Frosting = Joy

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Noah's first "lick the beater" session... Fills me with a sense of coming full circle from the days my mom would bake a cake or make some cookies and we'd all clamor to get a beater. For some, this kind of event might seem mundane and unimportant, but for me, it triggers a poignant recollective experience, and fills me with deep satisfaction at where I am at in my own life.

In a million years, I could have never expected frosting to have this kind of effect.

There is just something about carefully, systematically, naturally doing the things my mother always did-- baking a cake. Mixing frosting. Sewing an apron. Taking a photograph. Something about sustaining the comforting, life-enriching rituals she always did-- the ones we took for granted.... until faced with being the one to do them. Now that *I* am the mother (oh heaven help me, when did THAT happen??), this is MY role-- to provide comfort. To provide moments of sugar-joy. To provide ritual and habit and security and handmade things. And my children will take it for granted also.... until perhaps, if I've raised them right, they'll have their own epiphanies in their adult years-- looking at their childhood through newly-opened eyes, seeing things in their father and me that even WE never saw in ourselves. I find that to be true with my own parents--- that through the lens of time and experience and wisdom, I understand them more. I see what a miracle their stewardship of us really was. How incredibly hard their task was (seven children!) and yet, how incredibly they rose to the challenge.

Ah... it's just a couple of metal beaters. It's just a batch of homemade buttercream frosting (the worn, yellowed, Crisco-stained recipe card in my mother's handwriting that I love). But somehow, the moment I handed my son his first frosting-painted beater, all of this flooded in.

And of course, I needed to take a picture.

Maybe my own sentimentality, my own tender nature makes me do this-- see, feel, then *CLICK*... Or maybe we all have those moments where the past, present, and future align in a perfect moment, and the camera is near enough, and the result is JOY.


Anyway... to get back to a lighter tone, here, in all their glory, are the recipients of that batch of frosting... Two cute cupcakes I decorated as a demonstration for a group of fun girls who came over the other night to get a little "resident expert" lesson from me... (who is NO expert-- just obsessive in her hobbies!). The first, a sunflower design that originated from the marvelous book Hello Cupcake, which every cupcake lover or mom should own:

(oh my, how I love to photograph cupcakes. Can you tell??)The second design was just a colorful way to use up the rest of the supplies I had on hand:

And there you have it.... Frosting= Joy. Truly. Always.


  1. Judie3:57 PM

    Without a doubt, frosting does = joy! Simply adorable!

  2. That sunflower cupcake is beautiful! I wouldn't want to eat it! I cannot tell you enough how much you impress me.

    Thanks so much for the call today. I needed it. AND I got your little package...So cute! I am immensly blessed to have a big sister like you :)

  3. How delightfully charming. I love your insatiable thirst for creative expression in any way, shape or form. OF course, your skills far surpass my own, so after a post like this, I am a bit hesitant to display my own attempts at culinary creativity ;) Oh well- I suppose photos like these give me something to aspire to. (And I love that Noah enjoys a good beater as much as we all did...)

    Thanks for the package. I loved the unexpected joy it brought to my soul today!

  4. How someone can turn cupcakes into a work of art, I will never know but you seem to do it everytime. And your nostalgic words, as always, resonate well with me and give me pause. To consider what traditions I carry on from my mother....and what ones I don't :)

  5. Those cuppies are ADORABLE! I'll have to keep that book in mind. It sound great!

    Bella's favorite icing is cream cheese. It's my favorite too.... she loves it when I bake! She enjoys licking the beaters as much as Noah does! That picture is great by the way! Thanks for sharing!

  6. FIrst, I love the sunflower cupcakes! Adorable!

    ANd it is so true, you don't really realize everything your own mom did until you have one!

    You're a great mom!

  7. What a darling post. It's so fun to have those spontaneous moments happen when we realize we are becoming our moms . . .not in every way of course but in those ways that remind us how deeply connected we are to them and always will be. This post made me happy . . .and those cupcakes are just wonderful!

  8. One of my favorite pictures of Jimmy is one of him licking a beater at my mom's house.

  9. Emily, I love reading your writing. It's so beautiful. You are so descriptive, I can picture you in that moment having the epiphany. Isn't it great to find out we're becoming like our mothers?

    And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sunflower cupcake! So adorable!

    Cameron has found the beauty of cookie dough. He loves to lick the bowl, too. Those were always good times for me, growing up. How can we possibly turn them away from that kind of joy? I just can't do it!

  10. First of all, the cuppies are adorable...but I wouldn't expect anything less from you.

    Second, your son is adorable...and AGAIN, I wouldn't expect ANYTHING less....

    There are moments when I realize I've done something that reminds me of my mom that make me proud too -- other times I just sigh...but mostly happy sighs...:)

  11. yummo!!!!! those are some beautifully delicious cuppies!!!

  12. Thanks for the memory of childhood (especially since we share it) and the photos. I just noticed your "monogram" on the photos (if you've been doing that for a while, sorry to be so dense) - I love how it captures your logo but more concisely :-)

    Hope your "mentees" enjoyed their evening with their cupcake expert...

  13. Wow, those are the craziest cupcakes I've ever seen.

  14. I love the cupcakes! I am now inspired to try some myself!


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