I thought about skipping my birthday last week.
Yeah, I know it won’t make me any younger by pretending to ignore six decades of trials and blessings. But I did intend not to celebrate the big 6-0 with a traditional birthday cake.
Then, my wife decided to make me a cake from scratch — a yellow cake with homemade chocolate-fudge icing. It was three layers of soft, sweet cake and chocolaty goodness.
My columns tend to focus on real food — meat — and say little about desserts. I think I’ve done a fine enough job adding on the pounds from beef, pork, chicken, seafood and wild game, and I don’t need sugary deathtraps to lure me to an early grave.
It’s not that I don’t eat sweets. Sometimes, my wife brings home donuts that she forces me to eat. OK, force probably is too strong a word. I do like the donuts at Sugar N Spice Bake Shop near the Jesup train station.
I love chocolate-chip cookies with a glass of cold milk. Then there’s the taste of my wife’s special banana pudding, which has etched itself permanently into my taste buds. She makes an excellent peach cobbler and even-better peach pound cake. She also makes a sugary-cinnamon dessert she calls monkey bread and a perfect pumpkin pie.
These desserts though are spread over a period of months.
When birthdays roll around, we tend to buy small birthday cakes at Publix or Harris Teeter. I prefer a simple yellow cake with butter cream or chocolate-fudge icing. If the cake is small, and we have two or three people to help eat it, I can handle that.
A dumb statement wrongly attributed to French Queen Marie Antoinette has been quoted and misquoted for centuries. She lost her head, you know, mostly for being the wife of King Louis XVI. It’s no surprise to me that humanist-philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is responsible for attributing the “let them eat cake” comment to poor Marie, according to history.com. That tree-hugging agitator was a catalyst for the French Revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror, using her and the poor to incite violence, according to historytoday.com. It didn’t matter if the poor had bread or cake. Political power is all that mattered.
A little cake now and then is no worse than eating bread, so even if Marie had made that comment, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Our bodies turn bread to sugar during the digestion, so I may as well eat cake in the first place.
In fact, let’s all eat cake. I’d start with a yellow cake and chocolate-fudge frosting — sort of like the one my wife made for my birthday, only with three times as many layers, all thin with tons of chocolate fudge smeared between each layer.
A slice of pig-pickin’ cake, which includes mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple and Cool Whip stuffed between layers of a buttery yellow cake mix, is a great way to sum up an eastern North Carolina whole-hog pig pickin.’
Our youngest daughter recently made a carrot cake, which despite the carrots, is not healthy. The middle layer of her three-layer cake was a cheesecake. And, of course, the outside frosting was buttery cream cheese. The carrots, walnuts and raisins gave it character. A single bite was sweet enough to make me shiver.
It’s not something I’d want to eat every day, but I can handle it once in a while. I probably need it, not being a sweet fellah most of the time. Eating cake might make me less ornery and keep me from losing my head.