Category Archives: Food

Hoochie Mama Princess Party

Smack between Christmas and the New Year is Ellie’s birthday. When I was pregnant with her and realized when she was likely to be born, I knew it would be trouble. Holiday-time birthdays are always eclipsed by someone else’s birthday (I’m looking at you, JESUS).  It didn’t really matter when she was a baby, or even last year when she turned 2, but I suspect age 3 is when they start keeping a mental record of the ways that you’ve failed them. This year, I had to produce A PARTY.

There were a fair amount of mental gymnastics involved. For example, the gifts. What would be for Christmas, and what would be for her birthday? Here was my detailed, insightful approach: I bought a bunch of stuff for her and decided that I would figure it out at the last minute.

But then on Christmas Eve (the last minute!), I realized that if I didn’t put everything I had for her under the tree, the Scales of Christmas Gift Justice would be tipped wildly in Benjamin’s favor. A disgustingly luxurious first world problem, I know. Nonetheless, I couldn’t let it happen, so all the gifts went under the tree and I shopped for birthday gifts after Christmas. There were lots of deals (yay!) on crap that nobody else wanted either (boo).

Next, I went to order the cake, which was great because I knew exactly what to get: The Barbie Princess Cake. I take her grocery shopping with me nearly every Sunday, and each time we have to go to the bakery counter to look at it. I’m sure you’ve seen a version at your local bakery – it’s a Barbie sticking out of a huge skirt-shaped cake. This bakery decorates the skirt area with a cascading spray of delicate pink buttercream roses. For the last several months, she has squealed over it regularly. “Oh MAMA! Wook at da bootifoh pwincess! I have it on my birfday???”

After briefly considering the possibility of making the cake myself, I went to the bakery to order it. Right before I walked away, I thought to ask,

“How many people does the cake serve?”

The bakery attendant referred the question to the stern-faced cake decorator, who replied tersely, “No one knows.”

“What do you mean,  no one knows?”

“Because of the shape of the skirt and the many layers of cake, it’s impossible to say.”

“Surely you must have a general idea?”

“No, there’s no way to say.”

I stared at him dumbly. I considered discussing this with a manager, or attempting to perform a complex mathematical equation, but instead I  just gave up and ordered a dozen pink cupcakes too, in case the voluminous cake skirt was heavy on architecture and light on actual cake.

When the day came, Ellie was wide-eyed and thrilled with everything. My little girl loved it all – the decorations, the food, the party guests, the presents, and ohmygoodness – THE CAKE. It was as delicious as it was beautiful.

Everything seemed so innocently pink and royally wholesome, the doll posing demurely in her cake like a blonde Kate Middleton…

until I released Princess Barbie from her cake-and-buttercream prison. And then several of the party guests, including myself, started to giggle after a brief, stunned moment of silence. Because this was no Princess Barbie after all…this was Princess HOOCHIE MAMA Barbie:

(Special self-congratulatory note: I arranged those flowers. All by myself!)

As you can see, although the picture doesn’t even do it justice, her outfit is something one might wear on their way to work as a “hostess” in a “club,” perhaps a club designated for “gentlemen” somewhere near “the airport.” In real life, the dress is even shorter than the picture makes it appear. It is more like something that someone (not me) might wear as a SHIRT. And it’s made out of shiny plastic, which makes sense because you could just wipe the cake off of it and all, but STILL.

And then, the shoes:

When we saw the shoes, the giggles turned into gales of laughter, which brought The Daddy over to see what our problem might be. Ellie came too, and said, “Oooohhhh, she has a pwetty dwess on!”  Which made us laugh even more.

When I put Ellie to bed that night, she snuggled into me and thanked me for her party. I asked her what her favorite part was, and she said it was her cake. I felt so very happy to be able to make her 3-year-old birthday dream come true.

As for Hoochie Mama, she’ll be undergoing intensive psychoanalysis to deal with her daddy issues and her propensity for exhibitionism. I’ll keep you posted!


The 10 Laws of Chocolate

“I threw away the rest of the Easter candy.”


“The Easter candy that was left over – I threw it away.”

“You mean the chocolate?”

“Yeah, the bag that was in the dining room. I threw it out.”

<horrified face> “But there was chocolate in there!”

“Uh-huh. I was sick of the kids asking me about it every day.”

(I will admit – this part about the harrassing children made perfect sense to me.)

“But it was….chocolate! Can you get it back?”

“Um…no? I threw it away, like in the trash.”

“Was it sealed up well in a plastic bag? Have they collected the trash already?”

“Yes, they picked it up already. It’s gone.”

That’s right, people, I considered digging through the trash. I most likely would not have followed through with an actual dumpster dive; the point is, it was an initial gut reaction to horrifying news.

Chocolate is practically a holy substance, rife with magical powers. In my mind, there are several important rules regarding the care, keeping and consumption of chocolate. Chocolate may be:

1. Hoarded
2. Coveted
3. Hidden where others won’t find it
4. Cherished
5. Resisted
6. Given or received as a gift
7. Used as a bartering or bribing tool (i.e., if you stop torturing your sister, you may have some chocolate)
8. Taken medicinally to cure bad feelings
9. Given a starring role in any and all household baking
10. And finally, most obviously, EATEN.

But it should never, ever be thrown away, unless it’s been proven without a doubt to have been tainted by some kind of poison. And even then, only if the poison is known to induce death. If it’s only going to, say, potentially paralyze one of my legs for a few hours, or cause a few patches of my hair to fall out…well, I guess it would depend on the quality of the chocolate. If it was the really good stuff? I’d probably decide that a temporary case of balding paralysis was completely worth it.