Hmmm … is there anything better than a sweet not-good-for-you-at-all treat? No. There is not. And lately I’ve gotten to sample some especially yummy treats. On the left, how about some cake pops? My friend Susan C. was the first person I knew who ever made cake balls. That was about two years ago, and now that everybody’s got them, I sort of think she invented them. And now we’ve gone on to cake pops — fun little round bites of moist cake dipped in candy coating and sprinkles that you don’t even have to get your fingers messy when you eat them. Our neighbor brought these over to us to thank Husband JP for bringing in her garbage can when she forgets — he’s thoughtful that way. And then, on the right, we have a box of Chattanooga’s Julie Darling Donuts. These are absolutely positively without-a-doubt the best doughnuts ever — with the possible exception of a hot just-glazed plain Krispy Kreme. I don’t know what’s in them that makes them so good but they are so good. I have to slice pieces off over the course of several days so I don’t just dive in. Julie Darling even showed me how good a true jelly doughnut can be. I never liked the usual version — a glop of tasteless gel-like colored stuff in the middle — but Julie Darling’s jellies are stuffed full of the real thing and the contrast of tart strawberry puree with the sweet icing and rich doughnut is simply … perfect.
Grandson Capt. Adorable turned 3 this past weekend, and his mom (my older daughter) wisely decided to celebrate by 1) a family trip to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, where the Captain’s favorite thing was “I touched a sting ray!” and 2) a family — grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins — party with all the essentials of cake, ice cream and munchies. (Of course, it was so cold that day that we forgot the ice cream. Oh well.) I thought she was smart in forgoing the fun but insane kid-frenzy type of party they’d had for the Captain’s second birthday. “After all,” she said, “his family are his most important people.” So props to her for keeping it simple. But that’s totally them — do-it-yourself to save money and because you’ll probably end up with something better anyway. For instance, the Captain requested a Dinosaur Train (he loves that TV show) cake, and since no such decor could be found anywhere, his artist-and-art-teacher daddy printed and cut out the cake decorations on his own. Brilliant! Add the cake and his favorite people to two other of the Captain’s favorite things — blueberries and tractor rides on Grandad’s farm — and it was a perfect third birthday!