Thursday, March 10, 2011


A few years ago, I talked to my pre-service teachers about renewing yourself as a teacher, about how sometimes a teacher needs to "fill the bucket" so she can keep giving to her students. We discussed the many ways teachers can do this, but I also told them the story of one day I took for myself, just to recharge, when my family was all gone to work and school. I stayed home. Well, first, in my pjs, I went to the grocery store and bought a chocolate cake and checked out some movies. I went home and snuggled in with blankets and a pillow on the couch. As I watched my movies, I ate that cake--right out of the foil pan, without even putting it on a plate first. Later on, I did responsible things like grading papers and making lesson plans(and getting some exercise!), but I took a mini-vacation with my cake and movies first--and felt like a completely new person afterward. A few weeks later, one of my students gave me the book, Eat Cake (Jeanne Ray). In it, Ray says this: "Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down desert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn't, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn't a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don't eat a whole cake [well I almost did!]. You don't eat cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what's served on the happiest days of your life."
I like that sentiment. Today, I didn't have any cake, but I had something that makes me happy: a shortbread chocolate chip cookie. I was in American Fork for an early morning appointment today and stopped by Flour Girls and Dough Boys. They are the only place I know with these cookies, and I don't get by there that often. So, it's a party day. I had a cookie. For breakfast. And I'm not going to feel guilty.


  1. I agree, cake has got a bad rap over time. I love cake, and there is just something special about the experience of eating cake, cookies, or chocolate. It's like it has magical powers that whisks the eater away for a moment to a place of sheer joy. I feel sorry for everyone who deprives themselves the pleasure of a mouthful of Mississippi Mudcake or a slice of pie from the Cheese Cake Factory.(A new found treasure of American cuisine) My karate instructor said 'it is not one slice of cake that will make you fat, but the whole cake.' I think it got lost in the translation somewhere in my mind. All I heard was 'whole cake'. Thank you Sensei! I associate cake with my mum. She spent hours, if not days, making wedding cakes and birthday cakes for other people. In fact she made a going away cake for us when we left for America.Cake is not a symbol of evil or vice, but pleasure and celebration. "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" Gary W

  2. What a wonderful post. I think this is a great reminder for all of us that taking care of ourselves should be a priority. I have been inspired.