Dana Treat – Treat Yourself


Posted November 23, 2011

I know most of you come here for the food.  I also know that I have been a little absent here and trust me when I tell you, it’s not for lack of trying.  I try to prioritize my blog and make sure that I post but for the past month or so, that has been difficult.  I should be a little more present going forward and I have lots of recipes waiting in the wings but for now, I just need to write.  (I posted a great soup earlier today if you just need a food fix.)

My blog captures the dishes I make and the stories I have that are associated with food.  It has also become my journal, since I no longer write longhand in one anymore.  This post is the type of thing I would write in my journal.

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.  In addition to being the day before Thanksgiving, this day has become The Day We Pick Up Graham’s Birthday Cake.  Graham’s birthday is November 28th and we usually have a party for him sometime over the weekend.  This is a busy time of year in our family – my mom, Graham, one of his best friends, my best friend, and my best friend’s son all have birthdays within three days of each other.  Graham is a very go-with-the-flow kind of guy so he doesn’t care when we celebrate, but he always has very specific ideas about his birthday cake and this year it was Spiderman.

I bake.  I bake cakes.  I bake cakes that taste good and sometimes look pretty.  But I don’t do Spiderman cakes or fire truck cakes or construction vehicle cakes.  Those I leave to the professionals so for years now, we have been getting our birthday cakes at a sweet little old-fashioned bakery in a neighborhood right next to a lake.  This bakery sells parker house rolls and cookies with sprinkles on them and the boys think it is just magical.  They have old dusty fake example cakes set up around the shop and my boys oooh and aaah over them and fantasize about what they want to get next year.  The day before Thanksgiving, the bakery is crammed full of special orders.  Pies and rolls and cakes and breads are all stacked on racks with names in permanent marker.  Each one of those bundles has to be picked up today because the bakery closes for the weekend at 5pm tonight.  Which is why the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become The Day We Pick Up Graham’s Birthday Cake.

Like most Wednesdays before Thanksgiving, it is pouring today.  We got out of our car, all of us in rain jackets and rubber boots, and held hands as we crossed the street to the bakery.  As we did so, I was hit with a giant wallop of nostalgia.  I remembered picking up Graham’s cake the year he was turning four, the fire truck cake you see above.  Spencer was just under two and had just started walking (he was a late walker).  I was frantic.  It was raining.  I had a million things to do.  It was close to naptime.  How was I going to get the cake to the car and carry Spencer at the same time?  And keep track of Graham?  And once we got home, how was I going to cook all the things on my to-do list while my boys napped?  If you ever see a mother with two young children who looks totally sweaty and harried – that was me that day.  As I was getting ready to leave the bakery, a man held the door open for me, took one look at me, and then offered to carry the cake to the car.  Bless that kind man.  I carried Spencer and held Graham’s hand and the nice man carried the cake.

Today we walked in, waited our turn in line, and then got our cake.  (There were some squeals of delight – it is an awesome cake.)  I decided that the boys could wait for me in the bakery while I brought the cake to the car because we were having a mommy lunch date afterward at one of their favorite Mexican food places right next door.  I asked that they sit at the little table crowded into a corner, and out the door I went.  Not harried.  Not sweaty.  Still overwhelmed with all that I have to cook today and tomorrow but taking comfort in the fact that the boys would probably take a little nap (yes – still!) and even if they didn’t, that they will play together more or less nicely while I sauté and bake away in my cozy kitchen.

We had our lunch date where there were no high chairs or diaper changes, just two wiggly boys and chips and bean and cheese burritos and flan for dessert.  Conversations.  Kisses and snuggles.  Reprimands of course.  I looked at the two of them across the table as they colored in their kids menus, both of them with their long eyelashes and their darkening hair, and could hardly breathe for the thankfulness of my life.  My two healthy and kind children, my husband who is so present in their lives and brings parts to them that I don’t posses, the family and dear dear friends that I will cook for tomorrow, and the fact that we get to go to an old-fashioned bakery every Wednesday before Thanksgiving to pick up a special birthday cake.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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