oven, and I struggle to get the timing right especially with baked goods that use oil in place of butter, so the first batch came out a bit overdone. They seemed to go from underdone to overdone in the time it takes to check them...(shrug). We also had a chicken sausage gumbo in the slow cooker.
posted by Kwine at 1:40 PM on February 8, 2010


desuetude, team bread versus team cookie cage fight?
posted by bunnycup at 1:43 PM on February 8, 2010


I refuse to read about cookies in a thread tagged with sperm.

Suddenly I'm relieved that we can no longer post inline images....
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2010


(I'm doing this wrong, aren't I?)

Did someone mention cookies? It's never wrong if there are cookies.
posted by jeanmari at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2010


bunnycup, they've got the populist appeal, but we have the moral high ground.

(Was your husband's bread so very delicious? Mine was AMAZING.)
posted by desuetude at 1:57 PM on February 8, 2010


More metatalk threads need to spin off into baking advice.
posted by drezdn at 2:15 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I refuse to read about cookies in a thread tagged with sperm.

Maybe you could just put a bun in the oven, instead.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:20 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know what are awesome? My biscotti, that's what. I got the recipe from here. (Hey! One whole penny for a used copy! Stock up!). Lemon zest and almonds. Pistachios and lime zest. Butter, though. ALWAYS butter.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:23 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The bread was fantastic!!
posted by bunnycup at 5:00 PM on February 8, 2010


I made Magnolia bakery black-bottom cupcakes yesterday. I have a very hot oven, and I struggle to get the timing right especially with baked goods that use oil in place of butter, so the first batch came out a bit overdone. They seemed to go from underdone to overdone in the time it takes to check them...(shrug).

As a former star employee of Magnolia's (I say star because I was once tacitly on Regis and Kelly Live for my cupcake icing abilities. long story), I will say that I know of no recipes at that place that use oil in place of butter. I will say that the books published are complete lies - they give you pseudo recipes so you'll be frustrated and keep going back to the bakery. Most of the recipes are almost right, and you can usually get the actual recipe by doubling the sugar, butter and condensed milk.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:24 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have never been to the bakery because I live a thousand miles away, but I have had consistently solid results with several of their other recipes. Particularly the red velvet cake and snickerdoodles, and that banana cake with white chocolate icing came out pretty well the one time I did it. Other things have been less whelming, but I've blamed that on myself. I'd love to hear one of their real deal recipes if you remember...
posted by Kwine at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2010


Almost right when they have halved the amount of sugar and butter? I made one recipe from the cookbook, which was fine but not so particularly amazing, and I'm sort of sad that the recipes are all that far off -- I don't live anywhere near a Magnolia bakery, and when I am nearby, it's not like I would choose to go home and make 2 dozen cupcakes instead of the single one I wanted. (Well, not often.)
posted by jeather at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2010


Everyone needs a hug (and a cookie).
posted by _dario at 7:24 PM on February 8, 2010


I will say that the books published are complete lies - they give you pseudo recipes so you'll be frustrated and keep going back to the bakery.

Whoa, interesting! I love your insider secret, ha. I just acquired Macrina Bakery's cookbook, and I really hope that isn't the same way because it looks fantastic. I don't think it is though--the three recipes I've already made from it, Ginger Molasses Pear Upside Down Cake, Ginger Molasses Cookies, and Cream and Fennel Seed Scones (from bloggers in love with the bakery and the book), were all amazing.

I wish we could just hang out in a designated thread for eternity shooting the breeze about baking. But then, I'd like a similar thread for Mad Men, so...
posted by ifjuly at 8:43 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish we could just hang out in a designated thread for eternity shooting the breeze about baking. But then, I'd like a similar thread for Mad Men, so...

I'd like that, too, because in addition to being the adoptive mother of one and biological mother of two, and a person who got her first MetaTalk callout today, I aspire to learning to bake really good layer cakes, and decorate them decently. My 5yo son is very excited about this project as well.
posted by not that girl at 8:47 PM on February 8, 2010


The bread was fantastic!!

bunnycup, what recipe did he use? I used Bittman's from /Everything but subbed olive oil for butter and let the shaped loaf rise overnight. I don't know what makes a difference and what doesn't yet, it's all magic to me.
posted by desuetude at 9:10 PM on February 8, 2010


they give you pseudo recipes so you'll be frustrated and keep going back to the bakery.

