Friday, January 28, 2005

Have Your Cake Knife

Smartmom bought a cake knife yesterday. It's one of those things she's always been without. Always. At birthday and dinner parties she usually has to cut the cake or pie with a regular old knife and then, with difficulty, lift the slice up with the knife, a spoon, or a spatula.

The slice of cake or pie is always a mess by the time it hits the plate. Always.

Smartmom dropped hints this year about a cake knife. She had fantasies of getting an old cake knife, a family heirloom from Hepcat's family. His materbal grandmother was a great giver of parties and collected plenty of silver, flatware and serving implements.

Smartmom half expected to find a cake knife under the Christmas tree. But she didn't. There and then Smartmom decided to take matters into her own hands. She was determined to buy herself her very own and special cake knife.

Smartmom loves to search for things like that. For a whole summer she searched flea markets, houseware shops and antique stores for the perfect cake plate. She finally found it at Sage Street Antiques in Sag Harbor. It was a great feeling of satisfaction when she got exactly what she was looking for.

(It's funny how so much revolves around cake. Hmmmm. Cake plate, cake knife. "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...")

So, getting a cake knife was Smartmom's unspoken New Years resolution. "This year I will buy one," she said to herself a couple of week ago when she had a birthday party for Groovy Grandpa. That night, she served a beautiful chocolate cake with snowflakes in white icing from Two Little Red Hens Bakery and it sat on her very special antique cake plate from Sage Street Antiques.

But the whole effect was ruined when she had nothing, NOTHING appropriate to slice the cake with. And, as always, the delicious custard-filled cake was a mess when it hit the plate. Plop.

Well yesterday, when she and Hepcat and Teen Spirit were walking to the Apple Store on Prince Street after Teen Spirit's interview at a high school, they discovered a new store in Soho. It happened to be in a storefront that used to house Smartmom's beloved Agnes B. In the window of this new store called Carrol Boyes Smartmom saw lovely silver and pewter dishes and bowls displayed in the window.

Something beckoned her inside. It was the promise of her cake knife.

Turns out that Carrol Boyes is a South African designer of unusual cutlery, flatware, tableware and housewares. She uses a fusion of pewter, aluminium, and stainless steel. The pieces are handmade in Capetown and the company is very diverse and, according to the manager of the store, highly interested in women's empowerment. "Carrol's love of and for South Africa is boundless and evident in her work," is what it says in the store's brochure.

Smartmom was sold - the politics AND the artistry of Carol Boyes "fusion art" really grabbed her. Apparently Whoopi Goldberg was in the shop last week and bought like crazy. Anywho...

The store had about ten cake knives to choose from and it was hard to pick. But when Smartmom saw the one that had a women's body for a handle she said to Hepcat: "This is it!" Hepcat, who has discriminating tastes about all things loved it too. The credit card was removed from his wallet...

Smartmom's brand new cake knife is really special. Made of pewter and silver, it has a nice heft and balance. The handle is a tall skinny woman who incongruously doesn't look like she eats much cake. Her breasts are small curlicues. Boyes' work combines an African aesthetic with bold, modern design. It's very appealing.

Holding it now in her hands, Smartmom is very pleased to finally have a cake knife. And the fact that she picked it out herself makes her feel very grown up and accomplished. There comes a time in life when you really want to define yourself by the things you choose. It isn't enough to just take hand-me-downs.

It feels good to make choices. Real ones. And eat your cake too.


At 12:51 AM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

Photo, please. Seeing is relieving.

At 4:18 AM, Blogger red eft said...

You have to send Carol Boyes this post! They will want to pay you big bucks to write for them.

Bringing cake next time I come over...

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Little Light said...

Congratulations. I approve of any personal purchase of tabletop items.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger jonesy said...

Indeed, I truly believe that there is enormous gratification when find something that you've been looking for. Can relate it to my first purchase of dishes - the day had come when the raggedy, handed down mishmosh of mismatched plates and bowls found their way into a box to hand down to my neice when she flys the coop. Am very picky, and knew I wanted new plates, but couldn't find anything that suited - happened to be shopping for something totally unrelated when I saw my perfect set of new dishes! Total gratification, can't wipe the smile off and still smile when I think of it feeling.

Enjoy your perfectly sliced cake, and may you smile every time you look at your cake knife!!!


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