Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let Me Eat Cake

I eat all night
I eat all day
My love for junk
Is here to stay
To diet is 
a phrase unkind
The thought is foreign
To my mind
My clothes don't fit
But I don't care
I'll even burst my underwear
And when I'm dead
Don't think I'll stop
You'll find my grave
With a cherry on top - Anon

I found that poem in an issue of Seventeen magazine when I was a kid and loved it so much I made a poster of it and hung it on my wall as an anthem. Not so much the dying part but the hell with you part. And not so much the junk part either because while I do often go slumming for Little Debbies Nutty Buddies, if given my druthers (and I like big druthers) I'll choose treats of the gourmet variety, like hand dipped chocolates, tiramisu from the local salumeria and my favorite restaurant's hazelnut green tea creme brulee with the candy crackle still hot from the mini torch. (I have three)

I'm also a pastry and cake snob. Not a fan of fluffy or light, I like dense and moist and covered with icing, glaze or fruit. When I see people eat the cake part and discard the frosting, I recoil in horror. That's the best part!

Being the descendant of quite a few people who liked to cook, I'm going to go right ahead and believe that along with an as yet discovered gene for being fabulously fat, and without any proof other than my own tongue, I also inherited great taste and superior taste buds and for that I'm eternally grateful.

I like the flavor of things, the way they roll around on my tongue, and that rich creamy mouth-feel that signifies when something is GOOOOOOOOOD.  Recently, I found out that I was correct in my genetic assumptions.  I took the test available on Supertastertest.com and discovered that I probably do have a gene for an unusually high number of taste buds.

Also, I've known for some time that I have a certain enzyme in my saliva that makes cilantro (or coriander to my friends outside North America) taste soapy. I wondered for the longest time what the big deal was whenever the praises of that particular herb were sung. Yesterday someone asked me if it tasted like Head and Shoulders and true to my supertaster super buds, I could honestly discern that it in fact tasted like Ivory soap. Like parsley, basil and mint, I'm wondering if cilantro comes in other varieties and soapy selections but not too curious especially since as a kid I got a bar full of those bubbly flavors shoved in my mouth for free whenever I got caught swearing. 

Coming from a big family who enjoyed their food, I didn't often have to hear anyone I was related to discussing how fat and/or disgusting they were while cake was being enjoyed. I did have a grandmother who had a very twisted love/hate relationship with food--she cooked for an army and demanded everyone eat or she'd be offended and most of her family was fat in part due to her encouragement, but here's the twist--once you ate, she'd then make really hateful comments about fat on her and others and the success stories of people who didn't let themselves go. In fact, she herself was very thin.  My mother, a beautiful fat woman, intensely disliked her mother-in-law for this among many other valid reasons and kept us children away from us as much as possible so it was more of a holiday anomaly than a weird lifestyle or even maybe......fetish. Which I didn't even know existed until a few months ago.

So I didn't have too much food/self hate experience going on when I began working in an office setting at 19. There I would observe in dismay, even disgust, at every single birthday celebration that women would stand around clucking about how fattening the cake was and either accept only the thinnest whisper of cake (and not eat frosting grrrrrr) or eat it but interject every single bite with, "A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips," or "I'm not going to be able to eat for days (weeks, months, years) after this."  To tell the truth, I didn't think such good cake should be wasted on such idiots and some of these idiots were my own size. Who were they trying to fool? They had the same chips and cookies and snack-cakes in their cupboards as I did. Hell, some of them considered ice-cream one of the food groups.

What's the big deal? If you want to eat something eat it. If you don't, don't but shut the hell up about it. Stop spoiling it for the rest of us who want to enjoy our food. Keep your food issues to yourself. If you don't like how or what I eat, be prepared for me to tell you how *I* don't like how or what you *don't* eat.  I've seen enough of you eating to know many of you can put a lot more food away than I can so don't assume I eat more than you. In fact, the thinnest person I ever knew was a proud glutton. She used to talk about eating, then forcing herself to vomit so she could eat again. She also hated fat people.  That's sick but damn...she was still thin!

The other day my friend Chris said to me in matters of love, 'You're perfect the way you are and if someone doesn't realize that, it's his issue. Don't make it yours,"  which I thought was so simply brilliant that I made it my Facebook status for the day and many of my friends copied as theirs. But it goes so much deeper than love or romance. Don't let anyone's issues become your issues. If they don't want to eat cake, fine but don't allow them to stop you from enjoying cake or even your life which is really, really what it's all about.

One afternoon on lunch break I was cutting a birthday cake for my boss. I had special ordered it because it was his favorite --moist super-fresh chocolate sheet cake filled and topped with clouds of fresh whipped cream. No fruit or custard filling...just delicious cream, and as I began to cut slices, two of my coworkers began to complain how fattening it was and maybe we should all try something else for birthdays and on and on and on and I looked up at both of them with the knife in my hand which was covered to the wrist in whipped cream and said seriously, "if you don't like it, leave," and with that my boss grabbed my arm and licked all the icing off my hand getting it all over his face and leered at the two party poopers laughing at them.

He was a big guy himself, in fact quite imposing and we didn't even really like each other but in that moment we found solidarity in cake. If only all the world's problems could be solved with baked goods but in the meantime, can't we just let each other eat cake?



    you were making my mouth water at the thought of all those delicious treats, and then I felt guilty because I already had a bunch of junk today.

    And then I read the rest, and I thought, screw it, i'll eat it, enjoy it and not worry about it!

    i'm going to grab the last cupcake in the fridge right now

  2. As usual you write in a way that draws me in and has me wondering whats next. And I get the food snob thing I can tell if most cakes are packet thanks to a certain home science teacher years ago. Hugs

  3. My mother's mother was (is) a lot like you describe your father's mother. My mother was pencil thin when she was young. Then she met my father & found out that food CAN be enjoyed... I am so glad he allowed me to experience that & I am delighted to pass it down to MY kids. (I also think I might have that thing with the cilantro that you have...)