Not Taking The Cake

In a scandal very much like the one where French and Russian figure skating judges fixed Olympics results, I was robbed this morning of a cake decorating crown that was--by at least one account--rightfully mine.

But first, the important stuff: The annual "cake-off"--in which the likes of Robbie Owens and Teresa Frosini of CBS 11 news, meteorologist Rebecca Miller from channel 33 and a lowly Observer food writer decorate cakes--draws attention to a campaign benefiting the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank. Over the next couple weeks, Kroger stores will donate a portion of sale price of certain tagged items to both organizations.

Now, the down-and-dirty, scandalous details:

We were paired with a professional from the Kroger team and given 30 minutes to decorate a sheet cake to reflect the campaign's "Bringing Hope to the Table" theme.

Although it doesn't mention this in her online bio, Rebecca Miller's 25 years experience at various upscale bakeries made her an early favorite. Channel 11 countered with two personalities--pastry chef (again not in her bio) Teresa Frosini and Robbie Owens, who put together a support crew that I believe included I.M. Pei and Jacques Torres. Clearly they intended to dominate the event.

I, of course, entered the deal to support a cause rather than compete. Hardly more than once did I deliberately bump Miller's arm as she tried to squirt green icing into some kind of leaf shape.

Anyway, I designed a heartfelt sketch where trucks loaded with goodies arrive at a food bank. The upbeat scene shows vehicles sponsored by 11 and 33 in a gentle collision, warming flames glowing from the soon to be recycled metal, a puffy cloud of West Nile-killing smoke easing into the sky and organic appendages scattered across the good earth...as the Observer-sponsored truck alone brings hope safely to the table.

Meanwhile, the Owens-Pei-Torres squad were busy arranging petals from an endangered flower, cultivated in fields created by bulldozing tracts of rain forest, to depict a rainbow--hardly a symbol of hope. And Frosini dotted her cake with upside down frowny faces, sending a message of despair to hungry people everywhere. Miller finished up what looked to be a patch of weeds hidden in some isolated forest, protected by trip wires.

Hardly seems right that all three finished well ahead of me in scoring. Must have been some judging shenanigans involved....

Actually, Owens was awarded the prize of $1,000, donated in her name to the food banks.

It was a fun event, full of comments like "why is my icing falling off" and "what do I do next?" A good cause benefits and we all got to keep our cakes...Well, I got to keep mine, at least. Something to do with them not being able to auction it, perhaps.

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