Moms: Please don’t bake for the Cake Walk!

Aunt Bea and Martha Stewart need to turn off their ovens and hold onto their baking mitts!

We’ve heard for several years that schools don’t want moms baking for class parties or for birthdays, but now I’ve heard of a school that doesn’t want the parents to bake for the cake walk! They just want you to buy it at the grocery store and hand it over. I don’t think you’re even supposed to repackage it to look festive.

Isn’t the point of cake walks and bake sales to get a really yummy, gooey dessert that only can be made at home? Also it’s a heck of a lot cheaper for me to buy ingredients and make 24 cupcakes to donate than to buy them.

I guess they want labeled store-bought goodies to protect themselves from lawsuits about food allergies. But I also think it’s about hygiene. But really, are the lazy or gross parents going to cook for the cake walk?

If your school will let you actually bake for the cake walk and bake sale, The Cake Mix Doctor, one of my favorite easy cookbooks, offers these tips for more successful fund raising:

  • Loaves sell. Assign 4,5 even 10 loaves. It’s easy to double or triple the recipe.
  • Rewrap the items with pretty clear cellophane paper and bags.
  • Use a large enough label to include name of food, ingredient and cooking instructions.
  • Coffee cakes sell the best.
  • Offer a selection of small cakes or cupcakes for those who just want a little.
  • Sell something to sip with the baked goods.

Will your school let you send in home baked goods for parties, birthdays, cake walks, bake sales? Do you think it’s an over-reaction to concerns about allergies to want only prepackaged goods? What about the hygiene issue? Are you freaked out about your kids eating items made by other parents?

103 comments Add your comment

[...] Moms: Please don't bake for the Cake Walk!Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Sell something to sip with the baked goods. Will your school let you send in home baked goods for parties, birthdays, cake walks, bake sales? … [...]

Spacey

September 24th, 2010
5:59 am

Good Morning! Had to come in and work the overnight shift.
This makes me really sad. We grew up where sharing food with others was special.
I can remember baking and sharing with neighbors and the classroom.
We would take food to a neighbor after surgery or a family death or just because we baked too much! I can’t imagine if they said, “Please don’t bring over your baked goods because we are worried about your germs”.
It was a nice thing and even though I don’t have time to read, I enjoy baking when possible.
The allergy thing is out of control! I’m sorry, but the responsibility needs to be placed on the child/parent/person with allergies. They should not partake of anything that they did not cook themselves if the allergies are that severe. Why punish everyone for the sake of those with sensitivities?
That said, I’m not worried about hygiene. I have to trust that anyone that would take the time to bake would use care. Plus, who is to say that the stores are better?
Recalls everywhere for food that is mishandled.
At least I still have birthday parties where I can serve my kids’ friends with cake!

motherjanegoose

September 24th, 2010
6:03 am

Will this topic meet approval from those who recenlty fussed at you, for fun Friday? Not sure.

T…I also love the Cake Mix Doctor! I have not baked a cake from scratch, in years and disagree that it is cheaper to bake your own, when you can go to Costco and get one for maybe $7. Not worth my time to heat up the house and do the dishes…LOL.

Some folks are very picky about eating food prepared by strangers and rightfully so. I was not thrilled about getting baked goods from my students but perhaps that is just me.

Have a nice day all!

This ...

September 24th, 2010
6:39 am

Enter your comments here

This IS a fun Friday topic ...

September 24th, 2010
6:44 am

…when I saw the headlines I thought “WOW – Theresa’s kids don’t want her to bake for their bake sale”! And, I must admit, I was somewhat disappointed that my thought was not correct – LOL

I have had several friends who MUST know who baked what before they will eat food brought to any gathering – not necessarily a “germ” thing (face it – at 350 – 450 degrees not much is going to survive) but rather is the product thoroughly cooked – there have been many times where baked goods have not been cooked long enough and the center of the cake, though moist, is not cooked.

I think the fear of the schools is as you say, the fear of food allergies in not knowing if peanuts or eggs, etc have been used so as to ward off any lawsuits about that, much less food poisoning…

motherjanegoose

September 24th, 2010
6:50 am

@this…I did not understand the first part of your second paragraph…maybe it is just me.

Jeff

September 24th, 2010
7:00 am

My daughter’s school doesn’t have a bake sale and I can only speculate why. And while it’s fun to make those speculations, I have been told that if I bring anything (cupcakes on her birthday), it must be store bought in the original packaging. Which is fine, because as a guy, I ain’t bakin nothing worth eatin anyway.

Have a good weekend all. Thanks for all the input you give.

mom of 3

September 24th, 2010
7:01 am

In today’s economy a # of parents can’t affored 30 cupcakes. It is cheaper to bake them at home. But my daughter has a nut allergy and others’ home cooked products concern me for her.
It’s a tuff call but I go with buying them in the store. It’s safer for all.

1sus

September 24th, 2010
7:02 am

My child’s school specifically requests store bought for cake walk and homemade for bake sale. So who knows?

Paige

September 24th, 2010
7:49 am

Maybe schools should have 2 cake walks……one for home made treats and one for store bought.

cynic

September 24th, 2010
8:08 am

Our last school basically had the attitude of: “just do what we say, pay your money, and leave your kids at the door.” Then they wondered why parents never showed up for anything. *Demanding* store-bought goods just reinforces that idea.

Government is good. Government knows what’s best for your kids (yellow #5 and blue #3 !!). Government will make sure that nobody at the grocery store sneezed into the cake batter. Right?

Be one of the sheeple. Don’t think for yourself. Individual effort will not to be rewarded. Your cake is monochromatic and ugly anyway.

