Marie Antoinette was not the only person to lose their head over cake:
A few years ago I was at my Grandmother's house with entire family. We were at the table, dinner and dessert were both over and my sister had my nephew on her lap, he was
maybe 2 years old at the time. She was just starting to think about putting him to bed when my Grandma put a tray of cake out on the table. My nephew gasped! My sister tried to cover his eyes knowing full well that he would be on such a sugar high it would
take forever for him to go to sleep, but it was too late, he had seen that beautifully swirled chocolate frosting.
"Cake," he says.
"No Thatch, we already had dessert," my sister replies.
"Cake!" He says more frantically.
gets up from the table and takes him upstairs to get the cake out of his sight. All the way up that stairs we hear a desperate cry of only one word,
"CAKE! CAKE! CAAAKKKKE!"
All of the adults are shy about taking the first piece, but the children
just want to dive their hands into that sugary frosting.
I think there is something about how we are raised with food, where we are raised, that contributes to our relationship with food. For example if an Anthropologist was going to follow and study
certain South American fishing villages the inhabitants may go out on an extra fishing trip to enhance their food stores, proving that they are good providers for their families.
If an Anthropologist were going to follow an American and document our
eating habits, we would probably put that bag of Cheetos back on the shelf, not wanting to look excessive, but we may go back for it later.
I am half Sicilian/half German. (That's right; wrap your head around that combination.) In my Grandma Fileccia's
home (Sicilian) food is about fulfillment and respect. If you turn down food in her home, her hands fly up in the air in agitation, and she shakes her head. Then she will go into the kitchen and put food on the table anyway. It gives her joy to know she is
providing something hearty and delicious to her family. And it never stops, as long as you are at that table it will keep coming. Not long after dinner comes coffee and canoli, cassata cake, pignolata, sfingi, fruit, etc... One time, I was just about
to finish my plate, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then another plate slid in front of me. I laid my head on the table, and just said, "Grandma, I can't do it, I can't eat anymore."
At Grandma Busch's house food is just part of
the day. The meals were all very good, crafted with care, but much more controlled. Dinner was on the table at 6:00pm on the dot. Portions neatly sectioned out, excessive amounts were never served. For dessert, I remember my Grandfather would only have one
cookie, because that was all that was needed, or wanted.
Interestingly, both sides are very healthy. My Grandparents have all lived well into old age.
Ultimately, for me, I know that my life is so much more exciting with a little piece of cake
from time to time, but I should always remember to not take more than is needed!