Help, I need a different brain!

My most recent birthday in July.
My most recent birthday in July. Yes, that is a LOT of candles!

So it’s really not my fault! Gretchen Reynolds in today’s New York Times writes about the different responses of obese and normal weight women watching other women exercise. During this discussion she says — just as if everyone knew:                                                         

For some time, scientists have known that many overweight people’s brains operate differently than the brains of thinner people when they look at images related to eating. In previous neurological studies, when heavier volunteers viewed pictures of food or food preparation, they typically developed increased activity in portions of the brain involved in reward processing, or an urge to like things, including in an area called the putamen. At the same time, their brains showed relatively blunted activity in areas that are thought to induce satiety, or the ability to know when you are full. These changes generally are reversed in the brains of thinner people shown the same images.

Oldest daughter's apple bundt birthday cake in October.
Oldest daughter’s apple bundt birthday cake in October. Note skulls on platter!

Well, no one told me. I am hard-wired to never know when I’ve had enough to eat, and I’ve got a overactive brain part with “Spanish for lady of the night” as its first syllable. Appropriate, eh?, since all self regard and care can be pimped out as soon as chocolate arrives on the scene. Or nuts. Or chips. Or cake.

So, of course, this week we have two birthdays — Stoic the Vast’s and our youngest daughter’s. I believe everyone should have a birthday cake but in the interests of money and calories, I’m going to ask them to share one this year. It’s going to be Saveur magazine’s classic Boston Cream Pie.

According to the Oct. 2012 issue, a French pastry chef named M. Sanzian invented the dessert at Boston’s Park House Hotel in 1856. One hundred forty years later the cream pie, which is really a cake, was named the official dessert of Massachusetts.

I’ve never made one before, and I plan to use the last of the vanilla beans the birthday girl brought from Tanzania last year. When opened, they perfume the entire first floor of our house. I also plan to eat a small piece and encourage the birthday peeps to finish it off. We’ll see what my putamen has to say about that!

Perfect rainbow cupcakes made with granddaughter Morgan.
Perfect rainbow cupcakes made with granddaughter Morgan.

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