Cake is Good for Dinner

It seems the older I get, the sadder I get.  I’m in the middle of a self-indulgent ‘feeling sad and blue’ funk right now.  Worrisome problem: it’s been a 3 year long funk and doesn’t seem to be lifting.

I have a sneaky suspicion that getting more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, exercising beyond my half-hearted attempts at dusting, and eating something besides cake for dinner might go far to improving my mood.  There are two other things that help—writing and photography.  So, here’s something written, with pictures.

Speaking of eating cake for dinner, Boy11 has a new hobby—eating cakes.  And not only does he eat them but he likes to bake them.  And, yes, some days we eat the cakes he bakes for dinner.

Actually, I don’t think he really cares about the baking.  It’s all about the frosting.  For every swipe of frosting he puts on the cake there’s a swipe of frosting he puts in his tummy.  You should just hear all the moaning after he decorates a cake, “My tummy huuuurts!”

So when we found out that the Great American Cake Show was just half an hour from our house we had to go.  There were free demonstrations, baking-related activities for kids, a live cake decorating competition, and of course, lots and lots of beautiful cakes.

This woman was at a table with a cake form and frosting and you could walk up to her and ask her anything at all about decorating a cake and she’d teach you how to do it.

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When Boy11 told her that he knows nothing about cake decorating she took him through the very basics.  What we loved about her is that she understands the word “cheap.”  When Darling Husband asked her, “What’s a CHEAP way to practice decorating cakes,” she told him, “Use instant mashed potatoes as your frosting.”

Bingo!  Boy11 hates instant mashed potatoes.  No more tummy aches!  We got a $1.80 cake form so he can practice frosting with mashed potatoes.

At the cake show, you could decorate a cupcake.  Before:

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During.  I fuzzied out his work of art so you can’t see it until it’s done.

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Here’s the after picture.

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You’ll see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Remember these pictures of a cake I decorated?

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Uh…yeah.  You can see why I went into photography.  You can also see why we’re starting Boy11 with the $1.80 cake form and the cheap mashed potatoes.

Here are a bunch of pictures of cakes.  Everything you see in these pictures is edible.  No, I didn’t get pictures of the entire cakes.  The setting was ugly and it did a true disservice to the cakes.  I deliberately got only close-ups so one could get a feel for the beauty of the cakes without the distracting crowds or cinderblock walls behind them.

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This one is for my shoe-loving friends.  Look at the stitching on the bottom–it looks so real!

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Not sure why, but I like this cake (above) best of all.  It’s not the most elaborate, but something about the gorgeous shade of blue with the fall colors and the stained-glass effect is perfection.

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Apparently this “string work” is amazingly difficult to do.  The cake was just covered with it.

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I’m a photographer, this is a flower cake–had to take its picture.  By chance, we happened to sit next to the maker of this cake while we ate lunch and chatted with him.  He was a 10th grader from New York who was at the show to compete in the live cake decorating contest.  Here he is at the beginning of the contest.  He didn’t win, but we wished he had.  He was such a sweetie pie.

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After the cake show, we visited with Tim and Shannon as we do every week.  One undeniable benefit to being friends with them is Shannon’s Cooking Skills.  Oh, drool, the woman can cook.  And she actually likes it!  Very bizarre. I’d heard of such people but haven’t had the opportunity to study one of them up close.  Instead of the deep sighing and eye rolling that usually accompanies cooking in my house, Shannon puts on a happy face and a may even hum merry tunes while she cooks.  I’ll have to listen more carefully next time and report back to you.

Unfortunately, she fed us the most horrible lemon chicken for dinner last night.  It was just terrible.  The lemon went beyond sour and right into bitter.  It was nasty.  I’m such a picky eater that at first I thought I was the only one who didn’t like it.  I usually don’t like most things that people cook and I sit there gagging down the food that everyone else loves, pretending that it’s ok.  I was surprised when everyone else didn’t like it either.  Except Darling Husband.  He loves lemon and had thirds.

So far in the almost-a-year that we’ve known them Tim has served us raw chicken on the grill and Shannon has served us Sour-Bitter Lemon chicken.  But we keep going back.  Why?  Just look:

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Oh yes, this homemade apple pie delivered.  It was pure bliss.

P.S.  In Shannon’s defense, Tim says that in the 20 odd years he’s known her, the Bitter-Sour-Chicken was only the third meal that didn’t turn out divine.

P.P. S.  Amy—I really did very much enjoy the chicken dinner you made for us!  No gagging or pretending to like it.  For those who don’t know, Amy found out that we were eating cake for dinner, said, “Enough is enough!” and made my family a wonderful fried chicken dinner with real mashed potatoes this past Monday.  It was gooood.  I’ll bet that Amy hums when she cooks, too.

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