Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Modern Day Case of The Rumpelstiltskin Blues

Dear Readers:

In honor of my 10th birthday this week (6/26) I am taking a week-long vacation! For your entertainment, I am re-posting some classic columns that you may have missed the first time!


Dear Tazi-Kat:

Right about now I feel like the miller's daughter in the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. This past spring I was trying to impress a guy in my dorm (I will call him "Paul"). A bunch of us were sitting around watching Cake Boss on TV, when Paul commented on how amazing the cakes were, and how much talent it must take to create something like the ones the contestants made on the show. That was when I opened my big mouth and, before I even realized I was saying it, told Paul - and everyone else who could hear me - that I made amazing cakes like you see on TV or in upscale bakeries. I do not know what possessed me to say what I did. The truth is, I can barely make a cake that comes out of a boxed mix without botching the job.

Paul - and others - were very impressed, and he asked me if I could bake a cake for his birthday this year. His birthday was in October, so I figured I would have the summer to try and learn how to bake cakes, but I never could manage to get it right; in spite of the fact that I took "after-hours" cake baking classes at Johnson and Wales University, one of the premier culinary institutes in America. Fortunately, through an unintentional but well-timed accident, I sprained my wrist and was unable to fulfill my birthday cake commitment to Paul, who was most understanding of my issue and told me that I could make one for his graduation instead. I thought this would buy me some more time to buckle down and learn the art of cake baking, but I just found out that Paul is graduating a semester early, in December of this year! I now have less than one month to learn how to bake impressive cakes or have my secret revealed! What should I do, Tazi-Kat? I really like this guy, and still have hopes that a relationship between us could develop...if only I could take back my lie.

Merely a Low-Level Cake Employee, Not A Cake Boss

Dear Low-Level Cake Employee:

Since your signature gave me a chuckle, I will spare you the reprimand for lying to your friend. It seems to me that you have learned the trouble to which lies can lead, and that sick feeling you must be experiencing need not be compounded with a lecture from me.

The cakes featured on Cake Boss are indeed impressive. Some, I must add, are completely over the top. If Paul is expecting anything like the cakes featured on TV - a triple-tier monstrosity, decorated with all sorts of bangles and accessories - your problems are too far gone to overcome, and you must be truthful with Paul: Tell him that you fibbed to try and impress him, never dreaming your dishonesty would go so far or be remembered this long. Tell him that you tried to learn how to bake impressive Cake Boss style cakes, so you could make good on your promise to him; but experienced an epic FAIL. (Seriously...you signed up for after-hours cake baking classes at Johnson and Wales? That is definitely a serious commitment to the cause!).

Although I could not blame Paul if he is angry with you for lying to him if he is a kind and understanding man, he may see humor in the situation; appreciate the extreme efforts you made to honor your offer to bake him such a grand cake; and, with any luck, years from now this is a story that you will be telling your grandchildren. If, however, things go in the opposite direction and Paul is righteously angry, accept the parting of ways that is bound to occur; and the experience as a lesson learned.

-- Tazi-Kat

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