This is a recent photo of my parents’ fridge. It’s a sure sign that my brother Mike is home visiting from medical school. Each time Mike heads home, my good Jewish mama spends a full day or more cooking meals for him to bring back to school. A labor of love, and also a futile one, because most of the food is eaten pre-drive back to campus. As evidenced below in the photo taken only 12 hours following the above photo.
But not to worry, Mom later adds a whole brisket so no one will go hungry.
Some of us learned to cook early on with our parents, but not all kids take any interest in the kitchen. Let’s use my brother as a case study. I’m going to venture that most young adults get into their first apartment or dorm room and think, “I should’ve asked mom how to boil water…”
My brother and I completed our undergraduate degrees together. My first trip to the local supermarket without my mom pretty much consisted of purchasing any healthy food that would fit in a dorm sized fridge or on a closet shelf. My brother on the other hand walked up to the deli counter and boldly ordered 10 pounds of sliced roast beef. I imagine there was a slight pause. And then the deli employee countered, “No.” They eventually reached a compromise at 5 pounds. I imagine Mike’s dorm fridge was bare with the exception of the meat. I also imagine he topped it with ranch dressing and ate it right out of the plastic wrap. And no folks, he did not gain a freshman 15. Life isn’t fair.
I was recently reminded of my brother when I stumbled upon Big Man Bakes. The name was so endearing I had to check it out. When I found out that William “Chip” Brown was himself a physician in training when he began his enterprise and looked more like a football player than a pastry chef, the brother analogy was underlined; my brother was an offensive guard in high school. Brown used baking as a coping mechanism for getting through hours and hours of studying. Big Man bakes cupcakes, minis and full sized cakes in coconut, red velvet and an assortment of other flavors that will make you think of your mama. His carrot cake cupcakes are even made with organic carrots. That beats Roast Beef with Ranch any day.
This didn’t exactly motivate Mike to start trying his hand at baking, but I suppose he’s more focused on trying his hand at more important things, like surgery. Perhaps I can concoct a way to send him a big shipment of congratulatory Big Man cupcakes when he completes his first semester. I think “old school” would be just perfect.