(NOTE: This post has been slightly modified for posting to www.iheartfaces.blogspot.com.)
These Red Velvet cupcakes with Fluffy White frosting were made for my mother's 80th birthday last year. I just used a boxed cake mix and canned frosting from Duncan Hines. The true story is in the decorations. (I also made Pistachio Almond Fudge cupcakes - the cake part from a mix and the frosting from scratch! - for the same party and blogged about them recently. They can be seen in the first photo here. The table in the first photo is sprinkled with confetti, not food stains.)
I thought it would be easy to come up with designs describing my mother's life in cupcakes. I was wrong. There was just too many things - some lent themselves well to a cupcake tableau, but many did not. There was also a time issue. So I settled for cotton bolls, Scrabble tiles, basketballs, marbles, music notes, dominoes, and yes, a few obscure frying pans (black fondant with blue liquid gel inside). Please allow me to explain...
When my mother, Joan (pronounced JoAnn), was a young girl, her family worked the cotton fields. Now I hoed peanuts as a teenager, but that was by choice and I only did it one summer. My mother's entire family planted, hoed, chopped, and picked cotton - even the toddlers - and they did it year after year. This is something I really have a hard time imagining, but I respect the work ethic that all of the children pitched in with little to no complaints. The cotton bolls are made from semi-sweet chocolate, which was shaped by ladling melted chocolate into plastic Easter eggs. When it was hardened, the eggs were bent to remove the "bolls". The cotton was white cotton candy, which had to be special ordered from New Jersey. The shipping was actually more than the cost of the cotton candy! I tried to find white cotton candy locally, but was unsuccessful. (However, big kudos to The Corn Popper of Tulsa for trying and for giving me what they made for free!)
The others are mostly self-explanatory:
My mother played marbles as a child and was pretty good at the game;
Dominoes were a staple game in her family and she still loves Moon and regular dominoes.
My mother played basketball in high school - back when girls still played 6-on-6 half-court ball and could only dribble the ball one time before passing it - and she was quite good.
My mother loves music in most forms and has always had a lovely singing voice. She has played the organ for her church for over 50 years and often sang at church and home.
Now for the obscure frying pan - it's not for the reason you may think. While my mother is a very good cook, it has nothing to do with cooking, but is a reference to music (sort of). When my mother was young, her father would entertain his children by making up rhymes about each one and singing them to the kids, along with "Eefin' & Oofin'" or skat. My mother's rhyme was:
"I know a little girl,
Her name is Joan,
She washed her feet
in the frying pan!"
All of the kids thought this was very funny, as did Granddaddy and Grandmother. I can still remember hearing him sing it to my sisters and me when we were small.
So there you have it - my mother's life, on a very small scale, in cupcakes.