“This may be the ugliest cake I have ever made,” my mom exclaimed while spreading icing over the big chocolate sheet cake she baked on Sunday afternoon.My brother, who had stopped by for a few minutes, asked, “You’re baking a cake?”"Yes! I was invited to my very first Superbowl party, and I’m taking Grandma’s sheet cake,” Mom replied.Growing up, our family followed a few college teams, especially my parents’ alma mater, but we didn’t pay attention to professional sports at all. We would only take note of headlines so that we could converse with the outside world. So when Mom made that comment about her first-ever invitation, I thought back and realized we never attended a Superbowl party as a family. In fact, I don’t remember attending or hosting parties of any kind.I walked over to examine the cake. “It looks terrific, Mom!”"Oh, it’s okay, I guess. I just wanted it to look smoother.”"It looks delicious,” I assured her. “Besides, no matter how fancy you make something, it gets admired for no more than a second or two, and then it’s sliced and eaten pretty fast.”We covered it with foil to protect it during transport, loaded up some cheese and crackers and hummus, 2-liter bottles of pop, and drove to our friends’ house.After introductions were made, as some of the party-goers had not yet met my mom, we unveiled the cake and set out the snacks.As it turned out, my mom brought the only sweet treat.We didn’t watch much of the game. The diehard football fans headed to the basement where it was projected onto a huge screen and piped through speakers in stereo. Upstairs, a few of us gathered on easy chairs to follow the game on a smaller screen. A few little pods of people sat at the kitchen table, away from the game and close to the snacks, where we chatted and messed around with Bananagram tiles.After the half-time show, people came upstairs craving sweets and at first only saw the spread of savory dips and chips and crackers. But then we directed them to Mom’s cake. Soon, people were digging in, literally, with whatever utensil was handy—a knife, spatula, fork, or even fingers—to snag a piece. They snarfed it down. They raved about it. They thanked her profusely for bringing it.After the game, we helped straighten up, thanked our friends for their hospitality, said good-bye to the other guests, and gathered our things. About two servings of cake remained, so we covered it with the huge piece of foil that had originally protected the entire pan. As we headed out the door, Mom turned to the host and remarked, “This was the best Superbowl party I have ever been to!”We all laughed and walked out under the clear sky to our cars.On the way home, Mom said, “As you know, I was disappointed with how the cake turned out. But I’m so glad I decided to make it.”I smiled. “Can you believe it was the only sweet? Where would we have been without you?”We wove through the neighborhood, and I thought about the evening, about my mom’s first-ever Superbowl party (which was possibly my 18th or 19th), and the cake, and my friends, and the Bananagrams tiles, and I thought, I think this was the best Superbowl party I’ve ever been to, as well.
The Best Superbowl Party Ever
February 6, 2012 by 11 Comments