Ever been slapped upside the head by a forgotten Memory?
I’m not talking about the memories with short-cut, easy-access triggers. Those are the ones you use from every day, stuff like your computer password, social security number and how to drive a car. Other recollections get misfiled in dusty cranial drawers so when you need the information, you walk around feeling stupid for five minutes, saying, “I know (fill in the blank) like I know my own name, what is it?” I’m talking about the memories that pop up out of nowhere and surprise the heck out of you. That happened to me today. You could say it was a random accident or because Father’s Day is coming up soon. Personally, I think the culprit is cake.
See, dense sugar/carb sweets are like cocaine to me and I’ve been trying to live without them for the last 14 months or so. I’ve been doing pretty well with that too, not even missing the pastries I couldn’t live without before. At least until a couple of things that happened lately….
See some friends did us a wonderful favor. I mean HUGE. And nothing says “Thank You” to a friend like bringing them a great, big, gorgeous, dessert you’ve made yourself. But nothing will get me in trouble faster than getting my fingers near cake batter So, I purchased and froze one angel food cake, two cartons of ice cream, some strawberries and whipped topping. The frozen angel food cake was sliced into three layered rings, ice cream was spread like mortar between the layered rings, the whole thing was frosted with topping and strawberries and the result?
One “Thank You” cake pretty enough for the cover of Southern Living that still managed to avoid the perils of temptation…barely. But then, there came the cookout.
Cookouts are almost an obligatory component of summer, like visitors. Since we were hosting the latter, we had the former. And (because you can’t host a cook-out without dessert), pound cake and fruit were on offer for dessert. A dessert no one had room to eat. So after the cook-out, I’m stuck at home with a pound cake.
Does anyone remember Richard Pryor’s routine about the cocaine pipe? He swore that the pipe talked to him when he was actively freebasing. Now, when I first heard it, I thought he was a brilliant comedian, during the misery of addiction into performance art but I didn’t really believe the pipe talked. Well folks…the cake started talking.
VOICE IN THE KITCHEN: Lessslie. Oh, Lessslie… I’m heeere.
ME: Shut up, cake. I don’t want you.
VOICE IN THE KITCHEN: Now, we both know that’s a lie. You liiiike me. Come on over here.
ME: No. Go Away.
VOICE IN THE KITCHEN: You want me to go away? You know how to get rid of me.
Cake wouldn’t stop talking until I left the room and went to bed. Right after I cut out one thin slice.
Next morning, I’m back in the kitchen and cake’s voice is stronger than ever, which makes no sense since there’s less of him now on the plate. I’m actually considering eating a slice for breakfast when I heard one of my dad’s favorite records playing:
You came…and I was aloooone
I shudda knooown
You wuz Tump-TAY-shun
This was a speeded-up, country version of the old standard Red Ingle and Jo Stafford recorded. Dad loved because it sounded so silly. I hated it. I hadn’t heard of or thought of the recording for years, but here it was, plain as day.
I stood there, looking at Cake and listening to Stafford moan and yowl her way through the lyrics. When she got to,”Take it Away, Take it AWAY” the memory meaning clicked in my head. That cake was Tump-TAY-shun and I had to take it away or, succumb.
Well, somewhere in this favored land, 95% or more of a pound cake lies in wait, looking to seduce some other poor chump jonesing for sugar. But not in my house. And I have the memory of Dad’s music choices to thank for this. And I’ve decided, no matter what the occasion, I’m not bringing cake back into my house for awhile. It’s one dessert that doesn’t know when to shut up.