What is A Piece of Cake?

It's not just cake... but there's definitely gonna be cake.

I won’t try and make sense of 2020 here. I’ll leave that to much wiser people who have jobs (with healthcare), who are paid to think about those things. But I can tell you how the year went in my little corner of the world. With little-to-no help from the government, Libby Willis and I tried our best to keep MeMe’s Diner afloat. We pivoted and re-pivoted, and the pandemic continued doing its thing. (I honestly just remembered the soft-serve ice cream machine we rented last summer, which also seems like five years ago.)

But the restaurant we loved disappeared when the first shutdown happened—on that very bad March day when I had to lay off the entire staff. So in November, we closed our little three-year-old restaurant forever.

Throughout this very strange year, though, moments of joy kept catching me by surprise. Andrew Spena and I got engaged, for one thing. I did a lot of work in our garden. I went to Riis with an alarming frequency. Our dog got a lot of belly rubs. Dua Lipa released the album of the year!

And even as the restaurant’s future dimmed, I rediscovered something I had nearly lost—my love of cooking at home. I ran a restaurant for three years. And after working all day, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook. I’m grateful Andrew was more than happy to take that on. But I realized that I was losing touch with something I once loved. 

The joy Libby and I shared while cooking for family and friends over the years was foundational to the restaurant we eventually opened together. MeMe’s was always about the people. Then the dining room closed. And losing that feeling of community was one of the hardest parts of this year. So while I can’t host you at home right now, these recipes and stories will be the way I keep myself cooking, and hopefully muster up a little community along the way. If nothing else, I’m going to be very prepared to host a dinner party when this is all over.

So, what’s in this newsletter? Is it just cake?

Not exactly! Every week I’ll drop a new recipe, along with some extras—whatever’s knocking around in my head or in my glass. The first week of every month will be a snack cake, available without a paid subscription. The rest of the recipes? Maybe a weeknight dinner. Maybe a project bake. December has both. And for those of you who want the full smorgasbord (you do), I hope you’ll sign on for the month (better yet, the year)! 

Please share this newsletter with a friend, but please do not share it with an enemy. 

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A Piece of Cake is written by Bill Clark and edited by Andrew Spena. Photography by Hunter Abrams. Logo design by Brett LaBauve.