Thursday, May 16th, 2013
No matter how health-conscious you are or what diet you’re on, there are times when you just can’t pass on dessert.
When it comes to Sandra Lee’s pineapple-passion-fruit cupcakes, Guy Fieri’s caramel apple bread pudding, and Buddy Valastro’s Italian butter cookies, I can’t think of a single reason to say no.
On May 1, I perused the World’s Largest Bake Sale at Grand Central Station, sampling sweets, meeting local bakers, but most importantly, learning about child hunger in America.
Sponsored by the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, the bake sale raised both money for the cause and awareness for the more than 16 million children affected by hunger in America.
I chatted with of New York City’s best bakers and browsed their selection of champagne cupcakes, pistachio-cherry scones, and peanut-butter-strawberry-jam doughnuts. All sweets were sold for $5, the proceeds from which were put toward the campaign.
Bake sale host Sandra Lee whipped up her favorite strawberry shortcake and banana split cupcakes for the event, and spoke to me about the urgency of the child hunger epidemic.
“Some working moms are going home with one check, paying rent, and wondering how they are going to feed their kids. Sometimes they have to choose between paying bills and food,” she said. “It shouldn’t be that way in America.”
Buddy Valastro, the “Cake Boss,” said that as a baker and a father, he just had to be part of the event. He also shared with me a personal story about his family history.
“My dad grew up in Sicily and I remember him telling stories of going to bed hungry, after sharing one plate with his family,” he said. “It really puts life in perspective. This is about more than raising money, it’s about saying, ‘Hey, America, this is happening!’”
Ty Pennington, former host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, expressed a personal connection to the cause and donated a colorful, handmade bake sale stand for the Share Our Strength Auction.
“I may not have a child of my own, per se, but it is staggering to hear that one in five kids goes hungry,” he said. “It really opens your eyes about not wasting as much and makes you think about what we can do to make sure they are fed.”
The Share Our Strength Auction for No Kid Hungry runs through May 31 and features items donated by food masters like Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. This is your chance to take a class in the Cake Boss’s kitchen, dig in to Bobby Flay’s signature Southwestern dishes, or learn to swirl icing like New York’s iconic Magnolia Bakery.
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auction, bake sale, baking, Buddy Valastro, Cake Boss, charity, child hunger, children, Family, fundraiser, Grand Central, No Kid Hungry, Sandra Lee, share our strength, Ty Pennington, World's Largest Bake Sale | Categories:
Monday, October 8th, 2012
Calling all bakers! Dream up your own cupcake creation for a chance to win drool-worthy goodies including a high-end stand mixer. Visit Reynolds Wrap on Facebook to design your own cupcake liner, and pair it with the virtual cake and icing of your choice. (And next time you’re in the kitchen, try the foil-lined StayBrite Baking Cups, which help prevent your batter from seeping out into a goopy mess.)
Submit your masterpiece by October 19, 2012, then check back on October 22 to vote for your fave. The winner will be selected by cupcake wizards Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, authors of the book Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! (This duo really can make baking magic–just check out the wild cake Karen designed for our zoo-themed birthday bash.) Good luck!
Image: Many cupcakes via Shutterstock
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Monday, August 29th, 2011
Don’t believe what you hear from most New York City residents about Hurricane Irene being a dud. Our corner of the city felt the storm’s wrath, and it left more fallen limbs, uprooted trees, and dangling electrical wires than I care to think about. Yet somehow, my older daughter declared yesterday “the best day ever.” And she’s got a point.
It didn’t start off that way. All of us were woken at around 4 a.m. Sunday morning by what sounded like a small army angrily marching across our roof. It must have come from a bunch of branches coming down all at once, but we frankly weren’t sure. Adira told us she was scared, and we admitted that we were a bit worried, too. I think she appreciated our sharing in and validating her feelings–and appreciated even more the super-rare invitation to sleep in our room. And then something near-miraculous happened: She actually slept, solidly, for a few hours. We expected her to be up, either worried about the storm or excited at the prospect of sleeping in our room, but we all got some needed rest.
The day picked up from there. We managed a morning walk around the neighborhood, and built a tent in her room, where she read books, played games, and had a snack. Thanks go to a Caillou episode for the idea. We cooked applesauce and baked cupcakes, something healthy and something not, and she pretended to open a restaurant. Our next-door-neighbor came over for a visit, and I got out for a late-afternoon walk with the baby.
We didn’t hear even once during the day the mantra so often repeated on other lazy days, “I’m bored.” Maybe we were better prepared, having expected to remain indoors all day. Or maybe when faced with the reality of the storm and the damage she saw, Adira knew on some level she needed to make the most of it and not complain.
The best day ever? Maybe not for us adults. But as things go, it was a pretty darn good one. I am proud of Adira for making the most of it, and will think back with some (tiny, begrudging) bit of fondness on angry Irene.
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