I believe in cake. The home-made kind, mixed in a bowl with butter, flour, and eggs. I believe that the scent of the cake seeping out of the oven embraces all who smell it, making them feel warm and loved. I believe in the perfect release from the pan, greased and floured so as to insure the no-stick moment when the cake is turned out onto the cooling rack. And I believe in the icing, the glue that holds the cooled layers together, the sweet creamy confection that tops the cake, dresses it up, competes it.
This belief in cake is not to be confused with merely liking cake, and it does not take into account caloric content. My belief in cake goes beyond its delicious crumb combined with the smooth frosting and the unified taste that comes from the different textures and flavors. My belief is that cake can bring us together.
First of all, everyone likes cake. So if you want people to join on in or come on over I recommend that you bake a cake. But cake doesn’t just get people into the room, it also puts people in a good mood. A freshly baked cake makes everyone feel as if it is a special day.
That triangle of sweetness takes us right back to the best part of childhood.: to celebrations, balloons, friends and the feeling that everything in the world is good. That nostalgia lives on in the first bite (diet be damned), it still makes us feel good. To me a piece of cake is pure joy.
It makes me wonder if cake couldn’t be part of a solution to some of the problems we have in our country: the divisiveness which seems to be causing all kinds of rifts. Maybe the “us” verses “them” attitude that is so prevalent in America today would be minimized if we could just sit down together and have a piece of cake.
We all make assumptions about what, and who, we don’t know – unfamiliarity breeds contempt. Having a piece of cake together might help us to discover that the “other” sitting over there may not think the same way about some things, may not follow the same life philosophy or believe in the same gods, but…Wow! That cake sure is good…and if we can agree on that what else do we have in common? Before you know it we will be swapping stories about our families, or comparing notes on our experiences, or sharing recipes – maybe even for cake.
Cake is quintessentially American after all: layered, varied, diverse, with no shortage of flavors and combinations. So to anyone who sees me as one of the “others,” to anyone who hates or fears me for being different from you: let’s have some cake. Just tell me where to meet and I’ll bring my favorite: yellow with chocolate frosting.
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