Cake vs. Pie

I’m hungry, you’re hungry, let’s eat cake. Or pie. Or… cake. “Well, why not both?” you may ask. That’s a tragic question, my dear fellow, because though our bellies are brewing a lake of acid and we could digest a Roman statue, we are limited to a single slice because we only have $5. Cake or pie?

Marie Antoinette would tell you that cake is the best option, white cake, the kind that melts like a pillow of proper sugar in your mouth, the kind that wears an outfit of vanilla frills and dewy dollops and waxy candles of every kind, emitting mouthwatering vibes of carbohydrate charisma. Cake is Effie Trinket in edible form. It’s royal cake. Cake of the highest rank. Cake for the coolest of cats. Cake for the Everest of echelons. Great cake for great minds. Cake is a door into other dimensions, through which you can see yourself sitting on a sofa with fork in hand, gobbling her up like the fierce hunter you are. This world is a caterwauling cold war, but cake is our fattening lifeboat, and once we jump in, she’ll take you from the harrowing House of Hunger straight into the cush of Comfort Castle, and you’ll go from anemic skeleton into beefy damsel with little to no effort whatsoever!

But like all things, cake has a dark side. She may seem like a cottony dreamboat and the hottest name in the cookbook, but beneath the surface she has quite the criminal record. She’s the slimiest schmooze and if her flavor were honest about her person, she would taste like creamed turds, because she brownnoses like no one else can. She’s a houseguest with an outstanding sense of snobbery and a skill for spying, because somehow she has found her way into every family photo and is the smoothest of time-travelling trespassers. She haunts our weddings, birthdays, and graduations, and convinces us all to take part in her forbidden flesh, flaunting her lacy lashes and proclaiming her peachy membranes and driving us all mad, and if that weren’t enough, she winks with her irksome icing and finishes the final step. We need a slice. So we mosey on over to the cake table and get ourselves a tasty portion, and before we know it we’re suffering from a sugar-induced migraine and sprawled out on the couch, just another one of her well-fed victims. 

Pie, on the other hand, is a saint. Pie is kind, pie is smart, pie is important. Pie is the humble mother of all pastries, the philanthropic queen of all desserts, the all-seeing eyeball of edible euphoria. Her fruity insides gleam with organic glitter and her buttery crust could blow your mind. She is both sweet and nutritious, both exciting and edifying, and in all reality, if sugar is kept to the bare minimum, she’s a health food. She is the result of orchards, of wild forests, of hardworking farmers and their juicy bounties, and arrives to the table when the sun has been bright and the rains just right. She is the utopian synthesis of soulfood, echoing the fertility of nature. 

But like all members of creation, pie has her downfalls, and sometimes she falls so flat that we wonder, as we weep, why we didn’t choose Charming Cake as our chieftain and why we went with Pathetic Pie, whose leadership skills are blasé and bland at best, whose willpower more closely mimics lukewarm pudding than the spicy CEO she pretends to be. She is a mediocre member of the dinner table, a dispensable citizen of the meal, and once freshly baked, she often just sits on the table, steaming like a pile of sh!t and scowling at everyone with her unapproachable heat. And though she possesses a hot temper within, her initiative is as weak as a newborn giraffe’s knees, and her intellect as tame as a tub of trapped sounds, each one being the phrase, “I am Pie,” in eerie monotone. We could say great things about pie’s dark side, like we did with cake’s, depicting her as a rebellious spy and a successful predator of the human appetite, but with pie, she’s just too plain. We could easily replace her with a bowl of ice cream, with baklava or a pumpkin roll, and call it an okay day. But her familial appeal is almost addictive, and though the show would still go on, the table wouldn’t seem quite right. Without her, we would all feel a pie-shaped chasm in our hearts and pine for her matronly vibes. 

So even though pie’s a little boring and cake is a little catty, we can both say that no high school would be the same without the nerd and the cheerleader, and chick flicks across the globe would be without a plot. Likewise, family milestones and holidays would be miserable naked things without them, each table denuded of its brightest sugared star and everyone wondering where on Earth they’ll get their glucose overdose now. Even though they’re a little bitter to the bite sometimes, they’re a pair of flourishing petunias in our culinary garden we couldn’t do without.