My aunt tells a funny story about the first Christmas, I believe, where she would be hosting her son, his fiance and his soon to be in-laws. She had found a beautiful chocolate cake recipe in a Southern Living magazine and set about creating culinary perfection. (One note about this particular aunt, she’s definitely the Martha Stewart type – her home is impeccably decorated, recipes are well executed and flawlessly presented. I mean this all as a compliment since, one, I am often mistaken for her daughter when we are out together and two, well, let’s just say the apples don’t fall far from the trees and I have been called “Martha” in my day – not since I’ve had peanut and never in relation to my house, but still).
She began baking this complex recipe only to find she was short on eggs. Off she sent my uncle to the store. Only to have him return and her to realize she needed butter. Only to have him return and her to realize she needed something else. This continued for apparently several trips where my uncle either returned with the wrong thing, forgot something or she thought she had the correct ingredient only to realize she needed cake flour, not all-purpose, or some other calamity of culinary execution.
My usually composed aunt was, by now, completely frustrated but even more doggedly determined to make this stupid cake and make it delicious.
After making it through Christmas dinner and I’m sure a few glasses of wine (again I refer you to the apples and the trees), someone suggested it was time for dessert. To which my aunt replied, “yes, please enjoy the f*ck!ng Christmas cake.”
Apparently there was a stunned silence at the table as my cousin and uncle stared at this unlikely outburst in front of my soon to be cousin-in-law, her parents and her then high school aged brother. Needless to say, they are good people, joined in the subsequent laughter and the cake was, apparently, delicious. I wouldn’t really know since I don’t believe the recipe has ever been repeated.
I am reminded of this story today as I prepare for my parents’ visit this weekend. I am very excited that they are coming – as we are any time anyone comes to us. After 10 years living in a city different from our home town, the visits have definitely tapered off and we don’t host house guests too often anymore. The fact that it’s a holiday this weekend and it’s been two years since I’ve hosted one also has my Martha juices flowing. Luckily, my realistic parent of a toddler who doesn’t nap anymore juices are also flowing, so the menu is lovingly created, but minimalist.
The problem is that today, every time I take a step forward, I’m taking two steps back. There is the laundry I’m behind on already that is even more piled up because I put a load of towels in the wash two days ago and promptly forget them so they had to be rerun (stinky!) before I could make a dent in the piles still waiting to be done. There is the grocery run I completed (sorry again to all the folks behind me in the 10 or less line when I clearly had 50 items on the belt, but you’ll notice that the only two lines open were the express lines. Honestly. I checked three times and asked two different employees before going in) where I of course forgot an ingredient for the one item I needed to bake today. There is the already-needs-to-be-vacuumed-a-few-times-to-find-it den carpet that now has Styrofoam peanuts crushed into it courtesy of my peanut and his joy of unexpected packing materials from a surprise gift.
The silver lining? I really am looking forward to a wonderful visit with my parents this weekend. The weather should be beautiful meaning lots of outdoors activities. I love to see them interact with peanut as he becomes more of a boy. The lemon pound cake I’m planning for Easter dinner already has my mouth watering (and promises to be quick and EASY). And, although I’m taking a few steps in the wrong direction today, while I’ve been typing this, I think peanut may have fallen ASLEEP! If so, and I’m still not holding my breath, this will be the first nap in three weeks. Cue the angel chorus!
And I can take comfort that everything will work out okay. After all, if it can for the “effin” Christmas cake, why not my Easter weekend?