I know Purim is coming and I should be talking about that, but in truth, I got nothing Purim-related to share except half-baked ideas and a weird feeling in my stomach that's telling me I should really be more on top of this. Sigh. But you can't always listen to your stomach, especially when you're standing in a bakery at 8:45am and the cheese danishes are talking to you.
Wait, I'll back up.
Our youngest turns 7 today. If that's not enough to turn a mom into a (happy) weepy mess, I don't know what is.
Each first grader is invited to have their parent(s) come to school on their birthday to celebrate, read a book to the class and bring a treat. My 7-year-old wanted cupcakes. Full size cupcakes, not the mini ones with sprinkles that come in a a 12 pack and are easy to find. Full size cupcakes are on the pricey side but we obliged her wishes; you only turn seven once.
On the way home from work last night, Josh stopped at a bakery in Brooklyn and picked up 2 dozen cupcakes in assorted colors for the whole first grade class. But before he picked them up, he must have called the bakery three times from his office to confirm that they were nut-free. They are, insisted the guy who answered the phone in his questionable English. This bakery was the best option we had at the time - for one, they actually answered their phone. Prior to yesterday, we have no idea how many bakeries do not hear their phone ring. And ring. And ring again.
Josh arrived home and presented me with four boxes of cupcakes and a smile. I peeked inside the bag. The cupcakes looked perfect but they also lacked an essential ingredient when bringing cupcakes to school - the sticker on the box with the bakery's name, kosher certification and nut-free status. What to do? Panic, that's what. How wrong is it to print some labels and stick them on the boxes? VERY. So very wrong. Like, God would really not appreciate that kind of wrong. Oh, WWJD?! My brother asked that very question, as we what's app brainstormed about out extremely first world problem.
The *J* in his question was Joanna. We watch a lot of Fixer Upper on HGTV and I wanna be Joanna when I grow up. Don't we all? JoJo even opened her own bakery in Waco, TX last night on her show. She has a cupcake bakery, I need cupcakes. Our kids are the same age, she and I are the same age and so are Chip and Josh. Obviously we're meant to best friends. But Waco is far away, and it was late at night, and also who knows if her cupcakes are nut-free?!
Oh, kosher nut-free baked goods, why are you SO HARD TO FIND?!
Also, should I start a nut-free baked good business? The cottage industry laws are rather strict in NJ, I don't know.
And oh my, but this story has veered so off course. My apologies.
The truth is, at this point, I wasn't sure which was worse - that I couldn't prove that these were bought from a bakery in the heart of Flatbush-Ir-HaKodesh, with the word "Heimishe" in the name or that they were nut-free.
At this point, it was almost 9pm.
Thankfully our school has a wonderfully responsive assistant principal who answers his emails at night super quickly, although, it is possible that the subject line TIME SENSITIVE EMAIL!!!!! might have had something to do with it. We'll just never know, really.
After a few back and forth emails, we determined that it would not be okay to serve the cupcakes, not because of a kashrus doubt, but because of the maybe they are nut-free but maybe they're not dilemma. Hmmm.
I would never really take a chance that a kid has a nut allergy.
So now we have 24 of these cupcakes sitting on the dining room table.
I really wanted to eat one. Or six.
But I didn't. I couldn't. I have recently paid for a year of beachbody on demand, I joined the secret accountability group on facebook and I am now someone who makes good food choices and drinks lots of water, and oh my, this story is veering off into the abyss AGAIN. I'm so sorry. It is so hard to focus while sitting next to a large pile of cupcakes.
My friends, if by chance you find yourself needing ALL THE CUPCAKES today, reach out. I'm pretty sure all the food dye will keep these cupcakes fresh for a good week.
Seriously, I can help with your very specific orange baked good needs.
I also had to help myself. It's not so easy to find a place to buy 2 dozen cupcakes at 9pm.
Facebook: enter stage left.
It's not generally my favorite place to hang out but in this case, FB really came through for me, and in less than a minute I had the name and address of the bakery near school that is nut-free.
You know, you really can learn something new every single day.
Not only did I not know this bakery existed (even though it turns out I have been there before and just didn't know where I was, and that happens to me way more often than you'd think) but a mom who I do not know knocked on my car window this morning at drop-off to tell me about the bakery and how it doesn't open until 9am. How she knew I was looking for cupcakes, I do not want to really think about. Sometimes Facebook scares me.
In case you're sitting on the edge of your seats, hoping for a cupcake win, I hear you. I made it to the bakery, I have the cupcakes and we can all let out the collective breath that we have been holding together and I thank you for your support.
Also, this morning, I was a marine. A real honest to goodness American Marine. I mean, not an honest to goodness marine because marines don't go cupcake shopping early in the morning (I don't think) but they do get some serious stuff done early in the morning. My friends, by 9:30am, not only had I exercised, and started a chicken soup for shabbos, but I had woken everyone up, ushered them through a morning routine that still seems like a complete and total surprise to them every single day, found a missing boot, made breakfast, dropped everyone at school, filled the van with gas, did a week's worth of food shopping at Shoprite and visited my new favorite bakery, but, but (!) I was also, by that time, on my way home, on a highway that scares the living (as my 8 year will say) PATOOTIES out of me.
West Orange friends. Seriously. People. Governor Chris Christie. I do not understand Rt 280. Who can we talk to about this?! It just goes around and around and around in tight circles, down a huge hill, with the trucks going 80 miles an hour in the RIGHT lane, and just when you think your exit is next, it's not, because exit 11 all of a sudden has an exit 11A and I have to hang on tight to the steering wheel until exit 12. My ears get clogged on that highway, my eyes are blinded by the sun that appears and reappears after every sharp turn and I am never ever sure that I will make it off that highway with all the pieces of my van. AND, the cupcakes fell over, almost making my heart skip a full beat. The only upside to Rt. 280 that I can see is that it always reaffirms my relationship with the One Above; we speak often on that highway, sometimes with tears. Really, am I the only one who feels this way?
If I am, don't tell me. That would be embarrassing.
Don't worry, the cupcakes were fine, even though they flew across the back seat.
They're still smiling.
I feel so tired.
I'm off to first grade now.
I'll report back on the little party later.
Wish me luck. I am not a fan of reading out loud to little children that don't belong to me.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)