Running a competitive cafe business is nothing to figuring out what to put in for the kids’ school cake stall. That might sound like an unnecessary overstatement, but it’s true. See, kids are the harshest critics out there, and when it comes to cakes they can be downright brutal if you’re not up their exacting standards.
To make things worse, these standards are based on nothing so much as the magnitude of sugar content per serve, which is a completely different goal post to the one that most adult tastes normally point to. Flavour and texture? French patisserie technique? Originality and flair? None of these matter if the whole concoction is not completely smothered in sugar.
Then there’s the whole matter of getting said concoction safely into the school grounds, without your masterpiece becoming flattened, smashed or otherwise destroyed by overly enthusiastic ‘helpers’. This is made particularly difficult by the fact that there’s nowhere to park outside the school at the best of times, let alone on fete day, so you’re forced to either circle the school for ages or trust your kid with the drop off. What’s a parent to do?
I’ve talked to the school repeatedly about this, and even gave them the names of the best traffic engineers Melbourne has to offer. So far, I’ve seen no action on it, save for a lightly worded request in the newsletter to consider carpooling. That’s a valid suggestion and all, but I’m not seeing anyone taking it up, myself included. Besides, I’d never trust another parent’s driving with my kid-friendly croquembouche on the back seat – not with those speed bumps.
If the school was really invested in reducing car traffic, they’d go to the trouble of putting together a workable green travel plan, providing more bike racks and public transport assistance for the kids. That said, there’s no way I’d be coming in on a bike or bus on cake stall day – not after spending so much time on this tower of sugar. I’d sooner circle the grounds for 20 minutes looking for a parking spot.