Sunday, February 2, 2014

Carmen Rosa’s Super Bowl Cake

While gentrification ebbs but now mostly flows in Jersey City, Carmen Rosa’s Bakery remains, an old-school bakery. What works can stay and let’s strengthen those things that remain.  I have very limited cake or pastry needs. Carmen doesn’t do bread or other types of baked goods. But one time I was going to a Shiva for a friend’s mom and I got these jelly-filled pastries everyone went wild for, turns out jelly-filled pastries is considered a traditional Jewish desert. I was both the only gentile and the only one from New Jersey at the service.  Bringing praised sweetness to ease grief felt  really good. But just as I am behind the times when it comes to bakery trends, I really do not follow football. The game bores me and seems to encourage arrogance and prefabricated machismo.  I used to follow baseball, but instead I’m a Mets fan. As everyone knows, the Super Bowl is in Secaucus and the teams are staying in Jersey City, down by the waterfront. ESPN and sports segments on other news outlets are replete this week with bits filmed in the Hyatt meeting rooms.  I guess because the teams playing aren’t local, you can easily avoid and ignore the Super Bowl fever. The same is true when the Giants are in the big game, if you don’t go to the bars you only have to deal with occasional small talk.  I am pretty sure it’s the same for the Jets, but I need to check the fossil record. You can catch the halftime show on You Tube anyway  -- it’s the 10th anniversary of the famed wardrobe malfunction –  why bother with the whole game. Unless there’s cake of course. Look at this work of art. The silver football, a slightly deflated  actual football spray painted on a pedestal – I wonder how many they have in the back or if there’s only one – it looks ultra-custom made – and does it have to be returned if it is goes with the cake to the party.  This cake design can double for high school football team champions – guess I have to check the Jersey Journal for the local standings to track that market. Notice the two plates on the side, cupcakes for each team, decorated by goal posts. One will be for celebration, the other to ease the pain. Every year the Super Bowl marks our calendar and is always distant. Football fans who follow the game fervently now must find other activities until August, when the pre-season begins. I just saw the fantastic film, Big Fan, which reveals the inner life in ways that make you sympathetic to what often seems as simple douche baggery.  What a great movie. For the more casual fan and everybody else, it’s a TV event and a reason to have a party – and maybe that party might include cake. Of course, billions and billions of dollars are made, the biggest single sporting event in the world and the most lucrative orgy of corporate sponsorship of the year. Even when it is in the same state for the first time in history, the Superbowl can still feel just as distant for those innoculated against the are you ready for some football fever. Oh sure, a handful of people are making money in New York/New Jersey – recent studies show that the actual tax payers are loosing out, more being spent for police and sanitation than will be generated in tax revenue – but for everybody else, it’s the same as any other year – big screen TV, Super bowl pools. Or maybe not. Never saw this beautiful cake display before in the window of Carmen Rosa’s. I used to say that sports brings out the worse in fans and the best in athletes. That’s probably a little harsh and over stated. People love the games, love their teams. In this window this cake has a lot of imagination and a lot of heart.

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