Pardon my tantrum.

Dear friends,

Sunday was not bery good to me.

In fact, she was a cruel mistress who made me cry. Made me lose my temper. Made me wish I could go to bed at noon and wake up on Monday, which despite its longstanding reputation as the week’s unkindest day, looked to me yesterday like the place I would most like to be.

I woke up early because I was planning a very special supper and wanted to get my cake complete before noon. (Imagine this: a dark chocolate cake, layered with blackberry-rum filling, iced with vanilla buttercream icing and topped with fresh berries and chocolate curls.) I had baked the cakes Saturday night, so all I had to do Sunday morning was slice the layers, make the filling, and ice and decorate it. By 10:00 am, my cake was assembled and crumb-coated and it looked like I was going to breeze through the rest of my meal preparations.

Problem was, my fridge was full. There was no place to chill my cake for its final icing. Against my better judgement, I took it outside (where it was still a perfect 42 degrees) and set it on a high brick ledge surrounding our front porch. Then I went inside where I immediately thought better of my decision.

You see, in December, I had hosted a Christmas party at my home for dozens of colleagues. Among other deserts, I baked two cheesecakes and made the mistake of leaving them on my outdoor dining table to chill, only to discover that my Golden Retriever, Ed, had climbed on the table and eaten them both an hour before my party started. Surely Ed couldn’t reach the brick ledge out front could he? I turned on my heels and went right back outside.

Ed was on the porch, licking his lips. My cake was still on the ledge, only apparently Ed had managed to jump up and take a perfect bite out of the side of my cake.

And you know what? One little dog bite wasn’t enough to deter me. I grabbed my cake, marched inside, sliced out the edges of the bite mark to remove any dog germs, and covered the hole with an icing patch. Take that, stupid dog!

Then I removed several items from my refrigerator and slid the cake in on top of the chicken breasts that were brining for supper.

All was well for approximately 10 minutes until Mr. Mom opened the fridge and my cake came tumbling down at his feet, bouncing off the milk jug and a few other items along the way and landing in a jumbled heap on the kitchen floor.

And that’s when I went to my room and cried. That’s when I pulled the covers over my head and thought screw it. Screw the brining chicken and Mark Peel’s secret method for making the world’s best mashed potatoes and my beautiful table that I had already dressed and that looked like this:

I cursed the whole day and everything about it and silently vowed that those people could make their own damn supper and eat without me this week.

Mr. Mom picked up the pieces of my cake, put them on a plate, and then cleaned up the cake debris still clinging to half of the items in our fridge door. “Your cake tastes really good,” he told me. “You should eat a piece. I saved it.”

“I don’t even LIKE CAKE!” I exclaimed. “I only bake them because they are pretty and I enjoy making pretty things! I don’t want any cake!”

And then I stayed in bed where I pouted for a good long time. The fact is, I really do like cake. I love the challenge of creating them and making them beautiful, but in the end, I like slicing them up and eating them, too. And I like my Sunday Suppers, despite how much work they are, because there’s no where else in the world I could get meals this good served on tables as lovely as mine.

So I eventually dragged myself out of bed and made the rest of our supper, including a newly configured cake, now topped with whipped cream and called trifle.

I know, I know. You’ve heard the “my-cake-fell-apart-but-I-triumphed-anyway” story before. I’m sorry. Last time, it was no big deal. This time, it was. This time, I didn’t so much as roll with the punches, as punch back.

I can’t explain why some days are easier than others, why sometimes life’s little catastrophes are no big deal and other times they feel like the very worst thing that ever happened and make you cry.

But I know that the next time I encounter someone who’s frustrated or crying over seemingly nothing, I will remember my cake — my silly, dog-bitten cake — and I will do my best to offer the person a kind word and a helping hand.

With gratitude {for a husband who cleaned up the mess and two sweet children, both of whom loved my trifle — one so much she photographed it with her phone and texted it to a friend with an invitation to join us},

Joan, who had calmed down enough by supper time that she actually laughed when Mr. Mom said “If you ever need help with your desert again, I’ll be happy to dump it on the floor if it turns out as tasty as this one”

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Comments

  1. Joan Marie I think you’ve come up with a new dictum, “when life gives you crumbled cake, top it with cream and call it a trifle”.

  2. I would have taken to my bed with my covers over my head too. Tragic cake story! 😦 But I love how it all works out in the end. When life gives you a broken cake, make trifle.

  3. C.D.Jarmola says:

    I loved this phrase, “I can’t explain why some days are easier than others, why sometimes life’s little catastrophes are no big deal and other times they feel like the very worst thing that ever happened and make you cry.” It’s so true. And being empathetic to others when you think they’re making a big deal out of nothing is sometimes so hard. From now on I’ll be like you and think of your cake – or maybe my peanut butter cookie bars that I screwed up yesterday.

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