Sunday, February 5, 2017

Saturday Stories 2017--Chocolate Cake and Popcorn

I'm not a very good cook. I know that, and my family unnecessarily suffers from my lack of patience in the kitchen. I don't remember ever making dinner with my mom, and I'm sure that's because my disinterest manifested early in my life. There are a few things that I make well.

One of them is chocolate frosting.

Every Sunday night for as far back as my memory of Sunday night exists, my family ate the same thing. We had Sunday dinner earlier in the afternoon, but by the time 6 pm rolled around, we would all be hungry for snacks and treats. We took turns making a 9x13 chocolate cake from Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, but I always wanted to make the frosting.

A cube of butter. Some milk. One pound of powdered sugar. Cocoa powder. A splash of vanilla (and if Mom made it, she added a drop of almond extract as well). That's it. I would whip the butter into soft peaks, and as I added ingredients, the mixture quickly became chocolatey and irresistible. To this day, I could still eat half a batch of frosting without breaking my insulin limit.

One kid would make popcorn with our broken hot air popper, carefully covering the hole on the top meant to easily melt butter as the kernels made their way into the big silver bowl. We always used too much butter (and Karen would use too much salt), and even now, that's the only way I want to eat popcorn. Each of us would have a square slice of cake around the kitchen table, and then we would munch popcorn and play games or watch Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.

I tried to introduce a Sunday night dessert tradition around here, but I have yet to hit the combination that will stick. But even as an adult, when I eat chocolate cake with tons of frosting, I think of Sunday nights in my childhood home.

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