Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Lasting Effects of Chocolate Cake

I am standing in my kitchen, frosting a huge dark chocolate fudge cake with Chocolate Lover's frosting, from the frosting recipe on the back of the Hershey Cocoa can.

I am an artist and food is one of my favorite mediums. I must make this cake half a dozen times a year. Whenever the kids see me frosting it they start bouncing off the walls, shouting incoherent silliness about "Mommy's chocolate cakes"...

"You're doing a great thing there, with that cake," Derek suddenly states. I didn't know he was watching me and now I am self-conscious of my sweeping strokes, and sneaked tastes.

He is quiet. I look up and gesture for him to elaborate. "I mean, this isn't just a chocolate cake. This is a memory, a tradition. This is something that the kids will always remember. One day, when they call to say their coming home from college for the weekend, I'll tell them, 'Your mom made a cake', and they'll feel just as loved and excited then as they do now."

He's right. They are excited.

Carson is bouncing around the kitchen, sneaking tastes of frosting from the bowl, which I see but keep to myself, and offering to get the dessert plates and forks, to help, to be a part of the fun of cutting and serving it. We always serve chocolate cake on small fancy glass plates, with small dessert forks.

Lane is shoveling the rest of his dinner into his mouth at lightning speed. After all, delectable desserts cannot be eaten unless your plate is cleaned.

Matthew is clearing his glass dinner plate from the table. It lands in the sink with a resounding crash, causing all of us to jump. Poor kid. He can't help it that the top of his head just barely reaches the counter top. I decide not to say anything about tossing glass into the sink. Not many 4 year olds clear their plates without being asked. And he's not used to having glass - we just started giving him a regular dinner plate instead of plastic.

I absolutely love to cook and bake. Any person who has ever been to my house knows this. I absolutely love good food. But my favorite? Cooking good food for my family. For me, it is one of the most tangible ways that I can show love to them.

Of course, good food does have it's cost. On my hips and thighs (sigh). But for me, it's a small price to pay. I am investing, daily, in the lives and memories of my family. And learning to only have a small slice...
One day they will look back upon their childhood with nostalgia for all those favorite dishes that remind them of love and make them feel known and nurtured.

With that in mind, I welcome with open arms the lasting effects of chocolate cake.