SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 24, 2012

Column: A lesson for the New Year

Standing in line at the supermarket, I flipped through a woman’s magazine. The cupcakes with kitty faces were really cute. They were just the thing to take to the annual Friends of Beverly Animals (FOBA) Christmas party. I committed the image to memory, deciding to recreate them at home. The cupcakes would be a hit, causing everyone to gush, “You are so clever!”

You could say that my expectations exceeded my ability. It also illustrates one of Murphy’s Laws: Things are always harder than they look, especially if it involves baking.

Add my attention deficit disorder: Those with ADD will do anything to avoid reading the fine print, including recipes and instructions. For instance, my 4-year-old car may be showing minor wear, but the driver’s manual is pristine. After all, it’s never been opened.

The morning of the party I made two dozen cupcakes using a box cake mix. They came out of the oven nice and golden . . . and tall. They rose so high they looked like Sno Cones. While they cooled, I mixed up a batch of frosting. As I stirred, the mixture thinned. I added more powdered sugar and when it became too thick, more milk. This went on until my arm became stiff from beating.

Finally, I frosted each naked cupcake and added a sprinkling of coconut. This set the stage for the fun part: making cute kitty faces. I had a vague idea of how they should look, yet hadn’t planned the details. If I, an art school grad, couldn’t create a kitty face, who could?

In the cupboard, I found peanuts for the eyes. I’d considered using M&Ms, like the magazine photo, but feared they’d get eaten before I could use them. Unfortunately, the peanut eyes created a startled deer-in-headlights expression. I searched the refrigerator for something else and found a container of black olives. In the end, I decided to stick with peanuts.

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