I'll agree with your statements about separation of display from other things and stuff being in templates not in controllers and vice versa. I simply meant that conceptually, reversing the quotes is an easy way to make it work.
And yes, as another reply commented, this is about Basset::Template, which is pretty extensively documented (I think), and actually a pretty simple system, despite all the gyrations I've rattled off here. So it should be easy for other people to pick up, if you were curious and wanted to look at the docs. But, again, the only one using it is me, so I don't know how easy it is to understand in the real world.
It's the old line about how in theory, things are the same in theory and in practice, in practice they aren't.