|The perfect cake I did not bake.|
Yesterday, I helped with the cake walk at the school spring fair.
I swore I'd never help with another cake walk in my life, after being reprimanded during my previous experience. Apparently, in that case, I was far too generous in handing out the cakes and the walk was over too quickly.
You know how the term cake walk is used for something that's incredibly easy? Not so.
(On that, the origin of the term cake walk is absolutely fascinating. You can read about it here.)
This year's cake walk was far more successful, mainly because the women running it were 1) organized and 2) had some sense of perspective. Plus, there were high school-aged volunteers who had enthusiasm and energy.
Because I was not being run off my feet or told off, I had lots of time to observe. The key takeaway was this:
In a world where perfect fondant icing is on offer, nine out of ten people prefer a big gooey mess covered in gummy worms.
During the cake competition, the pretty cakes shone and won the awards. One was an exact replica of the school mascot. It was impressive.
But once the game got underway and the kids started to choose their cakes, something interesting occurred. The Pinterest-worthy-now-I-need-physio-due-to-the-rolling-of-fondant-icing cakes stayed on the table, overlooked in favour of Betty Crocker mix, a shed-load of chocolate icing, and two or three bags of gummy bears.
(For the record, had my daughter not made our pretty fondant contribution pictured above, one of these gummified offerings would have been made by me. I have no skills in this area.)
One kid - a sage in American Eagle - advised his friend on his choice: "Trust me: the worse they look, the better they are," he said. #wisdom
When it was my daughter's turn to choose her cake, I nudged her toward the store-bought offerings, germophobe that I am. I've never been opposed to store bought and frequently quote Carl Sagan who said, "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." At times, I go to great lengths to avoid acts of domesticity.
The cake walk offered important lessons in life: Keep perspective. Employ the young. Don't be afraid of store bought. And most of all, if you aim to have a Pinterest-worthy life - which often I do - do it for yourself, not for others. Others are generally happy with a mess of chocolate and a pile of gummy worms, as long as there is lots of it.