Who needs a fun, light, optimistic book to read? Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray came to me via a bit of book serendipity - a random comment on someone's Facebook page. I requested it from the library as soon as I saw the title. I don't buy much fiction anymore, and surely not a book I am not sure I will like well enough to reread. Sorry about that, Ms Ray, nothing personal, that's just the way it goes.
But by page 2 I knew I was hooked when I read this:
Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn't, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that is not a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don't eat the whole cake. You don't eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what's served on the happiest days of your life.Ruth is a suburban housewife who takes great pleasure and comfort in baking wonderful cakes. Then one day her world turns upside down and she needs to make sense of a new order in her life. Could that new order include cake?
There is not one bit of unpleasantness in this book. It is as sweet and light and fluffy as the frosting on one of Ruth's cakes. It is funny and charming and totally predictable - nothing that happened came as a surprise and nothing happened that I didn't want to happen.
Get it sometime when you are feeling a little out of sorts and just need something fun and easy and with no sadness whatsoever.
And speaking of sweet, there are some lovely cake recipes in the back. I think I will have to make the lemon layer cake with lemon cream frosting. Imagine, lemon curd and whipped cream blended together to fill and frost a cake. Wow.