So I’m at the post office the other day for my once every ten days or so mail pickup and I get a box from home.  Always a great thing!  I get back to the house, pop the box open, and, after digging through the styrofoam packing peanuts (more on those little nightmares later)  I discover what appears to be a cake in a box.  Not a bad thing except this isn’t a cake as you’d expect.  Let’s just say some assembly required.  Now don’t get me wrong; I’m ecstatic that the gang back east think enough to send a cake my way for no apparent reason.  I don’t even mind that I have to assemble said cake. I look at it  as a mechanical project and I just love those…..

Being a single guy for quite a while, I’m neither a neophyte nor uncomfortable in the kitchen.  Baking isn’t my strong suit but I can handle a cake.  This one’s not even like the ones you see on the shelves at the local grocery, this one’s pretty skookum!  It’s a “King Cake Kit” from King Arthur Flour courtesy of  The Baker’s Catalog, Inc.   Printed right on the front of the box is the parts list: mix, yeast, almond paste, vanilla glaze mix, colored decorating sugars, and my favorite word of all, INSTRUCTIONS!  Forgive me. I’m the odd guy who reads the instructions first and asks for directions when I get lost.  It’s the engineer in me.

I’ve got an open evening, the dog’s been walked and fed, it’s eleventy bazillion degrees below zero outside.  It’s a great night for cake assembly.  I grab a frosty adult carbonated malt beverage from the fridge and sit my happy self down to peruse the instructions. 

A bit of backstory here.  I was talking with my sister on the phone a few weeks ago when she happened to be back at our mom’s.  She mentioned she was in the kitchen watching mom bake cookies.  I gave her a bit of grief, going on about how she was getting fresh-baked cookies and I was stuck up here in the Frozen Freakin’ North with bupkus.  It’s a big brother thing.  I had totally forgotten this.

There are some things in life that are just too sublime to describe with any accuracy.  You know those old family recipes that get handed down from generation to generation, never being written down, and if they do get written down, no one follows the recipe because it’s not made that way anyhow.  My mom is one of the few remaining holders of her mom’s kolacky (pronounced ko-lach-key) recipe and it’s one of those types of recipes.  Kolacky are rolled cookies filled with a ground walnut mixture.   They can cleanse your soul, straighten your spine, and keep the country from losing the war. I don’t know where it’s written down or if it ever has been.  What I do know is they’re incredibly good and rarely survive long when they get here.   

There I was…..all set to perform an act of baking and I find, in that little cake box, three Ziploc bags full of little bursts of heaven.  Mom sent kolacky!  One bag didn’t make it through the evening.  The other two are in the freezer, but they are in serious jeopardy.  I can hear them calling me…..

THANKS, MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!


2 Responses to “bupkus”

  1. 1 Pat Pranitis November 20, 2009 at 7:26 am

    You TRULY have missed your calling and I’m not saying that because I’m your Mom…..your welcome for the bupkus……much love…..

  2. 2 Da Goddess November 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I guess it’s time I get on the phone and tell my mom how much I miss her blond brownies or lemon squares. I don’t “need” them, but a little bit of home would sit nicely on my heart this evening.

    So, how’d the cake go?

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