I have had what might possibly be the best day ever. The only thing that could make it better would be if someone were to show up at my door with a huge tray of oysters.
I hauled my butt out of bed this morning and headed to my alma mater, George Brown College, to take part in the Peace of Cake event. Every year staff, students and assorted volunteers get together and back a thousand or so fruitcakes, cookies, brownies and other treats and then package them up to be given to needy families, youth centres and the veterans in the long-term care facility at Sunnybrook hospital.
As is always the case when I leave early to give myself time to get somewhere during a storm, I arrived a half hour early. I was given an apron straight away, though, and was quickly put to work wrapping fruitcakes in saran wrap. As more volunteers arrived, I was put in charge of a group of kids from a local high school.
Many of the cakes meant for the veterans have to be diabetic-friendly, but when the baking was taking place yesterday, someone didn’t label the cakes made from Splenda properly. All that hype about how it tastes “just like sugar” is not exactly true. Sugar doesn’t make your tongue tingle.
Once the fruitcakes were wrapped, I headed out to the atrium where basket filling was in swift progress. I took up a spot at a table and started tying stuffed toys to the baskets meant for families. I sadly had to turn down the offer to accompany the delivery to the veterans hospital the next day, but I would have loved to go.
Once the baskets were complete, all the volunteers were given a cardboard box and told to help themselves to any leftovers. I brought home a fruitcake (just to see if the cake Chef Higgens made for the Queen stands up to mine), some gingerbread, rumballs and mince tarts.
This was a truly awesome way to spend a morning and for a great cause. I’ll definitely be volunteering for both the baking day and the packing day next year.
The cookie madness didn’t end there, though, as once I left the college, I met up with Greg so we could go to Christmas Around the World. He arrived with an empty Tupperware container and a bag full of Loonies and Twoonies, and we perused each table thoroughly before we went on our cookie-buying spree.
We dropped $12 at the Serbian table where most of the cookies were 50 cents each. We grabbed tiny alfajores and warm empanadas from the nice ladies working the Chilean booth. Custard tarts from Portugal, an almond tart from Switzerland, and some things dripping in honey from Macedonia all made it into our bag. I think we managed to get out without poppyseed cake, which was popular at most of the tables representing eastern European countries (Greg is not a fan of the poppyseed cake), and the ladies at the Russian table were selling cakes by the slice, which were pretty, but impractical in terms of carrying home, when you’re already carrying about 12 pounds of pastries.
Much of the stash is going in the freezer, to be enjoyed over the next few weeks with afternoon tea. As tempting as it is to gorge on sugar and chocolate and eat it all at once, I want to make “cookie day” last as long as possible.