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.


About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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2 Responses to Skepticism

  1. heididorr says:

    No kidding. The cake was fantastic! (And the Stew, too!) Many thanks.

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