Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Far Cry From Spumoni

I hate it when my husband celebrates his ethnic heritage. Melted chocolate bars mixed with Cool Whip become “truffles”; a jar of cheese whiz and cream cheese becomes a festive cheese ball; bread, butter and sprinkles transforms into an afternoon snack. The doozy, though, is the White Trash Birthday Cake. It involves Cool Whip, Jello and a white cake from a mix. You're smart. You can put it all together in your head.
If he were from Beijing, I'd make him red bean ice cream. If he were from Tibet, I'd make him yak stew. If he were from Scotland, I'd make him haggis. Okay, no I wouldn't, but I'd make him a nice vegetarian version of haggis, which he would love and which would make me feel accomplished and clever. But my husband is from Idaho and he comfort eats from a box, which makes me feel like I ought to have my hair in curlers and my dress should come from Lilian Vernon.
One year I tried to bribe my way out of making this particular cake. I offered any cake in the book (literally). I anticipated a multi-step, ganache-coated mousse concoction that would require a lot of egg beating and delicate sifting of cake flour. Nuthin’ doin’. I think tears actually welled up in the poor guy’s eyes, and since he rarely gets any food he’d recognize from his childhood, I gracefully (Ha!) gave in. Normally, I suck up a small piece and then I remember that I A) don’t like Cool Whip B) don’t like soggy cake C) resent food that does not resemble my childhood in any way. After all, White Trash Birthday Cake is a far cry from my mother’s Heart Attack Grilled Cheese (which involves mayonnaise, American cheese and prodigious amounts of butter).


buttercup said...

Is that the REAL name? White Trash Cake? I pity you. I get to make death by chocolate cakes, ganache added would be heaven!

The Stevens said...

I must be from somewhere close to where your husband grew up, because I am very familiar with all the ingredients in his "wt" cake, and sadly I don't know what ganache is. haha.

Megan said...

yummy....jello cake!! I'm coming over to eat some. but please hold the whip cream. I don't really like it much. Sorry if my love of jello cake offends you. I'm a redneck woman.

halsadick said...

"The Iceberg Theory," by Gerald Lochlin

all the food critics hate iceberg lettuce.
you'd think romaine was descended from
orpheus's laurel wreath.
you'd think raw spinach had all the nutritional
benefits attributed to it by popeye,
not to mention aesthetic subtleties worthy of
veriaine and debussy.
they'll even salivate over chopped red cabbage
just to disparage poor old mr. iceberg lettuce.

I guess the problem is
it's just too common for them.
it doesn't matter that it tastes good,
has a satisfying crunchy texture,
holds its freshness,
and has crevices for the dressing,
whereas the darker, leaner varieties
are often bitter, gritty, and flat.
it just isn't different enough, and
it's too g*dd*mn american.

of course a critic has to criticize:
a critic has to have something to say.
perhaps that's why literary critics
purport to find interesting
so much contemporary poetry
that just bores the sh*t out of me.

at any rate, I really enjoy a salad
with plenty of chunky iceberg lettuce,
the more the merrier,
drenched in an italian or roquefort dressing.
and the poems I enjoy are those I don't have
to pretend that I'm enjoying.

halsadick said...

Kidding aside, Big Bahama is a very good sport, and I love her for putting up with my quirks.

Big Bahama Mama said...

In your family, you'd pour jello over the iceberg lettuce and top it all with Miracle Whip for that "zingy taste."

DeNae I said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arlynda said...

I'll take the ganache-coated mousse concoction for my birthday!!