Even better.

I’m guessing you could fill in the gaps from here, but I’m gonna tell the story anyway.

On the farm, we have what are called WWOOFers.  They come from all over the world to trade hard work for knowledge of organic farming.  Luckily, because these typically early 20’s folks are passionate about something as conscious as organics, they tend to be a really nice crop of people.  Recently, we had our first international WWOOFer, from Germany.  Imagine the courage it takes to hop on a plane to spend 6 weeks with a farming family you know not a minute more than a Skype call… in a different country… that speaks a different language.  Alina was quiet for the first few weeks, but not shy.  Her thoughtful confidence and attention to detail slowly established her place as a very trusted part of the team.  She’s below…

Alina’s a smart girl.  Headed for politics, she speaks several languages and even limited her communication with her friends back home because her goal for this trip was to dream in English.  Another signature Alina trait was the most impeccable table manners.  I never fully determined if it is a German characteristic or her upbringing, but Alina looks like royalty when she sits at a table.  Her friendly shock at our finger-food table manners was the topic of many weekly WWOOFer dinners.  She partook in the American hotdog, as long as she had a fork and knife.  She never judged; she just wouldn’t do it.  We laughed and shook our heads, together.

With all that in mind, Alina asked to bake a cake for Raul’s birthday, one of our full-time workers.  Unfortunately swamped that day, I set her loose in my cookbooks, and while having to navigate the world of cups and ounces, Alina picked a cheesecake.

For two weeks, she prepared: located the right pans, made a couple trips to the store and decoded the cryptic maize of flours available in the US.  The day came, and the cake turned out beautifully.  While I put the finishing touches on the birthday crew lunch, Alina painstakingly arranged a variety pack of flourescent candles on top, in alternating colors.  I gave her a cake stand for proper display, and we decided together that we shouldn’t bother to remove the pan from its slippery springform pan bottom, instead just placing it on top of the stand. (OOPS!)

Lunch over, the WWOOFers and I carried the leftovers to the kitchen. Alina lit the candles with a hurry, so as not to drip on the cake, and the rest of us grabbed forks and plates.  She gently picked up the cake and with one swift turn… the slippery bottomed cake literally flew off the stand and landed perfectly upside-down on my farm kitchen floor.  The audible GASP was enough for everyone else to rush in the kitchen, just in time for Alina’s sweet face to turn brilliant cherry red.

It was HYSTERICAL.  For everyone, but Alina, at this point.  Once the gravity of Alina’s loss began to set in, something had to be done.  So…

We ate it.  Off the floor.  But not before sticking a candle in the top and singing Raul a rousing version of Happy Birthday.

John grabbed the stack of forks, and I think Raul took the first careful bite.  But, it wasn’t long until elbows were flying because that cake was DELICIOUS.  I think we ate it faster BECAUSE we had to share.  Before we’d even hit the sugar buzz, Alina was laughing, too.

I’m sure that Brown Sugar Cheesecake would have been good anywhere, but off the kitchen floor in the midst of belly-laughter among friends, it was the best cake anyone had ever eaten.

We’ll miss you Alina!

xo – 

Organic Spark

13 comments


  • Beth Baker

    Alina, this was the best cheesecake I ever ate off a farmhouse kitchen floor!!

    March 18, 2012
  • Molly,

    I love this story! I have tears in my eyes for two reasons. 1. Because I’m laughing so hard and enjoying the beauty in how you all enjoyed the cake in the end and 2. Because I’ve done that exact thing too and remembered how I instantly started crying after my masterpiece was ruined. Next time, I’ll think to eat it off the floor. What a joyful way to change the situation. Thanks for sharing!
    -Jen

    March 18, 2012
  • Dad

    Alina,

    That’s the best cake I never got a chance to eat. Thanks for coming to Apricot Lane Farm. I heard so many good things about your stay.

    March 18, 2012
  • Mom

    That, Molly and John Chester is a perfect example of why people love you and love to be around you. You seldom let the “Oops” in life steal your joy! Well done to the whole gang. Alina, I’m only sad we never got to meet you! Best to you dear one.

    March 18, 2012
  • Megan Schrec

    This story made me “ohhh!” and laugh out loud. I could feel Alina’s pain. And aren’t you guys so great to eat off of the floor. And the candle! So gracious. What a perfect picture. I love this.

    March 18, 2012
  • Joann

    What a wonderful ending to a beautiful story! Such is the human experience lived out in love and patience. Reminds me of the book, Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg.

    March 18, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks for sharing that book! I’ll check it out…

      March 25, 2012
  • Karen

    What a sweet story, but you forgot something :o) Where’s the recipe? AHHHHHH, I would love to have it. :o) Even off the floor it looks incredible!

    March 19, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Unfortunately, it was NOT unrefined. So, I won’t be posting here, but I do have a cheesecake recipe that is delish… so you might encourage me to get that one up here – thanks!

      March 25, 2012
  • Carol Mosier

    Molly, only you (or your mom) could have pulled this off without a “OMG what happened”. In your graceful way, you merely picked up the forks and went about the event as if it were planned that way. You are an amazing young lady with a big heart, a talent for writing and passion for healthy eating! Continue your work and may you always be blessed.

    Carol Mosier

    March 20, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Wow Carol – thank you so much! I took that to heart and will carry it with me all day – xo

      March 25, 2012
  • That is how things turn out when you are surrounded by love. What a gift she was to you and you were to her. Great story thanks for sharing

    March 20, 2012
  • Awww, that was a great first post to read on your blog…definitely bookmarking and signing up for the newsletter. You might be across the country, but I definitely see a kindred spirit. Life is all about letting go, and enjoying the moment!

    April 17, 2012

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