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Cake mixes and casseroles: the things of small towns

Cake sale
Whether it’s for a funeral or a cake auction or a meal for a new mom, it beckons for a cake.

Seeing all of the cake mixes stacked in my pantry one might confuse me for a baker or someone with a bad sweet tooth. But truth be known, cakes and casseroles are the staples of a small hometown.  Whether it’s for a funeral or a cake auction or a meal for a new mom, it beckons for a cake. I think small towns believe that if you feed a broken or wearied heart, it will make it better. Personally, I’ve been the recipient of such an antidote and can testify there’s some truth to that. One thing is for sure, you’ll never go hungry in a country town.

Last week was our local stock show. It’s a fun weekend where much of the town gathers, if not to see the kids and animals, then to eat a famous stock show burger. Each year we hold a cake auction before the sale, where the little girls sporting their cute hairdos and cowboy boots with their jeans tucked inside, parade in front of the crowd holding their mom’s cake, hoping for the highest bidder. Knowing I had a busy week, my Little and I baked ours early and stuck it in the freezer. Recovering from being ill, I told my oldest she would need to ice the cake. I figured if I got someone sick that might not be so charitable.

Upon removing the layers from the freezer, my daughter discovered that one of them was frozen to the platter. So, with the platter between my two hands, I instructed her to try to pry the cake loose with a spatula. She pried and I held, when all of a sudden the cake layer broke loose, popped off the plate, and slid across the kitchen floor.

Now, I would love to tell you as a full-time working mom, who’s been home sick, that my kitchen floor was clean enough to eat off of, but that would be a boldface lie. Actually, I’m not sure it’s clean enough on the days I do feel good.  So with the cake on the floor and the auction hours away, my daughter and I looked at each other, she in a state of panic and me too sick to care.

The audience of friends perched at the kitchen bar suggested we simply trim off the bottom of the cake that touched the floor, but rather than succumb to peer pressure, another cake mix box was removed from inventory and another layer was baked. Never mind that it was a different flavor. I guess I need to restock.

The cake was eventually iced and topped with chunks of Snickers chocolate bars, wrapped cutely in clear plastic with a bow and safely delivered to the 73rd annual stock show and cake auction. Cakes and casseroles—they’re the things of small towns.  

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