I am a victim of identity theft.
I can’t believe this. My poor brain is flogging itself.

I won’t go into the details in this loud, echoing, painfully public venue, but yesterday I was weaseled out of the last four digits of my Social Security number by a nasty scheming liar. And then he—no doubt rubbing his hands with devilish glee—called my wireless telephone provider, bought a $600 cell phone in my name, and had it shipped to himself.

But my mother and I, an unbeatable cross-country sleuthing duo, put a stop to the madness in less than two hours. There will be no fancy cell phone for you, Mr. Evil Liar-Man, nor will you be buying any flashy hookers with the money you’d make selling that fancy cell phone. I called the cops on you, and the Federal Trade Commission too. And I’ve fraud alerted myself up and away to safety.

After all that crime-fighting, a lovely low-key dinner with lovely friends was the only way to redeem the day. Kate bravely roasted her first chicken—with lots of help from foxy visitor Ian—and likewise foxy Nicho chipped in with roasted acorn squash and squash seeds. There were also roasted potatoes with loads of garlic and rosemary and olive oil, and rounding out the color palette was a salad of watercress, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and feta. And I brought up the rear with dessert, of course: a buttery cake scented with almond and lemon extracts, with a layer of homemade strawberry jam in the center.

As the saying goes, when in a jam of identity-theft proportions, eat buttery jam cake:

Flo Braker’s Plain & Simple Jam-Filled Butter Cake

[Note: I modified the recipe slightly by using high-butterfat European-style butter. Also, I did not use Braker’s jam recipe, preferring instead to tap into my stash of early-summer strawberry jam. And I made an only somewhat successful grid pattern on top with powdered sugar, using strips of waxed paper I cut while on the phone with the police. Nothing gets in the way of my dessert preparations, but nothing.]