Friday, March 27, 2009

A Shape for Cake

When she was little, my little sister B used to say that her stomach had spaces shaped like certain foods. There were chicken and pasta and bread shapes—and plenty of cake shapes—but she would tell our mother that her stomach just doesn’t have a broccoli shape this evening but there is, however, a space shaped like ice cream.

Now, her stomach has shapes for broccoli and beans, carrots and celery, lettuce and leeks, and no shapes at all for cookies and cakes. What happened in there, I wonder.

B eats salad for every meal. She claims that she would be perfectly content to eat the same thing every day for the rest of her life, but I don’t quite believe it. On her birthday, B takes a look deep inside and finds her dessert shape. It’s there, just wedged in tight with all the vegetables, smooshed into a teeny fold of stomach lining. On her birthday, B allows the dessert shape to emerge. It unfurls into a glorious chocolate cake with chocolate icing shape, or a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting and sprinkles shape. And she enjoys every last moment of filling up that shape. But only on birthdays.

I usually feel pretty good about the way F and I eat. We make recipes from Cooking Light and eat lots of fresh produce, lean meats, fish, and whole grains. We are moderate in our portion sizes and generous with our vital nutrients. And then B comes to town. Compared to her usual cereal for dinner, my gourmet creations are monstrous mounds of fat, carbs, and calories.

B will be arriving from NYC tonight, and I am determined to rescue her dessert shape from its sad fold. At the same time, she will guide me through this new world of vegetables I have only recently discovered. On Saturday, we will dine at the vegetarian restaurant Green Zebra to fill up our vegetable shapes. And then, on Sunday, we’ll stuff our dessert shapes at a chocolate-making class.

If all goes well, by the end of the weekend all of our shapes will be satisfied.

Photo courtesy of


  1. my stomach is full of cheez-it shapes, pizza shapes, turk burg shapes and cupcake shapes.

  2. Today my stomach is full of cereal shapes, bagel shapes and granola bar shapes. Not sure if it's quite ready for Chicago shapes yet...


  3. carb shapes are the best.

  4. My stomach is just one big shape. I can't wait for breakfast!

  5. i think you mean 'brekkers'.

  6. Jesus, no more cute-cute words for youse twosies.