Saturday, May 8, 2010

Help My Cake Has Fallen and it Can’t Get Up

I am going to be having some guest bloggers in the up coming weeks. I hope you enjoy them, I know I am thrilled to have these lovely women helping me out.

First off is my mom, Tobi Kibel Piatek.
Thank you so much mom! I love you, Happy Mother's Day.


While Farmer Jo is taking a break from writing, she has asked me to step in as guest blogger to remind her readers that she’ll be back, and provide a treat for those hungry for her great ideas. 
Since I am her mother, and this weekend is Mother’s Day, I started thinking about the influences on my cooking, and, by extension, Jo’s. This line of thinking brought me directly to memories of my mother.
It is said that the apple does not fall far from the tree. My mother loved to cook. And, unusual for her time and place, (an apartment in the Bronx) she loved to cook with fresh fruits and vegetables. We ate salads and two vegetables with every dinner, enjoying artichokes, escarole and eggplant while our neighbors ate peas and carrots from a can. Our summer routines included regular trips to farm stands and orchards. No one made a better apple pie. 

 No matter what she was cooking, my mother adhered to two rules; never waste anything, and, if a little of something (say butter or sour cream or chocolate) is good, more is definitely better. These beliefs resulted in meals that were often rich, usually delicious, and genuinely creative. That is why, when she dropped a marble cake she was removing from the oven, (a box mix “doctored with extra butter and sour cream, see rules above) she didn’t even think of throwing it out and starting again. After all “it was a pity to throw it out, with all those good ingredients.” So, though it was cracked and broken in the pan, she followed Julia Child’s tenet, that what goes on in the privacy of the kitchen stays in the kitchen. She broke the cake into even sized chunks and put all the pieces into her best crystal bowl. Then, she cooked a chocolate pudding (whole milk and extra chocolate melted in) and poured the hot liquid over the cake pieces. When this was cool, she “slathered” it all with whipped cream, and sprinkled it with fresh strawberries. “What could be bad?” The Mah Jong ladies loved it!

Her pleasure in cooking and feeding others is a gift she has given to me, and to my children. I often feel her spirit of creative pleasure in putting things together in new ways, and, the confidence to believe that even when my (metaphorical or literal) cake falls down, what results may turn out even better than what I started out to do. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. We miss you.

1 comment:

  1. How neat that your mom is your guest blogger! I love the story of the fallen cake. Your grandma sounds like a great woman. happy mothers day!