Surely, it's more so that competitors can't copy the recipes & steal their business.

Like home brewing, home bakery is not a serious substitution threat for a manufacturing & retail business. People with the will & the equipment to make their own stuff at home will do so anyway, irregardless of the fact that the products don't turn out the same - it's about the experimentation, fun, cost savings, and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Having your brand's goodwill diminished by competitors in the same market offering products of similar quality, on the other hand - that's the major league game.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:12 PM on February 8, 2010


Challenging your husband, bunnycup...here is mine.
posted by desuetude at 10:13 PM on February 8, 2010


Cookies cookies &c &c.

Thank you so much for that link to your blog.

Cookies are just so great.
posted by thejoshu at 10:25 PM on February 8, 2010


Bread is better!
posted by bunnycup at 5:44 AM on February 9, 2010


This fucking cake sounds great to me. Anyone ever made something like this?
posted by applemeat at 7:00 AM on February 9, 2010


Bread is, like, noble and stuff. Jean Valjean didn't steal a cake, now did he?
posted by desuetude at 7:34 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd love to hear one of their real deal recipes if you remember...

Oh dear. It's been too many years, I'm afraid. I was working there back when the first book had just barely come out, the place had just reached hit it's burst of fame, it was the old owner before they started franchising and all of that.

The trick to their cupcakes, honestly, is that 1) they are simple. There's no magic thing. 2) They really do use exorbitant amounts of butter and sugar. And heavy whipping cream. Consider the banana pudding, which is secretly the best thing there. All it is is: heavy whipping cream, vanilla pudding, bananas, sugar and vanilla wafers.

The place has since been sold. The original owner - I forget her name, which she changed anyway because she was Italian and didn't want the bakery to have the connotations of an Italian bakery (whatever, exactly, those are), so she changed her name to something very Southern sounding - put most of the profits of the original place up her nose, so she sold it and now it's a franchise and such.

UbuRovias - that is quite a good point. You're absolutely right, especially considering how loathe most New Yorkers are to cook, let alone bake. And the cupcake business in NYC is cutthroat - no joke.

It was quite the place. I've iced cupcakes for many apparently famous people I had no idea were famous. This, in fact, was the topic of conversation when my cupcakes were brought on the Regis & Kelly Show. The day before, an incredibly annoying man had come in asking for me to take a photo with him. Assuming he was just some stupid tourist or West Village trust fund baby, I begrudgingly obliged. He then tells me his name is Ryan, takes a box of of my cupcakes, tells me they're for Regis Philbin, and that they'll be on the show tomorrow. As it turns out, this guy was Ryan Seacreast. They showed the photo of my and him on the TV - I looked hungover and pissed, which I was - and they all laughed at how I had no idea who he was.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:44 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


This fucking cake sounds great to me. Anyone ever made something like this?

Actually yeah, applemeat, I made an olive oil and orange cake last spring (bad camera phone pic on Facebook here) because I too was so intrigued. I put it in a loaf pan though. It was really good, mind you, but I was still kind of disappointed just because, g'ah, an olive oil cake--that sounds so amazing, you know. And to be honest, it wasn't quite up to that hype. And probably def. not up to the price tag relative to a normal veg. oil loaf cake, except for the novelty that one time. You can barely taste the olive oil; the real difference is in the texture--olive oil makes an incredibly moist cake. Which was fantastic, I just wished there'd been more fruity-deep-earthy flavor, that's all.

