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Cakes and kids

Jonathan posted a good story about Moll recently. Here are stories about Rivkie and Tziona too.

I finally put my foot down with Rivkie about getting her ears pierced, telling her it would have to wait until she was 12. Then yesterday she was walking around with a jewel-sticker stuck to her nostril. "What's that?" I asked. "How long do I have to wait until I can get my nose pierced?" she asked. (She is also keenly interested to know at what age I will allow her to start dying her hair blue.)

Tziona was just babbling something to me that sounded like a complaint that their babysitter wouldn't give her gum, and that she hadn't "axed" us for permission. I think her speech should be called Tzi-bonics.

And the cake I slaved over last week for hire? Well, on the advice of my local food guru, I made the thing, and the minute the clients took it off my hands, went to the computer to tot up how much it cost me to make. 152.36 shekels to be exact. What price had I agreed upon with the punters? 150 shekels. LESSON LEARNED. My guru tells me that commercial bakeries buy all their supplies wholesale, then set their prices by tripling the cost of the ingredients. Had I done that, I would have walked off with over 450 shekels and the sense that my money plus 6 hours of labor had actually been rewarded. My mistake was to remember what the Stop and Shop bakery used to charge for the girls' birthday cakes. They, with their commercially equipped bakery, their Redi-whip frosting, their plastic dolls, and cans of edible spray paint.

Anyhoo, here's the link to this fancy cake, and all the rest: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22105194@N07/


The rogue three-day yuntif

I never thought of Yom HaAtzma'ut as a three-day yuntif.  But this year, being pushed to Thursday, that's what it's turning into.  That, and my planning incompetence.

Yom HaAtzma'ut is celebrated here in Israel (where the temperatures are generally around 80 degrees F and ideal BBQing weather) by massive grilling orgies.  People have told us that Israelis take their grills (they sell small disposable grills at this time of year) and stake out a few square meters wherever they can find them, including on the highway medians.  (Of course, we have also heard that traffic is a nightmare on Yom HaAtzma'ut, so have never ventured to a highway big enough to have a median to check if it's true.)  Fortunately, we've been invited out, so I don't actually have to cook.  But I offered to bring my tastebud-tantalizing quinoa-mint-orange salad and a cake.  Sound simple?  It's NOT.  Ever since I took the introductory Wilton cake decorating class last February, a cake is no longer just a cake.  It's a major production.  Hours of work, swearing at my kids who haplessly venture into the kitchen looking for food, sending Jonathan to the store to pick up ingredients we've run out of that never made it to the list we used to shop THAT MORNING.  And today the cake mix I used to make the cake turned to stone on the edges and left warm liquid goo in the middle.  By the time it was cooked enough to come out of the oven, I had to cut off the edges to avoid damaging anyone's dental work.

Then there's Friday.  We're having that old Shabbos standby, spaghetti and meatballs.  Sound simple?  IT'S NOT!  Knowing I was making a cake anyway, I offered to make a birthday cake for friends who are having about 30 eaters for a birthday party for Savta.  18" x 26" chocolate with white buttercream (vanilla) frosting and purple and blue roses, plus writing (though she hasn't yet told me what to write).  Given the disaster with the cake for Yom HaAtzma'ut, I called my cooking/baking guru who said to use her devil's food recipe which produced a lovely cake.  I'm just nervous about making such a large cake, stacking the layers, and budging them up against each other with any competence at all.  When I told my guru what I'm charging for the cake, she moaned.  "Half of that is going toward your ingredients," she said.  At least I made the flowers today and put them in the freezer for Friday morning. 

And, of course, Shabbos.  We've invited a new family with 7 kids for lunch.  I think I'll make apple crisp for dessert.

While I'm grateful to be married to a man who doesn't beat me up, I would be grateful for a nudge once in a while, just to help me get past the amnesia that seems to overcome me whenever I think about making a cake.



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May 2008


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