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The Cake That Saved My Sanity

Roselyn Pickens October 25, 2021

Italian Butter Cake

It had been one of those weeks, all three barely adult children had come into a crisis, I had thirteen bazillion assignments due by the end of the week, and my husband and I were feeling the pressure brewing in our marriage. I suggested we take a drive out to Green Hills where we could enjoy the quiet to hold hands and catch up with each other. I also wanted to check out the Lush store at the Green Hills Mall.

Just as our wheels began to hum on the interstate and our hands found the other to hold, the phone rang, the oldest with another emergency. By the time we arrived at the mall my head was pounding and my pulse racing. At least I could look at all the pretty bath bombs, I thought. The moment I crossed the threshold at Lush, alarms went off and the doors were shut locking me inside. Ordinarily I would’ve been happy for this retreat, an excuse to spend frivolously, but I truly wanted this night connecting with my husband. He was in the bookstore looking over his favorite reads. As I sat in the stock room of Lush surrounded by lovely smells, I waited for my release with hunger pains growing in my belly.

After what turned out to be a false alarm, we escaped to North Italia choosing my husband’s favorite cuisine. The dishes were beautiful, but not plated to my expectations. I’ve being married to a man who lived in Italy for years, so I have grown accustomed to personalized expectations of Italian food. The flavors were wonderful, but my stress levels were demanding that I could only be happy with the unreasonable expectations in my head. Even though my unsweetened tea glass had remained full, I sat pouting. The love of my life, knowing me well, suggested we order dessert. “Italian Butter Cake”, he told the waiter, and my eyes began to gleam. I read the small type on the dessert menu: wild blueberry preserves, whipped lemon crème fraiche, cinnamon crumble, basil—the gleam in my eyes turned to a glare. Who puts basil on dessert? I began to rub my temples wondering what catastrophe would happen on the way home.

The cake was set in front of us with two huge spoons. The first bite relaxed my jaw into a delicious and savory ahhhhh. I closed my eyes, felt my husband slip his hand into mine as we sat there in a moment of bliss. The second bite, I found heaven in the hint of blueberry mixed with lemon creme and as I closed my eyes again, I felt my sanity returning to me. The basil I complained about complimented this sweet perfection so wonderfully, it would destroy the experience to leave off. I must insist that this cake accompany every woman into the motherhood, and every man who supports her through it.


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