That result had me sniffing around though for more interesting variations, and IIRC I found a blogger describing her family's Italian Christmastime savory version involving olive oil, rosemary (!!!!!), and cheddar. I totally need to find that again...
posted by ifjuly at 10:11 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, I found it (got a little nervous for a second when it didn't Google immediately; turns out it's Parmesan, not cheddar--yummm). Here, if anyone's interested and wants to report back before I ever get around to it. Sounds delish to me.
posted by ifjuly at 10:26 AM on February 9, 2010


that sounds like some variation of the Pizza di Pasqua they make in Umbria: a savory, soft bread with lots of cheese in it that is traditionally eaten on Easter morning.

did I mention that derailing a derail with baking is awesome?
posted by _dario at 10:56 AM on February 9, 2010


And the cupcake business in NYC is cutthroat - no joke.

I wonder if this is why Crumbs' quality has gone so drastically downhill since they opened. Less expensive ingredients?
posted by zarq at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2010


Here's another variation on olive oil cake. I made this (using the optional heavy cream the way this blogger does) for my boyfriend's last birthday and it's fabulous.
posted by dizziest at 11:58 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


dizziest, holy crap 9 eggs. But there's also kinda no way that wouldn't be super good--I've heard only great things about that cookbook, and the blogger's blogroll is so tiny but includes Orangette, so uh, I'm sold. I will totally try that recipe the next time I want to live fast n' dangerous in cholesterol land for some flavor. ;)
posted by ifjuly at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2010


Wow--that does look really good, dizziest. But I'm surprized the recipe you cited calls for Extra virgin....when standard (..Sluttier?) olive oil would seem more "olively?"
posted by applemeat at 12:50 PM on February 9, 2010


For temperature control and timing, nothing beats the convection oven.

Man, I need to make my honey bread again.

What the "extra" in extra virgin means.
posted by lysdexic at 3:06 PM on February 9, 2010


Right: four of my own baking standbys are:

* The triple-chocolate cookies from the Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook

Yes, triple chocolate. Chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and cacao nibs in. And the batter is flavored via melted bittersweet chocolate.

* The pain d'epice loaf cake also from Chocolate and Zucchini

This is a really easy cake flavored with honey, molasses, and spice. Glorious, and very good as a breakfast food as well. (The author says she TOASTS it, which I'd love to try.)

* My grandma's cranberry-nut bread.

Because it is cranberry (we grow them) and because it was grandma's.

* This Italian plum loaf cake I stumbled over the recipe for one summer. It uses chopped-up plums and lemon yogurt in the batter for some reason, and was fairly easy and kept a long time.

I've also made my own bread. And my own soda bread -- and have an interesting adaptation for soda bread, found in a cookbook my Irish friend sent me once: the cookbook author called it "West Cork foccacia." Basically, you take the dough for soda bread, and instead of forming it into a soda bread loaf, you pat it flat onto a baking sheet, then cover it with shredded cheddar cheese and bake it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 AM on February 10, 2010


ifjuly, I made that cake. And it was . . . unredeemably horrible! I don't think it's entirely because I screwed it up, either. It was just gruesome all the way through. One day I will learn that making cakes because you have never, ever heard of cakes with cheese and olive oil and lemons and rosemary and sugar in them is just not a good idea and the reason you have never heard of them is that those are five great tastes that don't taste great together. Oh well! I got a good laugh out of it anyway.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:50 AM on February 12, 2010


whoa, really? um, thanks for the uh, save i guess? i feel terrible mentioning it then! so it wasn't even like biscuit-y good? did it crumble apart or something? so intrigued...the olive oil and orange cake i made was good, just nothing super special to write home about given how much more expensive it is to use olive oil as opposed to canola or a standard vegetable blend.

how can i make it up to you?? hm, empress's plum cake shout out reminded me of my favorite "always amazing which is disturbing given how simple it is" plum cake recipe: the infamous new york times original plum torte. this thing, oh. it has never done me wrong, to the point where i got pretty freakin' lazy trying to impress friends last year by making it 5 times (!) for different dinner parties.

and not quite as uncannily magic, esp. given what a pain in the ass the simultaneous whipping forever during browning butter step is, but smitten kitchen's bittersweet chocolate and pear cake's pretty tasty. we had it earlier this week topped with creme fraiche, and my guy was def. appreciative. and contrary to what the blog says, i thought it was even better the next day.
posted by ifjuly at 1:05 PM on February 12, 2010


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