I followed the crumbs back home

4 Comments

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” ~  Julia Child

IMG_2025[1]

 I’m not sure how old I was or what passing birthday had just eclipsed my dream of being a child forever but I remember the birthday cake my mom had made.  It was a chocolate cake with homemade buttercream frosting and a bittersweet chocolate ganache.  It was decadent.  It was made with love.  And to a child still in single digits, it was crack cocaine.

Every special occasion I demanded politely requested that my mother painstakingly recreate that masterpiece.  Throughout my childhood, I never deviated from that cake.  It is one of the favorite memories I have of my mother.  I cannot recall whose smile was more prominent when the cake was delivered to the table, hers or mine, but I do know that cake was our moment to share.

Over the years, I lost track of the myriad number of times that cake graced our dining room table but I never lost my love of that cake.  I saw how much effort my mom put into that special treat and, perhaps through osmosis, I garnered the same conviction that cake made people happy.

After being absent for some time, due to unforeseen construction on the path of my life, I am back on the road that leads straight to my oven and my decorating tools.  I missed cakes.  I missed the escape from reality that decorating affords me and I missed the joy in people’s eyes when they had seen what I created for their special occasion.

The piping bags are ready, the cupboards are stocked and the fondant is ready to roll.   Let them eat cake!

You want fries with that?

7 Comments

When I win the lottery (note the eternal optimism) I dream of having a food truck.  Seeing this burger and New York Fries truck only placed that dream, once again, in the foreground of my reality.  Our lodge was host to a collection of guests who were attending a wedding at the golf club next door to us and this was the midnight snack truck the bride and groom arranged for their wedding guests.

IMG_2002[1]

My food truck dream changes fairly often.  I have thought about a soup truck with fresh-baked goods, since I love making both of those things, but after seeing this pimped out truck my idea morphed into a fine dining truck that would make the dining more of an experience in the truck rather than just picking your food up from the truck itself.

My brain kicked into high gear today and toyed with the idea of creating a fine dining restaurant on wheels, making the impossible night out possible by bringing the fine dining experience to you.  With a mock backdrop of a starry night and some great jazz, you would be able to enjoy the experience of a real date night without leaving the confines of your property.

Food courses, from Amuse Bouche to dessert, would be paired with wine and the food would be presented in a way that would please the eye as well as the palette.  I have been using myself as a guinea pig and, so far, the tests have been an overwhelming success.  Last night’s meal was bacon wrapped Pork Tenderloin served with spinach, apple, Goat cheese, crushed Pistachios and a Balsamic Reduction and I am confident this dish would be a success. (It was delicious!)

food truck

I am still waiting for the lottery Gods to smile favorably upon my new career choice.  Reservations are available but may take a few years to come to fruition based on how those lottery numbers match the numbers on my tickets.  Until then, I will continue to sample future items to perfect the menu of my food truck and hope my culinary dreams turn into a reality.  This truck, if all goes well, may be coming to a neighborhood near you!

 

 

 

Finding the beauty in exhaustion

5 Comments

I absolutely love what I do for a living but the long hours and the physical demands of the job can take a toll on the state of my well-being.  I have just organized and worked a wedding and dynamic conference back-to-back.  If you asked me to spell my name right now I would have difficulty providing that information with any sort of accuracy but the reward I have reaped far outweighs the strenuousness I have endured.

At the end of my arduous days, I feel content in the fact that I have given 110% to, not only give great service to each of these functions but, help create a memory for each of my guests.

Where I feel I should lose energy in the many hours I work, I gain strength from the energy of those around me.   This strength does not come from knowing what I am capable of.  This strength comes from my perseverance to give my best effort and make sure I represent all of myself and not just part of myself, not only in work but in every aspect of my life.

That is the beauty of my exhaustion.  I can sit back and relax knowing that I have given everything I have.  I can take solace in the fact that I do my job well.  And I can absolutely appreciate when I receive praise for my efforts because I truly feel like I have earned it.

exhaustion

(image credit)

Although my weariness does come at a price, the satisfaction I get from knowing that my efforts positively affected so many others makes that extreme fatigue all that much more bearable and makes me want to do it all over again.

