Friday, June 19, 2009

Resourcefulness and the Ugly Birthday Cake

You know usually I put up some sort of information I deem useful. I'm just like that. I'm prone to action rather than much thought (hey, don't take that too far--you know I think occasionally . .). Something happens and I think, "What can I DO about it?" and get busy instead of fretting over this and that and hashing out possible courses of action for too long. I like when things are happening NOW and hate waiting for anything. Anyway, all that aside, I'm posting thoughts today (don't expect them to get too deep) along with a little experience from last weekend (yeah, I'm that far behind).

My daughter's birthday was Sunday, so about Thursday I started thinking about it (did I mention I'm also prone to procrastination?). We had to go over the mountain so I could see yet another doctor on Friday and I took along a long list of things to get at the store. Unfortunately, the Dr appointment ran long and it's 2 1/2 hours one way to get there and we had to get back by 6:00 for a softball barbeque sweet husband had helped plan, so I didn't get much of my list done. Saturday we spent the day fishing with friends, so again I didn't get to the store.

Then Sunday rolled around. Sweet little daughter wanted a 3 layer cake with white frosting. Me and cakes do not get along, but I have pretty good success with cake mixes. On this day, however, I had no cake mix, and I really try not to shop on Sundays (besides the fact that there isn't a store open for 10 miles on Sundays around here), so I opted to use a recipe out of a local recipe book assuming that it would work for my altitude, etc. It sunk so bad it wasn't funny. Now of course I didn't start this project until about 3:00 so I really didn't have time to bake something else, so I cut it up and patched it together and made really the ugliest 3 layer cake I've ever seen. Whew.

Now to frost it. Of course I don't have a can of frosting, so I went to the food room in search of powdered sugar and alas, there was none to be found. (Powdered sugar is one of those "extras" in the food storage, and "extras" haven't been in the budget lately.) Hmmmmmm. How am I supposed to make frosting without powdered sugar??? We surely can't leave the cake looking as ugly as it did--it really did need some sort of covering on it. So I grabbed a cookbook and amazingly found a recipe for frosting that used regular sugar and egg whites (turned out kind of like really sweet meringue). So I whipped up a batch of that and frosted the ugly cake. My daughter was SO pleased to have her 3 layer cake with white frosting, just like she wanted, and I was saved by resourcefulness.

So the birthday cake experience really got me thinking about a couple of things. First, in order to be resourceful, you need some resources. You can't make something out of nothing. If I had no flour, sugar, eggs, good cookbook, etc. I would have had a real hard time making any kind of cake. Resources are also your acquired skills and a bit of creativity. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to "make something up" using skills and information I learned doing something else. Be willing to think outside the box and draw from your resources both physical and mental when faced with a challenge.

Second, it's nice to have the things you need to make what you need to make. It's much harder if you have to improvise certain things. You know, if you need to pound in a nail, wouldn't you rather have a hammer than a rock? It would have been much easier and a lot less time consuming to have pulled out a cake mix and can of frosting and made the cake that way. Or at least had a cake mix--frosting in a can isn't that good. Some things can be improvised if you don't have the tools you need, but some things simply cannot be done without the proper tools. Get the tools you need. Sometimes you don't know the tools you need until you try building/cooking/making, so get busy adding mental and physical resources to your gear.

That's about as deep as it gets around here. :)


HermitJim said...

Judging from the smile on that little face, I'd say that you did just fine!

After all, getting that smile is what it's all about, right?

Well done, lady!

Momnerd said...

Good job! You never cease to amaze me. Or you could have, you know, called me and I could have given you a cake mix, frosting, and powdered sugar. ;) Although your way was a lot more resourceful. And soon you won't have me I guess. Although I'm more scared about the fact that I won't have you. sigh. Sorry I missed you this morning. Give us a call if you want to get rid of those critters.

Angela said...

Thanks Jim. Yep, gotta love getting the smiles!

Momnerd--See how crazy I am? It never even crossed my mind to call you or anybody else. You know me and "asking for help" don't spend too much time together. That would have been much easier . . .

TheSurvivalMom said...

I have to say the pic today is much more attractive than the trout pics! LOL

There are so many advantages to being prepared, but the one you mentioned about having what you need when you need it rings so true.

On my blog yesterday I wrote about a month recently when our income was cut in half. I was so thankful, beyond thankful, really, that we had so much stored up. I ended up needing only $166 during the month to take care of things like produce, bread, and some ingredients for a couple of potluck dishes.

Love your blog!


theotherryan said...

I think the cake looks nice. Glad it all worked out OK.

Angela said...

Lisa-I totally agree with there being many benefits to having reserves stored up! Come in handy more than once around here. Nice job getting through the tough month. Sometimes a little practice like that really helps you find your weak spots.

TOR-Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad it worked also. :)

Catherine Anne said...

I love the cake and the look on her face is the best! -

Chef Tess said...

To your daughter, that is the most amazing cake to grace your table. I don't think ugly is the right word. Magical maybe...Well done. I'm glad you had the resources to pull it together. That says a lot! We've lived on a shoe string budget before where that cake would have been the rule, not the exception. It really brings back memories.

prepared teacher said...

FYI, powdered sugar is just regular sugar pulverized in a food processor. The makers fo powdered sugar add cornstarch to keep it fresh. You only need to pulverize it and use it in your recipes. Don't buy powdered sugar and store it when you can make it using regular sugar, save the space for more sugar or other things. :)