My nephew Christopher is an amazing baker – he’s 13 years old now, but he’s been baking up a storm since he was 11. He’s been featured on our Vegan Mainstream blog, and also has a recipe in a book that’s coming out later this year on young cooks (how COOL is that?!).
Needless to say he has become our go-to guy whenever a cake is needed for a special occasion. It was recently his older brother’s birthday, and Josh, being a big hockey fan, requested a Stanley Cup cake. Christopher, undaunted by this task, set out to make the cake of his brother’s dreams. I had the privilege of helping out, and during this process we got to talking about what it means to make a birthday cake for someone.
Funny how things often connect – things I’m reading, with things that happen in my life, and this was no exception. I have recently been reading the book “Love and Survival” by Dr. Dean Ornish, as some personally assigned supplemental reading 🙂 for my RHN program, and I just LOVE this book. You may be familiar with Dr. Ornish for his groundbreaking work on reversing heart disease with diet and lifestyle – he has become quite famous, especially after helping Bill Clinton to reverse HIS heart disease and get healthy on a vegan diet. But perhaps less well known is the importance that Dr. Ornish places on love and intimacy in relation to how healthy you are. He goes as far as saying in this book that love and intimacy are, in fact, more important than ANY other factor – including diet and exercise (this is NOT to say that you can ignore those things though! 😉 )
It’s a great read, and I’m loping through it at breakneck speed – one of those books that makes me look at my life, my family, my friends and my community with new and especially appreciative eyes.
What does this have to do with birthday cake?
Well, this Stanley Cup cake provided some extra challenges. Chris pondered whether he should try to make the icing silver, worried about whether the shape was exactly right, and stressed (just a little!) about how to make the whole thing look even, despite the fact that he was making it out of 3 different cakes. That was when we started talking about how special it is to make a birthday cake for someone and how much it means. The love that goes into it is good for everyone’s health, no matter what the cake itself is made out of or what it looks like in the end. Christopher’s cakes are ALWAYS big hits, and it’s not only because they taste great and are beautiful, but because of all the love and thought he puts into them.
And Joshua was suitably impressed with this masterpiece (especially because Chris decided to put the Flames logo on it since that’s Josh’s favorite team). 🙂