Gravy Loves Cake

When I was 16, my mother introduced me to homemade German chocolate cake. My life and my hips have never been the same.

It’s fair to say that I’ve entertained more fantasies about this particular cake than I have about George Clooney, Colin Firth and Jeremy Northam combined. This is a sad commentary on my life–but it’s true.

I am now in the throes of finishing up the final bites of a German chocolate cake I made last Saturday and I am reminded that this cake, this particular cake, has it all.

I like a cake that’s earthy, not light. There has to be a lot of frosting. The traditional German chocolate frosting is loaded with nuts and coconut–two foods of the gods. And there has to be a lot of it. This recipe makes a huge cake which serves roughly 72 people. No, that’s wrong. But it serves a lot.

I usually double the amount of frosting I use for this cake. One reason for this is that I want a lot of it under the inside layers. The cake, when I slice it, must show at least one inch of frosting.. maybe more. This sounds gross and indulgent. I will not dispute that.

This cake approaches what writer Geneen Roth calls “bliss in matter.” She was referring to chocolate.. but it’s close to the same thing. In this case, it’s about the mix of German chocolate, coconut and nuts. It’s about the way the ingredients all come together and meld into each other. It’s about the rough, outer unfrosted edges of the cake and the gooey, sweet innards. But mostly, it’s about the experience of eating it.. the tall glass of cold milk.. the fork poised in mid air.. being hungry enough to eat a whole generous slice (there’s no whining about how..’i can’t eat another bite’).. and no regrets.

Forget about calories and fat.. eat the cake.. eat the cake.. eat the cake.

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Oh, the humanity!

I like people.. I really do. They can be interesting and inspiring.. they sell me my groceries and fix my car and bring my mail and pay me for work and make me laugh and.. well.. you get the idea. But sometimes, without any reason and without warning.. they make me crazy. When I go to bed at night.. I think about the next day and look for cracks in the plan where I can squeeze in some time alone.

I’m not sure this is natural. All I know is that I crave, plan for and then protect my solitude as though my life depends on it.. because.. I think, at least in my case, it does.

This sounds too dramatic.. but it’s the truth.

I could easily turn into a recluse — a recluse with a job, five children and two grandchildren. Let’s see.. how would that work? I know! I could be an exclusive recluse. I would call myself an excluse or a rexclusive.

Hmm.. come to think of it.. I’ve been doing this for years.

I think what’s happening is I’m on people overload. Too many of them right now. My inner brat wants them to go away for awhile. Not forever. Just for awhile.