One advantage to the days I work at home is the option to close up my laptop and head out for more baking chocolate when the girls – intent on chocolate cake – run shy of this crucial ingredient. The kids used an amount of chocolate that amazed me. A confirmed Michael Pollan fan, I refused to buy corn syrup, so they googled a substitute option.

All that sunny afternoon, the girls were busy with flour and chat, serving me the leftover coffee they brewed – so strong  I winced.

Skeptical? Yeah. But at least I was silent.

I made my recipe-less part of the meal, using what I found at hand: onions, kale, parsley, and sage in the garden, sausage, tomatoes from the neighbor: a decent, passable stew.

But the kids? Their cake rose both light and rich. A delicacy I’ve never accomplished – and the kids sweetly teased me so.

Here’s the opening lines from Hayden Carruth’s wonderful “Birthday Cake” poem:

For breakfast I have eaten the last of your birthday cake that you
had left uneaten for five days
and would have left five more before throwing it away.


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s