Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cake and cake. Make and make.

The lovely husband turned 40 earlier this week, and his sweet children do love to make an occasion, so it was deemed by the littles (who do, of course, always seem to run this show) that we'd celebrate this weekend, so those prosaic details of "work" and "school" wouldn't interfere. They wrapped presents and hung crepe paper (and the sweet boy, after the confluence of those activities, kept referring to how pretty the kitchen looked all hung with crapping paper) and they baked.

First, they baked the blue cake, because their daddy's favorite color is blue. Much went into that cake's planning, and much of my food coloring, as well. Then they baked the Passover cake, because Passover has just ended and we had one of those cake-in-a-box mixes leftover; and they know that's their daddy's favorite Passover food. Here's a truth, though: even the most delicious Passover food is unwantable once that holiday ends, and the lovely husband has been forced to feign a deep enthusiasm.

And then there was a chocolate cake, and why? Because neither of the first two cakes had necessitated the Kitchen-Aid, and G does not believe we've baked until he's swung that lever up to high-speed excitement. Plus, he handed me the red Bittman and he might become a convicted felon one day, but I'll still assert I raised him right because he knows to start with Bittman.

And after all that, we pulled a Carvel ice cream cake out of the freezer, because earlier in this week E had gone to a birthday party at Carvel where each kid came home with a cake they decorated.

So it was a four-cake celebration, which seems apt for a man turning 40, don't you think? But here's the problem: nobody in my family really eats cake.

(Full disclosure: I'd happily throw away the top two-fifths and bottom two-fifths of that Carvel cake and eat the entire middle cross-section of chocolate crunchies in a single sitting. But I don't think E would approve of my casual disregard for her detailed frosting applications.)

(But don't you think Carvel should just sell compressed biscuits of the chocolate crunchies? Like MDF for the confectionary world. I need someone to do something with that idea, please, and call me when it's executed.)

In a few days, the cakes will get stale and we'll quietly throw them away. And I know it's wasteful, and wasting food is a huge cultural sin of our, isn't it? And I've decided I'm unbothered by that.

It's cake. It was flour and sugar and water, raw materials. It was also collaboration and compromise and playfulness and siblinghood and mathematics and precision and creativity and anticipation and love for their father. What if it was construction paper and glue and popsicle sticks and paint and pompoms and glitter? What would be different?

We waste food. They spent hours making together. I choose MAKING and TOGETHERNESS over wastelessness, every time.

And even though the lovely husband usually does most of the dishes in our home, I washed them all. Even the really blue sticky ones. Because I obviously realized the role I was best suited to play in his happy birthday.

(And, one more time: happy birthday, mister mister.)

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