Friday, May 15, 2009

Fudging my daughter's "food of love"

While the “food of love” thing may work for Emeril, it always makes for interesting experiences in the kitchen. It’s a simple expectation that the more cooks in the kitchen, the more flour, sugar and frosting will become accent colors on the tablecloth, the floor, the kids.

This morning, I talked with my daughter about the fact her grandparents would be up this weekend, and that her Mama would be having a birthday. Her response? Make a cake, of course.
An Elmo cake, no less.

The problem with empowering your kids in the kitchen is that they have definite ideas of what should be done. Worse, if you provide colorful kids cookbooks for them to flip through, they’ll be all over the dessert planning. Because you have to have priorities.

So yes, buried in the back of the Sesame Street cookbook is a page with a chocolate cake, with sprinkles, and an Elmo. Thankfully there is no Elmo on top of the cake. That in itself brings on headaches in a mother whose child doesn’t understand why we can’t have a cake like on “Ace of Cakes.”

I look at the ingredient list. Most are normal ingredients. And then there’s yogurt, and powdered sugar, and cocoa powder, and applesauce. And I think to myself, that’s a heck of a lot of stuff for a cake. Not to mention a lot of steps when you're dealing with the attention span of a preschooler.

A box of cake mix never sounded so good. In fact, I realized, the expense and trash generated from this “homemade” variety far exceeds that of the lowly box. It may be marginally healthier, but I figure what's a few non-healthy slices of cake each year?

So, Mama, I hate to tell you this, but I think Elmo’s “recipe” calls for one box of cake mix, a few eggs, a bit of oil, and a little fudge. You can pick your favorite type.

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