by Sadie Rose Casey
Today I will bake a cake.
It will not be gluten-free or grain-free. It will not be made with substitution flours – legumes or nuts posing imperfectly as wheat. It will not have coconut in it unless the frosting has shredded pieces of coconut flesh mixed into it.
Here is what it will have:
It will have wheat in it. I might buy the Einkorn wheat or whole wheat or just plain old white pastry flour. I’ll have to see what’s in the pantry at this moment. It will also have sugar in it. Real cane sugar, organic, or not. Again, let me check my cupboards. It will have eggs in it and butter, both of which I have in the fridge right now, from Costco.
I will bake it from scratch, in my kitchen, with my own two hands.
Perhaps my son will help me. If he does, we will be cleaning flour out of nooks and crannies for ages. Such is the price of love.
I will pull it from the oven and let it cool. I will make frosting out of more butter, more sugar, possibly some cream cheese, if I have any.
When it’s ready, I will cut it into large, soft slices, and serve it on my favorite dishes. I will cut a piece for each child, I will cut a piece for myself. Most likely, I will serve it with tea, probably peppermint, because it’s getting late, and because my son loves peppermint.
We will sit at the table and cut into our slices with my grandmother’s silver forks. We will devour the cake, reveling in the way it delights our senses. We will laugh about how good it is and we will try to eat more slowly, even though it’s hard because it’s so, so delicious.
The cake won’t be gluten-free or grain-free, but it will be guilt-free, because I am choosing for it to be so. This indulgence will come free of taxes and punishments. It will be made by my hands and eaten by our mouths. This alone, is magic.
Let us remember this in our era of fear and food. Sometimes we must let the battle lie. Leave it on the floor and forget about it. Let there be joy in your consumption, let there be celebration in your creation. Surely, most surely, there is some nutritional value in eating with joy, digesting with joy, enjoying guilt-free.