Sunday, December 12, 2010

Remember in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Ian Miller’s parents came to visit the Portocalas family for the first time? Everyone was nervous and concerned about the possible clashing of the two cultures and how it would all fit together. Ian’s mom did what any woman would do who didn’t really know what to do, she brought a cake. After muddling through understanding what a bundt was, when everyone realized it was cake, life was good. Cake has that effect.

Cake must be the designated food of celebration. No one has birthday or wedding pie. When the cake is cut everyone pauses and smiles. Restaurants send singing servers to the table of the birthday boy or the anniversary couple with cake. The honoree always stares and smiles at the cake as if it were a cute child.

I don’t ever remember going to my grandmothers house and there not being cake under the metal cake cover. I think women used to keep something to break out in case company dropped by. Do people just drop by unannounced anymore? I think we’ve gotten too busy and so scheduled it’s rare someone just shows up. It’s a shame.

Cake has been around since ancient times, but looked a lot different than it does now. It was more bread like with fruits and nuts and was sweetened with honey. That must be what fruitcake is, a variant of ancient cake. Can you name one person who would choose fruitcake over every other kind of cake? With all the ads at Christmastime though, there must be a huge group of closet fruitcakes eaters.

The British have it right pausing sometime mid afternoon for crumpets and tea. I suppose crumpets fall somewhere in the cake family. To slow down and have a cup of hot tea or coffee and a little cake might just add a dozen or so years to our lives.

In the last 20 cakes have gotten fancier and more complex. There’s even a TV show about nothing but cakes, Cake Boss. Honestly it’s not as much about the cakes as it is the drama of people under stress. But when the cakes are presented and cut, everyone is happy. Cake can do that. Maybe we should all eat a little more cake.

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