Sunday, May 20, 2007

Plato's Ideals

Reading Twisty on the perfect bag

(over here

of course, and if you are not already reading Twisty Faster daily you should be)

reminds me of why I do not like cake.

This is an issue for mr. delagar, as he comes from five generations of bakers -- flour in his blood, he is fond of telling me -- pastry issues, he tells the kid, serious pastry issues. He makes tarts, he makes tortes, he makes bread and pizzas and glaces and all sorts of fine baked goods, and we enjoy them all. But I can't like cakes. Not even his.

I tried to explain why at the last dinner party we had, at which he had made a perfectly enormous white cake with smooth butter-cream icing and rose-buds iced on top. Raspberry jam in the middle, of course.

"Because," I said, poking at the half piece left on my plate, which I was not going to finish, "because, you know, it is never the ideal cake."

He gave me a mutinous look from his end of the table.

"Like..." I tried to think how to explain. "Plato's ideal cake. The perfect cake. That's the cake I have in mind. It's just dense enough and just fluffy enough and has just the right weight and flavor...just enough icing and not too's Plato's cake. Do you see? No cake is ever going to be that cake."

"You're not funny," mr. delagar growled.

"No, I'm agreeing with you," I insisted. "If it wasn't such a serious matter, who would care? I don't mind about potato chips, you know. Or nachos." (This is a lie. It's why I've given up eating nachos, because Tostitos stopped making the round nacho cheese ones, which were the ideal nachos, and what was the point after that?) "But cake -- why eat cake if you can't get the ideal cake?"

He got up and took his cake to the kitchen. Uncle Charger and the kid were both trying not to laugh.

"And you never can," I said sadly.

No comments: