Saturday, October 1, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Ever tried black bottom cupcakes?

I hadn't either, in all my years living in the US, but when I discovered that cupcakes were the latest thing in Cologne, I once decided to make a cupcake theme party, and found a recipe in my cooking bible, the Joy of Cooking. Black bottom cupcakes became part of my repertoire.

It seems I've started a little baking club among some of my young neighborhood friends. One of them, Katie, 10, asked me recently, "Noreen, when can we bake again?" I hadn't realized it was even on her mind.

A week later, "Can we bake cupcakes? Chocolate?"

Yesterday Katie and Sophia, 9, and I baked black bottom cupcakes. We were together for nearly three hours. It was nice, it was a lot of work, and then I spent the evening trying to relax. I thought no more of it.

This morning in my inspirational book I read, "I am aware of thoughts racing and crashing through my mind at an alarming speed - memories, broken promises, fears, failed expectations...chaos." This is a very familiar state to me. Films of my life flashing in fast-backward, no time to hold onto a snapshot because it's already gone. I read today that communicating with someone can help get a hold of what's happening. It can make life less mad.

My thoughts turned to my other writing friends who are keeping blogs. I keep a blog, I thought, why haven't I written? Because my life has gotten out of hand, unmanageable, at least in part, and I wasn't able to focus anymore. When these times come, I tend to think that I'm not contributing much of anything to life, and that all that's happening is that it's speeding by. Quickly. To its end. I'm not young anymore.

Then I remembered yesterday. This was important! Katie remembered, all those months later, that we had baked together. She kept reminding me of our baking date.

Katie is Cameroon. Once when she was here baking, we ended up talking about heaven, and I told her that the Bible says we'll have new bodies in heaven. "Then maybe I won't have to be black anymore!" she exclaimed, and ripped a hole in my heart. I tried to affirm her.

There's so much I don't know about Katie. Or Sophia, who is Czech. We're all from somewhere else, living in Germany, and I have found a way to touch these girls, only half aware of it, because life keeps rushing by.

Yesterday we baked without much incident, so it seemed unimportant. We decorated the cupcakes with chocolate butter cream, which we topped with "chocolate lentils", a soft, minty, German version of M&Ms, and Haribo candy pieces. Sophia dropped one she was trying to frost, and it fell, upright, to the floor, frosting a cupboard door first. They laughed when I licked the frosting off the door.

Today, after reading in my book, it occurred to me that yesterday was worth writing about. Life is composed of film strips which, if you can catch them, are all worthy of beholding and thinking about, even holding close, like looking at portrait of a loved one (which I also rarely do). There is so much depth in each of our daily lives, and we miss almost all of it, rushing on to the next thing, forgetting what we have just done.

I could have asked the girls what it is like to be a foreigner in a German school, or how many non-Germans are in their class, but we were too focussed on our project to talk much. I do know that Katie is going to America in two weeks, and she can't wait. I guess America, at least for her, is where it's all happening. Not here.

I'll have to invite Katie and Sophia over again to bake - Christmas cookies next time. I'll ask them about being foreigners. And next time I'll think to let you know about what they said. This time, I stopped the film in time to think about yesterday.

The cupcakes were delicious, by the way.


Boulderscribe said...

Black bottom cupcakes sounds fun. My fave cupcake recipe from the Joy of Cooking is lemon-coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

On poetry, fiction and found literature

Uma said...

A baking club with your little neighbors sounds like a lovely gesture Noreen! Keep the blog going.