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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Icing on the (Cup)cake

Pin It I was asked to make a cake for a funeral luncheon last week. In my opinion, people who are eating at a funeral luncheon deserve the best there is - with a little bit of happiness thrown in as well.

Does it get any happier than cupcakes in shiny wrappers?

I used to think that perhaps it was a bit disrespectful to go against the grain when it came to those who were paying their final respects to someone that they loved. So, in the past, when asked to assist in providing a meal for those in attendance at a funeral I always prepared exactly what I was asked to bring.

Until my dad died.

After returning to the church from the cemetery I was drained. Emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. I walked to the food tables, loaded with mountains of rolls and pans of cheesy potatoes and slices of ham that many kind people had prepared for us, and forced myself to eat. When I had finished my meal I happened to walk past the dessert table so that I could toss my empty paper plate in the garbage. I had no desire for sweets. However, in order to hold in my tears I had resorted that day to putting empty thoughts in my head, so as I walked I mentally noted what I saw. White cake. Chocolate cake. Yellow cake. Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Yellow cake.

And then... cupcakes! In bright, cheery wrappers! But the thing which really caught my attention was the colorful chocolate candies, placed on top of each cupcake in the shape of a smiley face. Somehow this simple change from the expected brought a smile to my face and I grabbed one, hoping that the saying 'You are what you eat' would hold true. I thoroughly enjoyed each bite, savoring the happiness each one seemed to contain.

Now, when asked to provide a cake for a funeral luncheon, I always do something more. The cupcakes I made not only looked blissful, they tasted it as well. Do you know why? They were frosted with my best homemade buttercream frosting. They were topped with sprinkles. And they were made with the hope that even the smallest bit of happiness would come to those who would be enjoying them.

When it comes to happiness, I'm all for paying it forward.


Mel said...

What a great idea. A little whimsey in the midst of sorrow. I would hope that everyone could see the wisdom of that and appreciate the thought the way you did. I may have to steal that idea from you in the future...besides, my funeral potatoes aren't really all they should be. I'm better with whimsey.

Linn said...

I love this--and will definitely be making cupcakes from now on. Thanks so much!

Teachinfourth said...

Wonderful, Gerb! Like you mentioned before about singing the love and goodness into food; it looks like you found yet another way to do it.

Anonymous said...

I never really thought about the funeral food--cupcakes! Who'd of thunk it? I love that idea.

Chelle! said...

Cupcakes at funerals?? I think that is a simply delightful idea!!! Thinking back to my grandma's funeral...I wish there would have been cupcakes. She lived such a wonderful life!!! Why not celebrate it? You are amazing!!!

Corine said...

That is so cool! :D I always struggle with traditions at funerals (black clothes, mourning, etc.) Sometimes I too get the courage to go against the grain, hoping to be a ray of happiness and not a source of offense. I'm sure you pulled that off very well! Thanks for sharing!

Gerb said...

Mel - Steal away. And I forgot how much I love the word 'whimsy' until I read your comment. Thanks!

Linn- Thanks for reading! And welcome to the Cupcake Brigade. =0)

T4th- I actually did sing some love into the cupcakes, too. I always sing some happiness into my food! Mostly because it drives my kids nuts...

L- The kids always eat them, if no one else. =0)

Chelle- I hope the dessert table at my funeral is FILLED with brightly frosted cupcakes with M&M smileys on them. Wouldn't that be awesome? What a way to go! It would be like party favors.

Corine- I know what you mean. It always makes me happy to occasionally see people wearing bright, cheery outfits at funerals. It's nice to know there are at least 2 of us who are brave! Thanks for reading. =0)

Stephen T said...

What a fab idea. I moved to Utah from a small town in East Texas. Back home, funeral luncheons at the church is still a relatively new thing. People just took food to the family home. I guess it has only been 12-13 years since the idea of the 'luncheon at the church' has caught on. Now they have some elaborate spreads for funerals.

Gerb said...

Stephen- My family ate for nearly a week off of the abundance of food that was provided for my dad's funeral. You're right - the spreads do get pretty elaborate at the church. It is heart-warming how people are so willing to step up to the occasion. Thanks for reading!

The Scotts said...

You..... Are Awesome!

Gerb said...

The Scotts - Although we have never met I feel completely confident in saying that YOU are also AWESOME. Because everyone is awesome in their own way.

And I must also add: thanks for reading. It makes me feel awesome. =0)

Jenny said...

oh aw. this makes me want to cry!

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