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July 05, 2011

My name is Juan Julian Rodriguez, and I recall when Mexico was for the people, and for really good cake.

My name is Juan Julian Rodriguez, and I recall when Mexico was for the people, and for really good cake. I will share with you, little one, the secret to restoring the honor of a people ruled by a faulty government, who are disheartened by drug wars staining the cobbled streets with blood. I will show you how to restore the temperate Mexican hills to their once-beautiful forms. And I will show the secrets to a really fantastic pound cake.

First, you will need two sticks of butter and a willing heart. Beat the butter as the cruel hands have beaten your own fragile form, until smooth. Cream the butter with two cups of sugar--for we must sweeten all pain. Pause and look into the horizon, and you will see a brighter future. For now, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the dry ingredients in a sieve. Sift the 3 1/2 cups of flour as you have seen the innocent mothers of your country torn from their children. Add a teaspoon of baking soda. Just as the sweat on the once-prominent farmer's brow, so too must your dry ingredients be salty; so add 1/8 teaspoon. Reserve, as you have reserved what little wealth you have found for your family.

Return to the wet ingredients. Crack five eggs into the bowl. With each, imagine your hand ticking off a rosary bead. Imagine God can hear you in this forsaken terrain. Imagine that the devil does not roam free in Mexico. Beat the eggs in until well-mixed. Add a teaspoon of fresh Mexican vanilla, and pause to inhale its sweet perfume. Remember that this is the last scent smelled by the proud wives of Mexican men before they faced their own untimely demise at the hands of a drug lord.

Integrate the wet and dry, a bit at a time, as you will someday string Mexico back together. Incorporate well, leaving no lumps--just as you will see this country back to glory. Pour into a bunt pan. As you place the batter in the oven, feel the hot air as you have felt the building spice on your tongue from the tacos your mother prepared while she was still alive. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and cool, as some day you will make prisoners of the swine policemen that turn a blind eye to their suffering people. Remove cautiously to avoid breaking the cake, just as you must walk the streets in Tijuana cautiously to avoid being shot. Serve with fruit and whipped cream, for the cake, like a unified Mexico, is a hard-earned delight.

And remember, my child: Cakes, like freedoms, are made with passion.