MOVarazzi

Sunday, June 24, 2012

802. That Time We Thawed The Ice-Cream Cake for Two Hours

When I was growing up, my mom fell in love with ice-cream cakes.  I don’t know if they were a new thing, or if they had been around since her own childhood, but she acted like she discovered them.  “Shall we call Baskin-Robbins and order an ice-cream cake?” became the catch phrase of my childhood.  Any occasion was ice-cream cake worthy:  birthday, Easter, Valentine’s, Christmas, good report card, get well soon, trash day.      

So it should come as no surprise that we ordered an ice-cream cake for my little sister Oakley’s sixth birthday.
Oakley’s birthday was on a Wednesday that year, so her party with her friends was going to be the Saturday after.  My mom is a big believer in celebrating on the actual day, so she made a point of making dinner reservations at our favorite restaurant for the five of us.  She had my step-dad meet us at there so that he could go to Baskin-Robbins to pick up the cake first without Oakley seeing it. 

The plan worked perfectly.  He arrived at the restaurant before us and had already spoken to Phyllis, the manager, about the cake.  He winked at my mom and whispered, “They’ll take care of everything.” 
By “everything,” I assumed he meant that Phyllis would put candles on the cake and walk out of the kitchen at the appropriate time.  By “everything,” my mom assumed that no one would ruin the surprise for Oakley.  By “everything,” Phyllis assumed that is was a regular cake (albeit it a very cold one), so she stuck it on a side counter in an out of the way spot in the kitchen. 

I shouldn’t say, “out of the way spot.”  I should say, “directly under the heat lamp.” 
We ate our dinner, blissfully unaware of the melty tragedy taking place behind the swinging kitchen door. 

When we finished our dinner, Phyllis came over to our table and sweetly asked if we would like dessert.  My mom shook her head no, then said dramatically, “No, sorry, we are all much too full for dessert!” 
Just then, a troop of waiters, waitresses, cooks, and underage dishwashers all came out of the kitchen cheering and singing “Happy Birthday” to my sister.  She loved being in the spotlight, and she clasped her little hands together in glee and anticipation.  The server gently set the cake down in front of Oakley. 

It was cake soup. 
I’m not sure if it was the excitement of the day or the fact that 20 people were hovering around us, but Oakley seemed to not notice that her cake was no longer a solid, but a liquid.  She blew out her crooked candles (reminiscent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa), and everyone clapped.  I felt like we were on stage in a strange play where one of the props malfunctions and the cast ignores it and goes on. 

My mother, however, could not ignore it.  While my step-dad cut into the cake with his spoon and my toddler brother reached for a straw, my mother left the table to speak to Phyllis.  “What happened?” I could hear her imploring.   
In the end, there of course was nothing we could do except eat the hot cake with sticky creamy sugar fossilized around it.  My brother licked his plate clean.   

On the drive home while my brother slept and Oakley chattered on and on about her Barbie wish-list for her party on Saturday, my parents bickered quietly in the front seat.  My mom blamed my step-dad for not explaining to Phyllis that the pink box with brown dots and the words “Baskin Robbins Ice-Cream” emblazoned on the top actually housed a frozen confection.  “I didn’t think to tell her, because I thought she would just know!” he hissed through clenched teeth. 
We arrived home and changed into our pajamas, Oakley still oblivious to the cake drama that swirled around her.  My mom came into our room to say goodnight, and Oakley asked: 

“Mommy, for Saturday’s party, can we have more of that ice-cream soup?” 
MOV

32 comments:

  1. "blissfully unaware of the melty tragedy" omg, hilarious! I can picture you with your spoons and straws. Phyllis, honey, buy a clue!

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    1. poor Phyllis. I wonder if she lost any sleep over ruining a 6-yr-old's birthday? (although I spoke to Oakley right after she read this post-- she did not even remember it!)

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  2. That is fantastic! Way to go for your little sister rolling with the flow and making the best of it! I'm fairly certain I would cry at ice cream cake soup! I really love those crunchy bits!!

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    1. no crunchy bits. boo. we had an austere childhood, apparently.

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  3. Oh my goodness! I love that Oakley loved it! I always laughed at how Carvel would use one shape of pan for so many different cakes!

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  4. Well, at least the birthday girl was unfazed!

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  5. I love ice-cream cake and I didn't realize before that trash day warranted me some. I dropped ice cream cake on my new Atari when I was eight and that was pretty much the end of childhood ice cream cake. All I remember was Missile Command after that.

    Funny story!

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    1. forgot to mention: ice cream cake had NO Nutella. Sorry, tracie!

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  6. OMG did it have crunchies? I loooove crunchies. I would eat ice cream cake soup if it had crunchies in it.

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  7. I love cake soup. Yum! Yum! Gimme some.

    Love,
    Janie

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  8. I am still laughing my ass off. It is these kinds of dysfunctional moments of high drama and peculiar family dynamics that always make me chuckle.

    Does that make me a bad person?

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  9. ah, cute. a perfect question for a perfect celebration! aren't kids great?! :D

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  10. You know, I've had ice cream cake soup, and it really isn't that bad. As a matter of fact, I prefer that.

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    1. hi nellie, you have a positive way of looking at things. :) Sorry I did not reply sooner, the Gods of Computer put this in my spam folder for some reason. And you did not even try to sell me anything or get me transfer money to your foreign bank account. huh.

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  11. God dammit this was good. Sorry for cursing, but you wrote it so well without saying it... and I know that is something that you are keen on.

    My question is this: if you could go back to your childhood for an hour... to this moment, perhaps... would you like to go back as a child, or would you rather go back armed with everything you know now?

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    1. Great question, Mike. I would choose a different hour to re-visit, specifically I would choose an hour when my grandmother and I went to the horse-races together. Those are very happy memories for me, spending time with her. She died when I was 21. I still miss her.

      (To my dad who might be reading this: I did not choose a Disneyland memory with you as my one hour in childhood, because you are still here and I talk to you all the time!!!)

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  12. This is such a GREAT story! You told it beautifully!

    When I was having our first child (who happens to be 8 TODAY), my sweet coworkers threw me a surprise baby shower at our office. Unfortunately, one of the employees was unaware that an ice cream cake needed to stay frozen until such time as you are ready to eat it. It wasn't quite ice cream soup, but it was a little less than firm let's just say.

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    1. Happy 8th birthday to your little guy!!! (although my 8 yr old is getting almost taller than me! not really that little, eh?)

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  13. Ok, the end made me laugh out loud. That was beyond awesome.

    So I gotta ask- did she get ice cream soup for her party?

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  14. This was so well written! I loved it! Bahahaha At least your sister enjoyed it and there was no meltdown at the dinner.

    ice-cream soup. Nice.

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  15. Here via We Band of Mothers/Marianne's Baskin Robbins Ice Cream story and that is a funny story!

    Common sense is clearly not that common. My in-laws have a favorite story of when my husband was little his mom asked him to go get a box fan and put it in the window. But they never explicitly told him to turn it on. I imagine you can see where I am going with this...

    Thanks for sharing! :)

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When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)