Kind of like 9-11 or the assassination of J.F.K., I remember where I was when I first heard about the Norwegian wedding cake.
The year was 2006. I was riding the number 10 (Granville) bus. The date was June 28, the time… 9pm. I was heading home from a visit with my sister and family, and was looking out the window at the streetlights and traffic (because in those days, we didn’t have fancy gadgets to disconnect us from this cruel, cruel world), when my cell phone rang. Yes, I had a cell phone… it was a retro Samsung S300 flip phone and it only made phone calls (and I never learned how to program it so I still had to remember everyone’s phone number).
I digress (as usual).
Back to the Norwegian wedding cake!
I heard my phone ring. It was a really loud shrill tone (because the S300 only came with one ringtone) and everyone on the bus looked really annoyed, because cell phone presence on a bus was still considered rude at that time…
It was my mother, but I didn’t know until I answered it (because the S300 did not feature call display). My mom had been calling me quite regularly because our wedding (the second best day ever) was fast approaching, and she wanted to “help”.
I love my mom, and I know she means well… but we had it under control. The venue, band, and caterer were booked, rings purchased, flowers ordered, tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery rented, and my sister was making the wedding cake.
“I ordered you a Norwegian wedding cake,” she said.
I thought that I misheard. Obviously my mom had not just said that she ordered me a Norwegian wedding cake. My sister (who is a Master Baker) was making our wedding cake. She had already purchased special pans and a jar of lemon curd. She had it under control. Besides, a Norwegian wedding cake (also known as a kransekake) is the traditional ring cake for Norwegian weddings, made of almonds, sugar and egg whites and decorated with small Norwegian flags. I’m sure it’s delicious, but I’m not Norwegian. Not even a little bit.
Obviously the man playing bongos on the bus (this was Vancouver) was affecting my ability to hear clearly. “Ixnay on the ongobays,” I said, in Pig Latin. He stopped, because he was polite (this was Vancouver). I asked my mom to repeat herself. So she did.
“I ordered you a Norwegian wedding cake,” she said, like it was nothing.
“You did what now?”
“I ordered you a Norwegian wedding cake,” she said. “For your wedding.”
Bongo Boy started up again. I gave him the look. He stopped his bongo-ing. I continued. “But we’re not Norwegian, “ I reminded her.
“It doesn’t matter. They’re delicious.” My mom sounded very pleased with herself.
“I don’t want a Norwegian wedding cake.” I said firmly, into my S300.
“Well, I’ve ordered it. You’re getting one.”
“I don’t want one.” I said, more firmly this time.
“I’ve already ordered it. You’re getting one.” She refrained.
This continued, back and forth, for a few minutes, until something in me finally… snapped.
In my defense, I was already close to the edge. I was feeling rather overwhelmed with life, and plans, and the wedding. I can’t be held responsible for the things I said that day.
It went something like this: “Mom! Listen up and listen good! You are not bringing a Norwegian wedding cake to my wedding! You hear me? If I see a Norwegian wedding cake, so help me…! I will throw that piece of *%$#@ Norwegian wedding cake across the room!”
And then I hung up on my dear mom. Or, rather closed my phone gently because if I closed it too firmly/quickly/abruptly the battery pack fell off and I had to power back up to restart the phone, and that took 20 minutes.
Epilogue: My mom did not bring a Norwegian wedding cake to my wedding (which is actually a shame because they do look delicious).