Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Hope Nobody Is Sensitive To Red Dye #40

Per the request of one of Craig's co workers, I made a red velvet cake yesterday. Before I moved to Florida at the age of 14, I had never heard of the decidedly southern red velvet cake. I guess it wasn't a California thang back then; however it seems like you find red velvet cake/cupcakes all over bakery menus these days. An explosion of artificially colored, yet melt in your mouth, cake goodness. I must admit, red velvet cake is indeed an odd creation. Natural food purists would balk at the red food coloring requirement, but it's undeniably tasty.

I remember reading somewhere that Alton Brown lists red velvet cake as one of his least favorite foods, calling it "spooky."

To each his own.

I think most recipes call for a 1 ounce bottle of food coloring; the recipe I used called for two bottles. It's a really red cake. I had food coloring EVERYWHERE yesterday but surprisingly I managed to keep the dye away from my white t shirt. On a normal day a white t shirt is a stain magnet, but I chose to wear one anyway, even though I knew what was on the baking agenda. I'm such a rebel.
Well, a careful rebel, actually. I took great care and caution and did not splatter my shirt. I noticed red food coloring splotches on the bottom of my feet last night, but my shirt remained in pristine condition.

Yesterday evening I prepared the frosting. I use a cream cheese frosting but it actually has more butter than cream cheese so it's not super tangy. It's good stuff.
Naturally the kids in the neighborhood have frosting radar and came bounding in as I iced my lopsided (it's my signature) cake. They all got a spoonful of the frosting and waited patiently to see if they would be able to scrape any extra off the bowl when I finished. They even tried to clean the frosting smears from the rim of the bowl as I was filling it up with hot soapy water to wash it. That's some serious butter cream dedication. From this butter cream enthusiast, I must admit that their quickness and thorough dedication to the cleaning of the bowl was truly admirable.

Once the cake was finished and in the refrigerator, Caroline and her friend were hanging out on top of the counters chewing on the mini rubber spatulas they used to scrape out the excess frosting from the bowl. That sounds kind of odd, but assure you, that's what they were doing. The counter tops are quite a gathering spot for Caroline and her friends. The conversation ranged from talk of pacifier addictions as babies to the tastiness/nastiness of asparagus and the effect asparagus has on the smell of your urine. Gross, I know. But kids, even two girls, like to talk about gross stuff.

It was an interesting conversation, as most conversations with elementary school kids are. Somewhat out of the blue Caroline's friend told me I was a good mom. According to Bailey, I'm a good mom because I don't make Caroline eat foods she doesn't like. Evidently Bailey's parents put stuff she doesn't like on her plate and make her eat it. So Bailey thinks my leniency makes me a good mom. I find that quite amusing because I often feel like a big fat failure because Caroline is so picky. From the beginning, I never wanted to make eating a struggle; there are so many other areas of child rearing that require a little more stringency. I've picked my battles, but still question my strategy.

Now, if Caroline demanded to eat only Doritos and pizza every day I might be a little less lenient. Thankfully she likes healthy foods; she likes asparagus, after all. I'm sure the lack of variety in her diet is mostly my fault. A portion of the problem can be attributed to sheer laziness on my part; it's far easier to fix foods that she likes and are quick and easy. With Craig at work in the evenings, Caroline and I often eat dinner at different times. It's just easier to fix her whatever she wants, within reason, of course. I hold on to the hope that someday she'll eat "real" dinner food. *Someday* the three of us will sit together as a family and we'll all eat the same thing.

Still, it was nice of Bailey to tell me I was a good mom. Caroline was quiet on the subject, and didn't chime in to say "I know!" so who knows how she feels. Every kids thinks their friend's moms are better and nicer than their own. I don't know, Caroline has it pretty good. I do bark at her when she leaves empty yogurt containers on my bedroom floor and puts her shoes NEXT TO the shoe basket instead of IN it. I get mad when I have to tell her seven times to get in the tub and I'm not usually happy when she and her friends make a huge blow out mess in the living room. But, that's what mom's do, right? We teach, train, care for and nag.

I nag Caroline far more than I nag Craig. He may not concur, but that would be a lie misrepresentation of the truth. I'm a nice wife. I don't nag. Sometimes I remind. Sometimes I offer my heartfelt and sage advice, but I don't nag. Nope. Not ever.

See, Craig has it pretty good too. His coworkers think I'm a good wife. But that's just because I make them tasty treats.

I think I have everyone fooled.

My plan is working, she says with a coy wink and an evil grin whilst twiddling her fingers.



Sissy said...

Charlie is in love with red velvet cake, but only the recipe his mother makes. He won't eat any other kind and he doesn't think I could make it correctly, so we just ask her to bake his birthday cake.

It is a strange thing. Red, bloody looking cake. Cause the food coloring doesn't add any flavor, right? It's kinda chocolately, too. I don't know. It's a Southern thing.

Alison said...

Craig's mom makes it, too. What is it with boys and their "that's not how my mama makes it" attitude. I'm sure you'd make a perfectly lovely red velvet cake. I like scratch baking, but I used a cheater Cake Mix Doctor recipe. There is only a little bit of cocoa powder in it, so it's not a chocolate cake, but it's not a vanilla cake either. I can't even begin to understand why someone thought it might be a good idea to dump a whole bottle of food coloring in a cake. It's just color and it doesn't impart any flavor.


Craig said his peeps liked it, so that's all that matters.