Icing on the Cake

I am not a shopper. I am what you might refer to as a “get-in-get-it-get-out” kind of consumer. The act of wandering a store looking at popcorn poppers I have no use for, shoes I’ll never wear, or spring jackets simply because they’re on the mark-down rounder holds no appeal for me. Raking dry leaves on a windy day with a garden hoe is time better spent.

I know men who are shoppers. (And yes, I’m making a sexist assumption that more women than men are shoppers.) My neighbor guy does all their marketing. Marketing being the term our forefathers-forefathers used to describe the day they loaded everyone in the buggy for the perilous Indian-infested journey into town. There they bought supplies like sorghum, and flour, chawin’ tobacco, and lottery tickets, enough to last for six months.  

On occasion, I will accompany my wife to the grocery store for supplies. We go in our car and have seldom seen any Indians. Depending on my mood she’ll ask me to a) follow her around the store or b) tell me to sit in the car and stare at my smarter-than-I phone. If I’m on-the-ball I’ll pretend to be crabby on our way to the store.

But I gotta tell you, like-minded non-shoppers, you need to take a walk around a grocery store once in a while. The variety of available foods is nothing short of amazing. It ain’t just sorghum and flour and chawin’ tobacco no more. 

On a recent jaunt to the store, since it was below freezing outside, magnanimous me followed my wife inside. Quickly skirting the produce section, lest something healthy inadvertently fall into our cart, I found myself in the gourmet foods section. In particular, the array of everything pickled caught my eye. 

There were jars of pickled asparagus, pickled mushrooms, pickled beets, pickled watermelon rind, pickled grapes, pickled carrots, dusty jars of pickled Brussels sprouts, even pickled pickles. Wait, stop, go back; pickled Brussels sprouts? Yeah, I’m really sorry, but no. You can pickle Brussels sprouts, you can roast Brussels sprouts with brown sugar, you can boil them, blanch them, stew them or bake them, and they will still, always, and forever, be Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts taste like wet leaves that have been moldering in the corner of your garden since last fall. When I was a kid, even my Dad wouldn’t eat Brussels sprouts. I knew then they were nothing to be trifled with.

So I’m perusing the pickled condiments, and the gourmet dried salamis and the specialty cheeses, and the crackers and breadsticks with sesame seeds and breadsticks with poppy seeds and breadsticks with garlic and I came across this . . . 

If you’re the day-to-day grocery shopper in your family, I’ll give you two guesses as to what this is. If you’re like me and haven’t set foot in a grocery store since the milkman stopped coming to your house, I’ll give you 200 guesses as to what this is.

I lied. I’m not gonna wait around all day for you to go through 200 guesses. It’s frosting, cake frosting, or cookie frosting. It’s great greasy gobs of disgustingly colored lard frosting in a plastic clamshell container. What in holy hell?!

Who buys a clamshell container of frosting? Especially bright orange or bright yellow or bright red frosting. 

And I think to myself, oh okay, someone is training someone new in the bakery. The trainer gave the trainee the frosting recipe and said, “Here, make a one-gallon batch of this.” And the trainee thought they said 55 gallons, and they had some leftovers. And the baker was like, well, what the hell are we going to do with all this frosting? 

On occasion, my wife will order a decorated birthday cake from this grocery store bakery. They offer two different kinds of frosting – whipped and grease. Our entire family loves the greasy frosting. My wife places the order and tells the bakery person – we want the greasy frosting. 

My wife – an excellent fattening-sweets maker herself – was recently able to obtain the recipe for this cake frosting. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine seven pounds of softened butter, 16 cups of powdered sugar, one-half gallon of heavy cream, a bottle of vanilla extract, and a pinch of oregano. Turn your heavy-duty all-purpose Sir Mix-a-Lot Mixer to slow for 15 minutes. After the butter begins to combine with the powdered sugar, turn Sir Mix-a-Lot to NASCAR-fast and beat the living crap out of the ingredients until they’re smooth and creamy. This recipe will make enough frosting for a half dozen tiny cupcakes. It can also harden the arteries of the entire Russian army.

Yes, we eat this icing/frosting spread over a cake. If you’re lucky, you get a corner piece where the cake may not be as thick, and the frosting fills the void. But for God’s sake, we don’t eat it by the spoonful out of a clamshell container.

I looked for a sign on top, maybe something that read, “Hey, lazy fat slob, yeah you, this is for you! You can snack on this while watching My Big Life.”

I don’t understand. What would you do with an entire plastic clamshell full of greasy frosting? I would not put it on clams. Or a clam, or your clam. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing.)

Do people buy it with which to frost their own cakes? If you’re able to make a cake, isn’t it reasonable to assume you’re able to make frosting? 

When I was a kid, and my Mom made frosting, if she had any leftover, she’d spread it on graham crackers and give it to us for a treat. Are people buying entire clamshells of frosting and spreading it on graham crackers. Which, when you think about it, is a reasonable idea. 

Considering the amount of butter in this frosting, it could be that some guys are picking it up to repack the wheel bearings on their ‘83 Ford Bronco. The internet says you “grease car parts for smooth movement.” I tell you what, you eat a clamshell of that icing, and you ain’t gonna have no problem with that.

Yours in health.


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