Table of Contents
© 2007 Elodia Strain
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, whether by graphic, visual, electronic, film, microfilm, tape recording, or any other means, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief passages embodied in critical reviews and articles.
ISBN 13: 978-1-59955-011-4
eISBN : 29-4-000-02024-5
Published by CFI, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc., 2373 W. 700 S., Springville, UT, 84663 Distributed by Cedar Fort, Inc.www.cedarfort.com
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Strain, Elodia Kay, 1979-
The Icing on the cake / Elodia Kay Strain.
ISBN 978-1-59955-011-4 (acid-free paper)
Cover design by Nicole Williams
Cover design © 2007 by Lyle Mortimer
Edited and typeset by Kammi Rencher
Printed in the United States of America
1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Printed on acid-free paper
To Jacob—you are a miracle in my life.
Thank you, Mom, for reading the early stages of the manuscript and telling me when it made you laugh, and for the giving, loving example you’ve set with notes in my lunch, dresses in my closet, and tons of cakes with buttercream icing. Thank you, Dad, for the humor you always brought to our home and for your example of living well amidst trials. Thank you, Miranda, Brian, and Brett, for the hilarious and wonderful things you’ve done that I was able to draw upon. I love you all.
Thank you, Nancy, for the edits and suggestions, and Jack for the support that made it possible for me to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing.
Thank you to the girls of the BYU 140
ward who were there through it all and who are truly my sisters.
Thank you to all the other family and friends who encouraged me.
Thank you, Kammi, for believing in the book from the beginning, and for being a fabulous editor.
And thank you, Jacob—it wouldn’t have been possible without you. You are absolutely my best friend. Thank you for your endless support and for helping me make sure that my guys didn’t sound like girls.
hen I was twelve years old, my mom bought me a diary. She called it a journal, but all my friends had diaries, so that’s what I called mine. It was bright pink and had a little lock on the front and a key that, for some reason, I decided to hide in my retainer case.
On the first page of my diary I wrote:
These are the boys I like right now . . .
Brad Knightly (but pretty much every girl likes him)
And on the second page, I wrote:
When I grow up I’m going to . . .
Go to college
Find a boy to love
Get married (in the temple, of course)
Well, I did go to college. But although I looked pretty much everywhere, I didn’t quite find a boy to love and marry.
So, after college, I moved back to Monterey, California, my hometown, where I joined about my millionth singles ward, and used my journalism degree to secure a position as a food writer at a local magazine called
Central Coast Living
, a job that I thought was just perfect because it combined two of my greatest loves: writing and food. And the job was perfect—for the first two days.
But then the French Toast Fiasco happened.
For my first writing assignment, I was supposed to go to the Carmel Hills Bed & Breakfast and do a short write-up on the facility’s stuffed French toast breakfast, which had received some big culinary award from a Bed & Breakfast association. I got the Bed and Breakfast’s address from my boss, George Kent, and headed out there early one Monday morning.
When I arrived, I knocked on the door of the cute little cottage, and an elderly woman wearing a flowery robe answered the door.
“Hi, my name is Annabelle Pleasanton,” I announced in a chipper voice. “I’m a writer for
Central Coast Living,
and I’m here to try your stuffed French toast.”
The woman looked at me perplexedly for a moment before saying, “Of course, dear.” Then she invited me inside, and I sat at a square table with a checkered tablecloth while she prepared me some French toast stuffed with a delicious cream cheese filling and perfectly ripe strawberries.
I ate the delicious breakfast, thanked the woman, and wrote down her name, which George had apparently gotten wrong. Then I wrote my article, and proudly emailed it to George.
Later that day, George called me into his office and informed me that I had not gone to the Carmel Hills Bed & Breakfast, but had harassed some random old woman and forced her to make me stuffed French toast.
As George yelled at me about how badly I had messed up and how he had to find something to take the place of my write-up, I suggested that maybe I could just write about the old woman because her stuffed French toast was delightful, and plus, she was really sweet. At that point, George kicked me out of his office and demoted me to recipe copy-editor.
Luckily though, George told me that it wasn’t all over for me. He said that if I proved I could handle it, someday, maybe, if he was feeling really generous, he would give me another opportunity to write. So since then, I have been doing everything I can to prove myself to George. And that’s kind of where this whole thing starts: me trying to prove myself to George with a cake.
And, well, still trying to find a boy to love.
kay. This is not good.” My best friend, Carrie, looked over at me. “What?”
I used the Red Vine in my hand to point to the store in front of us.
Carrie peered at the store and read aloud the big green words printed on the window. “Bob’s Bait and Tackle.”
I took a bite out of my Red Vine. “Mm hmm,” I mumbled.
Now, being at Bob’s Bait and Tackle would have been all fine and good if I was looking for bait and tackle. But I was looking for cake. Yes, that’s right, cake.
You see, back in December I took a little trip inland to attend my Aunt Margaret’s retirement party in the San Joaquin Valley town of Los Banos, and I was on my way home to Monterey when I realized I hadn’t eaten much at the party and was quite hungry. Sure, I probably should have made the healthy choice and grabbed a salad or something, but as I drove down Main Street a cute little Portuguese bakery seemed to be calling out to me: “Annabelle, come try some tasty treats,” and I couldn’t resist. So I went into the bakery and bought two—okay, five—Portuguese sweet rolls for myself and a Portuguese sponge cake to take to the office Christmas party.
Well, my Portuguese cake was a big Christmas party hit, especially with George, my boss. In fact, George liked the thing so much that now, six months later, he wanted me to get another cake—though he had no idea I would have to drive all the way to the San Joaquin Valley to get it—and bring it to the Anniversary Issue meeting on Friday.
Hence my problem. George, who I really needed to impress, was expecting me to show up at the meeting with a cake in hand, not a fishing pole and a big jar of bait. Or is it a can of bait? I don’t know how it works.
“Are you sure we’re in the right place?” Carrie asked in her soft, calm, perfect-for-a-yoga-video voice.
“Yep,” I replied, cursing my ability to pick out a good dessert. If only I had just taken some stale green cookies to the Christmas party. “This was a bakery the last time I was here.”
I turned off my car—a mid-nineties BMW that I got for really cheap at one of those impounded car auctions—and unbuckled my seat belt, which took a good minute since there was a piece of gum stuck in the buckle, compliments of the car’s previous owner. “I’m going to run inside and see if anyone knows about the bakery. Maybe it moved or something. Do you want to come?”