Monday, March 22, 2010
When I Turn Ninety, Give Me Cake
It all started while I was contemplating what to buy for Grandma for her 90th birthday. What sortofa thing do you buy for a woman whose wants are little, but whose experiences are so great? What can you purchase in this world that doesn't end up being just another trinket?
Grandma was 54 years old when I was born.
And she turned 74 the same year I flippantly turned 20.
More than fifty years have separated us for my entire life.
And yet, there had to be something.
Weeks before, we spent some time with Grandma -- taking photos with her for the Family Recipe Revival. As we glanced through some of her old cookbooks, she told us stories about the foods she's made, and the special occasions that certain dishes marked. She also informed us that she thought she'd "done everything worth doing" in her almost-ninety years.
*pffft* I scoffed. But, I found myself thinking about what it must be like to turn 90. What would it be like to outlive most of your dear friends? To watch your children grow up, get married, have children and make their own homes? To greet your first grandchild... and then a second, third...and numerous great grand-children? What must it be like to turn 70... and 80... and then, to reach the next milestone of life and wonder where all that time had gone?
And so, I did something that I often do when I'm deep in contemplation. I baked a cake.
I started the process on Friday afternoon, and finished everything sometime Saturday evening. After agonizing for weeks over what kind of cake to make, I'd finally decided upon "freckled mocha cake". It's one of my favorite recipes from the Whimsical Bakehouse cookbook. And it's one for which my grandmother has a particular fondness. It would be filled with a thick layer of Bailey's Irish Cream flavored whipping cream. And frosted with Italian buttercream. To top everything off, we would scribble up a nice message in melted white chocolate and add a few edible orchids for color.
Oh -- and that gift for Granny?
Well, as much as I contemplated buying her this t-shirt (I was amazed at the number of t-shirts there are out there for 90-year-olds), she's not really a t-shirt kindofa gal (probably another thing she needs to do in the next 10 years is to start dressing more comfortably!). Instead, we decided we'd challenge that notion she has that she's done "everything worth doing" and give her a day out on the town. We'll spend a bit of time at the Milwaukee Art Museum. And then we'll grab some Grandmother-worthy lunch at the Watts Tea Shop... after all, they've been around for almost 50 years longer than she has!
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