 

Much ado about the opposite of nothing

3 Comments

reading

 (image credit)

I have been suspiciously absent from reading other blogs or anything else in the category of the written word because I have been alarmingly removed from anything resembling spare time.   I am on day 8 of a 10-day work stretch and logged in 25 hours of overtime this week.  (too bad I’m on salary!!)

I miss the carefree hours of being able to have enough brain capacity to read on a recurring basis.   This phenomenon happens frequently this time of year and I feel like I am missing an appendage when I cannot feed the creative appetite that yearns, incessantly, to be fed by words.

My attention span is non-existent.  My ability to concentrate is tenuous.   My capacity to hold a thought is…………………waning.

Next week is a quiet week at work, probably the last extensive time period that I will  have to fill my desire to absorb words as quickly as I am able before the onset of summer.   The list of books has been established.  The sequential collection of email notifications has been queued, the wine has been stored at the proper temperature and the spot on the couch has been reserved.

I hope to see you on the blog (and book) side.

 

 

 

 

A place in the woods

6 Comments

cabin

There is a place in the woods where my heart is free,

and my mind has been known to roam.

There are four walls and a roof that wait for me,

and long for me to call it my home.

The mass of buildings and lanes of traffic

are replaced with hills and trees.

The soothing sounds of Mother Nature’s lullaby

truly put my mind at ease.

I am homesick for a place I’ve never seen,

a place where my heart is replete,

a home where my soul is understood

 and a home where I feel genuinely complete.

The barren land beckons, the rolling earth lures,

I hear it calling my name.

I know when I finally find this haven

my life will never be the same.

I will shed the layers of the pretense I’ve lived

and genuinely feel at peace.

I will feel naked among the rocks and the trees,

and my life will have found a new lease.

There is a place in the woods where my heart is free,

and my mind has been known to roam.

I hope to one day discover this place,

and forever call it my home.

 (image credit)

To bake, or not to bake? That is the question.

20 Comments

Once upon a time I had a cake decorating business that I ran from my home.  I made wedding cakes and novelty cakes and I really loved the creative escape….not to mention the fantastic smell in my house.

I slowly phased myself out of that cake business because “real life” didn’t want to make room for the enjoyable moments of,  not only creating extra income but, embracing another journey of artistic freedom.  But I’ve missed it.  And I knew I missed it but I didn’t realize how much until I agreed to make a cake for a 50th birthday party this weekend.  The birthday girl loves sailing and this was the cake I made for her surprise party.

IMG_1941

Just spending the last two days in the kitchen reminded me how one avenue of imagination can create a wider road of happiness.  This is one of my true passions and I made the mistake of ignoring it.  I put obligation and responsibility ahead of creativity and contentment.  And if the picture of the cake above wasn’t enough to make me rethink my decision…..

cake after

….the photograph of the rapidly disappearing remains of the cake certainly solidified my decision to put up my sign that I am back in the cake business.

Sometimes having to make a choice is difficult.  Sometimes we think we are doing what is best but maybe the best thing is to hang on to the things we really love and throw the rules out the window.  Life it too short to make decisions based on what we think we should do instead of making decisions based on what we really want.

Baring it all…okay, maybe just my feet….

17 Comments

I have a little “Spring in my step” today.  Against the better judgement of some (who may or may not have called me a dumb-ass), I left my house this morning in my sandals.  Although the thermometer only registered a mere three degrees Celsius, I forged my way up the driveway to my car, my will strong and my head held high.

There are others like me.  We don’t hold weekly meetings, although they would be fun, and we don’t have a 12-step program for our affliction.  We simply do not like wearing shoes.  If I had my way, I would be barefoot all the time.  I don’t hold ill-will towards shoes but I find them constricting and uncomfortable.  It is a rare sighting to see me in heels and a vision that does not qualify as remotely graceful.

I have been spotted roaming around the lodge in the summer while my sandals are tucked neatly under my office desk.  I only begrudgingly put them back on when I have to go into the kitchen or the restrooms.  If my feet are ever seen by an Esthetician the gasps of horror can be heard by people in the neighboring towns.

The freedom of being barefoot is something I have always cherished.  Shoes seem like such an unnatural invention and always remind me of this clip from The Bird Cage.

What about you?  Naked feet or shoes?