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The Lamb of... Something

Holy Saturday baking adventures

Megan Preston Meyer
Megan Preston Meyer

The moon is going down behind the mountains and it’s shining right through the window onto my face. The church bells have started their 6am peal. I’m snug and warm under a flannel duvet, but not for long. A quick, icy shower – breathtaking, literally, and then I’ll snap into action. There’s work to be done.

Cleaning and vacuuming and sweeping and mopping. Chopping and mixing and molding and baking. At sundown tonight, the table will be filled with food – most of it round. Scotch eggs, a cheeseball, a whole roasted cauliflower…an Easter feast after three long days of weak tea and magnesium supplements.

And then – at the end – the Lamb Cake.

Every year, I pull out the metal lamb mold, which looks like it’s been handed down from my grandmother’s generation but actually cost $9.95 at Aldi eight years ago. I consult the internet, looking at professionally lit photos of serene pound-cake sheep, pasturing on clouds of green-tinted coconut in their perfectly tufted frosting fleece.

Then I try.

He comes out of the mold missing an ear, which I dutifully toothpick in place. He leans slightly to the left because I forgot to level him off, but he’s already half-frosted, so it’s too late now.

My perfect tufts are more desperate smears, and I eyeballed the icing recipe so I run out halfway through. He looks half-sheared, like the farmer gave up on him. I put him on a plate because I sure as hell don’t have time to dye any coconut and then plop him on the table.

Conversation stops.

Everyone stares.

The lamb stares back with is black, chocolate eyes. He’s not perfect, but no one us are, and it’s Easter, so that’s okay.