A Better Boxed Cake Mix and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life

Reviews and Recipes

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is a laugh-out-loud collection of essays about author Samantha Irby’s self-proclaimed “dumpster fire” life. From an application to be a contestant on “The Bachelor,” to the unfurling hate/love relationship between Irby and her demon cat, named Hellen Keller, Irby recounts her life through hilarious antidotes.

While Irby is hailed for her humor, her stories are equally heartfelt and poignant as they are funny. Irby’s candor allows her to tackle the topics of race, disability, sexuality, and the death of parents without shying away from the hard stuff. For each reader there is a unique experience, in some instances learning about a life different from your own, while in other instances feeling less alone.

And while We Are Never Meeting in Real Life may not seem like it, it is also a love story. Readers are able to watch the relationship blossom between Irby and her now-wife “Mavis” (a pseudonym for the real life Kristen Jennings). As Irby realizes she’s worthy of love and navigates an adult relationship, your heart is cracked open.

“Real love,” writes Irby, “feels less like a throbbing, pulsing animal begging for its freedom and beating against the inside of my chest and more like, ‘Hey, that place you like had fish tacos today and I got you some while I was out,’ as it sets a bag spotted with grease on the dining room table.”


In We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, Irby discusses eating all kinds of sugary snacks and frozen meals. She’s a no fuss, no frills type when it comes to meals at home. Meanwhile, in the essay “Civil Union,” Irby recounts a fancy wedding with customized cupcakes to go.

My cook for We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is inspired at the crossroads of the no fuss food Irby serves herself at home, as well as the decadent cupcakes she’s treated to at a friend’s wedding.

Most of us probably have a box of cake mix sitting at home. Even those among us who are less culinary-inclined can transform their boxed cake into a rich, moist treat. There’s no reason your at-home baking can’t be just as luxurious as a catered dessert.


Substitutes for a Better Boxed Cake Mix:

  • However many eggs the box calls for, add one more.
  • Replace the water with whole milk.
  • Instead of oil, use melted butter and double the amount.
  • Add vanilla extract (or any other extract you’re feeling!). I used 2 T because I wanted mine extra vanilla-y.

Enjoy an easy at-home dessert that kicks up the notch on flavor and decadence!

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