Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Cake

Today was a day for comfort food. Not because of anything out of the ordinary; just a need for some solace in the form of chocolate...and only one kind would do.

My grandma's chocolate sheet cake made from "scratch"...one recipe I had never tried to replicate before today. Her recipes are sacred to me; the tastes of my childhood wrapped up in her cooking and baking and the doing of it so effortlessly.

Never before has cocoa and sugar and flour together looked so pretty.

Suddenly I was six again; transported back in time to my grandma's kitchen, standing beside her on a white kitchen chair waiting for the next cup full and spoon full and tiny little lick.

A bubbling concoction of butter and oil and water on the stove; my grandma in her apron stirring it just so.

The flour, always sifted, followed by sugar and cocoa, and salt...just a pinch.

And as I followed her recipe, that I'm sure she knew by heart and still does today, I can hear her giving me the tips she so lovingly wrote on each of her recipe cards, because she knew I would doubt; especially that first time.

My mouth starts to water, and my eyes start to sting, because please don't let me screw this up, not today.

Next comes the frosting, the oh my word, melt in your mouth, little piece of exquisite chocolate heavenly frosting.

My past and my present suddenly collide, as children wander in, wondering what is she making? and what is that smell? and what kind of a cake is it that didn't come out of a box? I try to explain, but they'll just have to wait and see, because once you have this, and they never have, you can never go back; no cake will ever taste as good as this.

Only one snag, I didn't have the correct pan; an 18 x 11 jelly roll pan; but I improvised and prayed and one look and I knew, it was right and heavenly and everything I remembered it to be.

Who thinks this is the best cake they've ever had? yelled my kids...all hands raised up high.

Suddenly, it's not really about the cake, but the memory of the little girl me, eating until my belly ached but always having room for just a little more; and the smells of my grandma's kitchen and wanting to give my children these memories; passing down the recipes, wrapping them up with love, and knowing that we can never go back.

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