During my time at Minoela my old bistro, we served fresh homemade buttery pound cakes with brown sugar cream and fresh berries. It was by far, one of the most popular items on our menu in the sweets section. In the summer months, I could barely keep pound cake and cream in stock. We had a man who came from across the street once a week from the day we opened, for almost 3 years. It was his favorite. I began to see less and less of him & learned he had become ill. He’d call an order in and a friend would come get it for him. One evening he came in a wheel chair and he was on oxygen, he and his family ate that cake and laughed and cried. I hid away in the kitchen and cried a little too. My place had become his place. The one place he wanted to be. The following week his family came in but he wasn’t there. They order two orders of his favorite short cakes and they talked and laughed and they cried. How special this life is. I had no idea at the time but what I was doing wasn’t really about food at all. The coming years would prove this in the sweetest way.
5 years ago roughly to the days our restaurant closed its doors, Michael packed our car with the remaining supplies left after the massive sidewalk sale and one of the things left to take home were loads of pound cakes & gallons of heavy whipping cream. I was at home with this tiny fresh beautiful baby and in the weeks to come would prove to be the most wonderful time in my life.
Mike was tying up all the loose ends and when he got home I wrapped and froze the cakes and extra cream. We had no money. We had no business. I do remember feeling a sense of relief in the turmoil. Now we pick up the pieces. I stopped cooking. Our marriage was in a rocky place but now all of the sudden we were a family. We were home together, we were in love with our son. I had never in my life experienced love like that, so deep, I’d cry because I felt so lucky to finally have this sweet baby boy. For dinner in those days, we had pound cake and soft whipped cream and fruit. I remember sitting on our bed and talking again, like we used to. Talking about life, our family, what we hoped would be next. We did this nightly until the cake and cream ran out. We fell in love again over strawberry short cakes and a sleeping baby. I had long forgotten this sweet memory until last week at my dear friend Malia’s house we were talking and laughing and she set out everything for shortcakes. She whipped cream and we chatted still about life and the plans God had, about our families and future. My time with her is precious. We can be ourselves with no pressure. She plated my shortcake and doused it in cream and berries and I felt immensely loved. As I drove home from our visit I remembered when Mike and I began to heal over buttery cake, whipped cream and berries. Even in the darkest times there is hope, life and beauty. I have been thinking of pound cakes, shortcakes, proper cream and berries daily ever since.
Yesterday morning, I had a wonderful visit with a dear new friend Sarah, she invited us to her home to pick fresh figs. These aren’t just any figs, they are big beautiful dessert king figs, or pigs, as her sweet daughter calls them! The outer skin is bright vivid green and the interior flesh is the deepest rose pink. I shared my story about how our life got very hard and then God loved me enough to strip everything away and heal my marriage through a new beginning and a family I had only hoped for. It reminded me that I need to keep sharing, keep telling people the goodness of our heavenly father in broken times, in my brokenness. We left feeling refreshed and I headed to my mom’s house. When the evening came I broke out everything to make berry short cakes. Noah called back to my Dad outside and yelled “papa, we made you sweets for dinner!” As I split open the cake and poured the cream over top and put diced fresh figs and berries over top of that, I was completely in awe of what my life looks like now. So richly blessed with friendship and family. A healthy marriage to a man I was once to selfish to see had a heart of gold and no more bucket list. Everything I ever dreamed of doing, I’ve done. I broke a hunk of cake off and dunked into the sweet soft whipped cream and thanked God for my life. It isn’t perfect, I have so much room to grow, but I’ve never been happier. When I think back to my days at Minoela I thought I was on top of the world, and I was- alone. Unhappy, chasing a financial dream through food. When people ask me now what I do for a living I sometimes stumble through my words trying to articulate everything, all the jobs I have, and everything I do, but this summer we have truly solidified that Rustic Joyful Food isn’t really in the food business at all, we are in the people business and I happen to be using food to do it. My love for people and nurturing a woman’s heart far surpasses my love of cooking or business or styling. You might have a story that someone’s needs to hear, to feel encouraged, and to feel like that there is hope in a dark time. Never stop sharing. Never stop dreaming or believing you have a purpose that shines so bright and can’t be diminished by anyone or anything. Please eat all of the shortcakes.