Thursday, April 7, 2011

One Person's Plain is...

Plain chocolate sheet cake. That's all husband wants for his birthday.

Ten years, and I still don't get it. The word "plain" just goes against the whole concept of celebrating a special date.

Growing up, I never had a party like kids have today. A birthday meant all my family coming over, singing, blowing out candles, and opening presents--and I thought that was special...still do. There were no balloons, no goodie bags for the guests, no themes, no special location.

BUT, my mother always made my cake. While there was the fondant-before-fondant-was-cool experiment for my 16th birthday, most years, she made "my" special cake--chocolate, chocolate coated with pink boiled marshmallow icing.

Perhaps this history with simple celebrations is why I have a hard time conceiving of birthdays as anything other than a time to eat cake and open gifts, except now that husband and I are older, sometimes we skip the "gifts" part, leaving me with nothing but cake to give as my love offering.

Plain cake, remember.

I'm the woman who my family gives something baking-related when they can't think up a gift for me. My cabinets are full of a dozen or so different-shaped bundt pans, two deep rows of holiday-themed sprinkles, all the supplies needed to mold gum paste flowers or roll out (attempted) fondant masterpieces, and a huge file on my computer of cake pictures I'd like to recreate myself.

And yet, husband wants a 9x13 rectangle!?

In years past, I've fought this plainness. But this time, I just did as asked, then went outdoors to join The Order of the Watering of the Sod for a couple hours.

Halfway through, I took a break to feed three ravenous children the casserole leftovers from last night and went back to watering. Less than ten minutes later, big brother Wyatt ran outside and screamed, "The babies are eating daddy's birthday cake!!!!"

With news of the cake's impending demise, I found I was suddenly quite fond of that plain rectangle.

Flinging off muddy clogs without stopping at the threshold and leaving soggy prints in my wake, I rounded the corner to the kitchen, twins starting to cry loudly upon merely catching sight of me.

Caught. Brown. Fingered.

In their economy, cake was cake. No matter its appearance, it was irresistible.

Tolstoy said, "To sin is human business, to justify sins is a devilish business."

Thankfully, there was no justifying with this sin--just crying. Then again, I guess it's hard to justify a sin when your mouth is full of chocolate frosting.

Sounds like something I should try sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. Cake is cake, my dear. I enjoy the fancy things too; however, cake is cake. Be it from a bundt pan, , 5 layers high, or a little bit lopsided and fallen like ours today, cake is cake. And any way you slice it, it's a little piece of home-baked love ... with frosting. <3