Thursday, January 21, 2010

Semi-Homemade Cakes! (1 of 4)

A few months back I wrote an essay about Sandra Lee and the atrocity of her semi-homemade holiday cakes. Well my charming friend Andrew, himself a lover of the "assembly" approach to cooking, agreed to join me for a day of the Sandra Lee method. We made all three cakes: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and the Heirloom Noel. As we did with the Culinary Arts Institute Party, we invited our loved ones to join us. At this point I think these people might eat anything.

It took all day to make the cakes. They were unbelievably expensive and time consuming. To tell you the truth, as we were putting the finishing touches on the final cake I was a little curt. In the picture you can see my eyes are blood shot. Andrew ate a lot of frosting and got a kind of sick. It was a friendship building experience. Serena was a real trouper fabricating a 3D Star of David out of wire and ball garland. The whole thing would have tasted better, been faster, and cheaper if we'd made them from scratch.

When it was all over and the cakes were done, I felt unbelievably proud. But I felt sad, too. Writing about Sandra Lee and thinking about her stupid tablescapes and crappity crap dinners had brought me to this idea of simplicity and communion with friends and family. The cakes, one of which was inedible, were so wasteful, so costly and I was ashamed to be so privileged to make food as a joke.

But then our friends came. Lara and Dominic, Nick and Andrew, Serena and me. We had a good time, ate cake, drank wine, and all was right with the world.

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