Let ‘em eat cake

My award-losing cake, complete with monetary bribes for the judges

My award-losing cake, complete with monetary bribes for the judges

For the second year in a row, I participated in the Kroger Cake-Off, where local journalists (including me, the only guy) compete in a 30-minute cake decorating competition to have a check in the amount of $1,000 donated in our names to the North Texas Food Bank and the Tarrant Area Food Bank, which serve 13 counties each across the Metroplex and beyond.

And for the second year in a row, I lost — despite my awesome design, above.

It’s not a big deal, actually — even Nerissa Knight, the Eye Opener morning show host whose decorated yellow cake won the prize, was gracious, telling me my design “was the most fun.” And the point, really, is to raise awareness of the need for donations to the area food banks (one in six North Texas residents goes with any meal every night, often children, the elderly and the disabled) and Kroger’s efforts in combatting that through Bringing Hope to the Table, a promotion through May 14 where customers can buy specially-marked items to benefit NTFB and TAFB.

Nerissa's winning designNerissa Knight and the donation check

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Piece of cake: Another close call for charity

Where I started, below, and where I ended up, above.

I’m sick of coming in second, especially for charity.

As we blogged about three weeks ago, Team Dallas Voice was first runner-up in a wind-power competition pitting journo-against-journo for a $2,500 cash donation to our favorite charity. Instead, we won $250 for Ranch Hand Rescue. (We fell to Colleen Coyle of Channel 8.) I was the star player on my team, of course — i.e., the only one capable of building a $0.15 pinwheel without adult supervision.*

So when I was invited to go solo for another journalist-only benefit competition — this time, $1,000 being donated in my name by Kroger to the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank — I relished the opportunity. Plus I didn’t have to go outside as with the wind game … always a plus.

This time, my creativity skills were being put to the test when I faced off against five other journalists at cake decorating. We each had 30 minutes, with the assistance of a Kroger bakery staffer, to turn pasty into a work of art. With the help of La Tricia, I set about it.

Decorating a cake is pretty hard. La Tricia made sure all my pastry bags were filled with butter cream frosting of various colors, and she showed me techniques (apply constant pressure! But not too much!) and walked me through. Being a gay pub, we settled on a rainbow theme, made variously of fruits, jelly beans and frosting.

You can tell I did most of the work myself. I have the penmanship of a serial killer, as Clairee might say, but I also hard heart — and a strong pitch. “You get three points for your presentation,” said Francie Cooper, one of the judges. I thought about a bribe too, but there were cameras on me.

In the end, I placed second after Jana from the Dallas Morning News — another Belo victory! I got no money donated in my name. Instead, I got to keep the cake. I’m feeding the working poor with it, i.e., my colleagues here at Dallas Voice. Ah, well, no reason why you can’t donate to the food banks — they need it. Summer is the hungriest time for kids. Why? Because school is out, so no access to hot lunches unless mom makes it. C’mon, give some money or drop off some cans. Kids should play in the summer, not worry about food.

*That’s pretty much all he did. — Teammates

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TAFB offers Holiday Card Service

Tarrant Area Food Bank is once again offering its Holiday Card Service, offering donors a chance to help out the food bank financially and at the same time get all their holiday cards mailed hassle-free.

Each person that donates to the food bank before Dec. 11 can order holiday cards that will be signed, addressed and mailed by hand by food bank volunteers to the donor’s submitted list of recipients. The cards will also include a special holiday recipe for Peppermint Chipotle Brownies by The Reata Restaurant’s executive chef, Juan Rodriguez.

Each card also notes that a donation has been given to the food bank in the recipient’s honor.

Mailing lists will be kept confidential and are not used for any other food bank mailings nor are they shared with any other organization.
To see the 2011 holiday cards and to order the card service, go online to TAFB.org/holiday-card-service.html, or call TAFB Volunteer Coordinator JoAnn Biggers at 817-332-9177, ext. 109.

For cards to reach recipients during the holidays, the deadline to order the Holiday Card Service by phone is 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9. The deadline to order online is midnight Sunday, Dec. 11. Orders placed after those dates will be filled as soon as possible, but are not guaranteed to reach recipients during the holidays.

—  David Taffet

Concert notice: Marvin Matthews' Christmas show at The Modern tonight

I’m not sure how this snuck past me but I found out minutes ago, Marvin Matthews is giving a holiday show tonight at the Modern Museum in Fort Worth. The flyer pretty much says it all.

Matthews is a fairly amazing performer as I mentioned before. He’s high-energy, emotional and inspirational. And his voice is un-freakin’-believable. Add to that, Buddy Shanahan and the European String Quartet and you should have a sweet deal of a show. Tickets are $15 and the concert benefits the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

If you make it out, let me know. And if you snag photos or video, even better.

—  Rich Lopez