Tip of the Week

July 05

Tip of the Week

If you have cake decorating skills . . . say, wedding cake decorating skills . . . don’t tell anyone.  Should someone find out, feign incompetence.  Now, I’m not saying to lie, mind you, just, you know, use modesty to excess when explaining what your skills are.  At the very least, if you do a wedding cake for anybody, make them sign a confidentiality agreement that forbids them from mentioning you by name in connection with cake.

Otherwise your name will be passed around by people.  People like . . . let’s say . . . your mother.

“Oh, I’m really trying to quit the wedding cake thing.  The arthritis in my hands is getting bad; but E. could probably do it for you.”

I was in the mildly nauseous, extremely exhausted first trimester of my last pregnancy that time.  If that wasn’t bad enough, in the midst of that day’s cake making I had to go outside for some reason and a wasp stung me smack dab on the tip of my nose.

“Oh, I’m not really doing wedding cakes much any more.  What with being an elected official now, I just don’t have much time; but my daughter E. might be able to do it.”

Then I got the flu and was still recovering when the day came to make that cake.  I sanitized every square inch of my kitchen and wore something akin to a surgical mask throughout the whole process, since my hacking cough had not fully subsided.

Of course, this one was the best of all:
“Oh, I’d love to help you out but it’s my 40th wedding anniversary that weekend and we’re leaving town on Thursday.  E. might be able to help.”

Geesh.  Of all the laaaaaaaaaame excuses (insert grinning, winking smiley here to indicate that this is a joke and I fully agree it is a great excuse . . . but I can’t insert smileys with Windows Live Writer, or if I can I don’t know how).

Honestly, I’m glad I was able to help the bride a groom today.  They were supposed to get married in a month or two, but then his father was diagnosed with some type of aggressive cancer and was told he might very likely not be around by then.  They moved the wedding back to this weekend to ensure the groom’s father could be there, but with such short notice they couldn’t find a bakery to do the cake.

But let’s get back to the point, shall we?  If you have wedding cake skills, don’t let anyone know.  They will ask you to do cakes and you, thinking, “Why the heck have these skills if I’m not going to use them?” will say yes.

Then, the day of the cake making (and believe me, it takes at least a day) will come and you, thinking, “For the love of all that’s holy, if anything goes wrong with this cake I’ll ruin the bride’s entire wedding!!!!” will say, “What on earth was I thinking.”

Because see, here’s the thing:  if you serve bad shrimp at your reception, everyone will be sick the next day, but at least your wedding day will have been perfect; if you’re mustachioed aunt with the obnoxiously loud voice and halitosis gets a little rowdy at the reception, all the guests who notice will know you had to invite her and give you a pass, so your wedding day will still have been perfect; if, for some unnamed reason, the DJ shows up without “your” song, some cousin is bound to have it on his iPod and will mysteriously yet effortlessly be able to hook it up to the sound system, and your wedding day will still have been perfect;  but if the wedding cake doesn’t show up, or if it shows up all smashed and with kiddie fingerprints and dog hair in it, everyone will notice and your wedding day will be ruined.

Ruined, I say!  Ruined!

Because nobody goes to a wedding without expecting a little cake.  You know what I’m saying?

And, being a girl and all, I know how most girls tend to dream about their wedding day for years before they’re even old enough to get married, and not one, NOT ONE of those dreams includes a smashed or AWOL wedding cake.  Or dog hair.

The stress really gets to you when you’re the one responsible for the Wedding Cake.  As you are making the darned thing you imagine everything that could possibly go wrong:  a kid sticking his finger in it; the St. Bernard wandering unnoticed (the stress gets to you) into the kitchen and taking a big chomp or, worse yet, shaking his white dog hair all over it; dropping a layer on the floor as you are maneuvering things around; the electricity suddenly going out when the biggest layer is half way through baking, etc.

As bad as all that stress it, it is nothing compared to what you imagine while you are delivering the cake:  That car behind me is going to rear-end me; that car beside me is going to sideswipe me; that car in front of me is going to stop suddenly and I’m going to rear-end it, etc.  I was putting 95-year-olds to shame tonight with my slow and steady driving skills.  I was so into that assured clear distance thing that any airplane in an emergency situation could have landed on the highway in front of me.  Sloths have taken corners faster than I did.

When I got to the home where the reception will be tomorrow, I was greeted by two girls, about seven years old, skipping around with their sparkly princess wands, ooooing and ahhhhing over the cake.  They didn’t want to back off.  At one point I thought one was going to stick her nose right in it.  But I didn’t care.  My job was done.  I delivered the cake safely.  No rear-ending, no sideswiping, no kitchen fires, no tripping while carrying the cake to and fro.  My dogs and my kids can not damage it between now and the wedding.  If those kids do . . . not my problem (she said in a deliriously sing-songy voice)!

The stress, people. I’m telling you . . . THE STRESS!

Before I close here, I must acknowledge my children who, today, were simultaneously as close to angelic as they have ever simultaneously been, ever.  I told them to go play and please stay out of the kitchen, and they did.  Not only did they do it, they played nicely (meaning nobody broke into fits of wailing and/or screaming) almost the entire time.  Good as gold.  They must have sensed the stress.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello, but he’s not making you a cake.  Not tonight, anyway. 

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