JATL

September 24th, 2010
8:11 am

OK -I’m sure all the allergic people or people with allergic kids will plotz over this, but I’m SO FREAKING SICK of us having to bend and change everything because some kid is allergic to something. The allergic people are in the MINORITY. HELLO -if YOU or YOUR KID have a food allergy then DO NOT EAT ANYTHING YOU DON’T HAVE AN INGREDIENT LIST FOR! Sorry if that means you can’t do the cake walk. I’m sure there are plenty of other fall festivalish things you can do. Also, why don’t YOU volunteer to make some baked goods that are gluten or dairy or egg or nut free? It can be done -vegan and allergen bakeries do it every day. The thought of seeing a bunch of Publix cakes lined up for a cake walk makes me want to puke. You’re right TWG -the purpose of it -other than to raise money at a fall festival -is to be able to take home some really yummy homemade treats. I know for some of our neighborhood festivals, we’ve had cake walks and bake sales, and the rule is that you have to give a complete list of ingredients and the recipe -it has to be visible on the cake packaging. That way everyone knows. And if eating anything that has been prepared in a kitchen where there might be nuts will harm you -just stay away from all of it.

RJ

September 24th, 2010
8:18 am

True story. Several years ago I was teaching a piano lesson at a students house and afterwards the mom and I started talking. She told her son to go ahead and finish up the cupcakes. At the time he was 5. He runs to the bathroom, comes out with his hands as dry as a desert and proceeds to decorate the cupcakes they’d baked. She doesn’t tell him to wash his hands and dips them into the sprinkes and starts decorating cupcakes for his class! Then, she says, oh here, take some to your kids! Yeah right.

I don’t trust other people at their home, even though I know that restaurants can be just as nasty. I waited tables in college and I could tell some stories. But for the most part, there are people usually watching you. At home, it’s just you and your nastiness. Thanks, but no thanks! I’ve gone to peoples houses and seen cats walking on the countertops in the kitchen, dogs jumping on the kitchen table or being touched and then they go back to cooking…yuck! My daughter has always been funny about eating other people’s cooking, my son could care less. Either way I’m with the schools 100%. That’s why I won’t eat at a potluck lunch at work, but I’ll bring something from Publix. Unless I really know you, I’m not taking any chances.

TechMom

September 24th, 2010
8:29 am

My son’s school had a chili cookoff last night – ALL HOMEMADE!!! And for desserts people were asked to send in desserts in single serving sizes (ziploc bags). Had a great dinner last night for $6, all of which went back to the school since everything was donated. If you’re worried about it, don’t attend or try to win the cakes or buy from bake sale. Simple.

Side note- I brought cupcakes to school for my son’s 15th birthday this past spring. 24 cupcakes gone in about 2 minutes and guess what I heard over and over? “Ooh these are good, they’re HOMEMADE!!” Although homemade in my house = me + Betty Crocker. I just happen to put them in the oven and hand frost them. I’m just saying, that even kids can appreciate homemade stuff.

JJ

September 24th, 2010
8:31 am

Y A W N!!!

so much for fun Friday.

Momof2

September 24th, 2010
8:53 am

Store bought cakes are nasty and full of preservatives. We do not buy them or eat them. On the rare occasion that one of my kids has that type of cake (and I’m refering to the prepackaged cakes, not the ones behind the bakery counter), they eat one bite and throw it out. My husband and I are in a supper club and the majority of the food that we have (made by different couples) is homemade. It just tastes better and is better for you. And after watchng Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and hearing about how bad processed foods are for you (even though I already knew), even more of our food is homemade now. Do these people who don’t eat other’s cooking ever go out to eat? They are eating somebody else’s food if they do that.

Lori

September 24th, 2010
8:58 am

That is just sad. If your child has allergies from food that could kill or seriously harm them, why chance it anyway. If my son could die from peanuts, then I would not allow him to eat anything that I wasn’t sure about, but I certainly wouldn’t impose those restrictions on other children. That is ridiculous. It is MY job to protect MY child, not everyone else’s.

JJ

September 24th, 2010
9:03 am

Thanks Momof2…

I abide by the rule at the grocery store – I shop the perimeter, and don’t go up and down the aisles. Fresh fruits and veggies, meat, seafood, dairy, frozen sections only. Once in a blue moon I’ll hit the aisles for dog food. I usually buy my pet food at Target.

I have nothing in a can in my house. Canned veggies are horrible!!!! READ THE LABELS. People need to educate themselves on what they are putting in their bodies. The sodium alone in most canned veggies is off the charts. All the prepackaged foods are loaded with sodium and preservatives. Just nasty. I can’t remember the last time I had “Hamburger Helper” or any prepackaged food.

Support your local farmer’s markets. Grow your own veggies.

JJ

September 24th, 2010
9:03 am

I meant OR grow your own veggies.

Here we go again ...

September 24th, 2010
9:12 am

Yet another example of society bending over backwards to be “PC” to the minority.

James

September 24th, 2010
9:17 am

Parents of kids with food allergies already have to accept that there are just some foods they have to avoid–and unlabeled ones fall into that category. They know how to distinguish risky foods, and they probably won’t mind just not participating if they feel there is a risk.

This cake policy is ridiculous. Of all the times I’ve been sick from food, none have been from something someone else baked for me…

justmy2cents

September 24th, 2010
9:23 am

I work for a school district, and can tell you that it is not the allergies they are worried about. It is as RJ said, all the nasty folks who don’t wash their hands, let their animals walk all over their counters, don’t disinfect, lick their fingers or spoons while cooking, use out of date ingredients etc. There is no way to determine that, and who wants to find people/animal hair in their food? Just gross. This is the same reason most homemade “goodies” kids send in for their teachers end up in the breakroom and most often, the trash.

Public schools are a waste

September 24th, 2010
9:23 am

“We’ve heard for several years that schools don’t want moms baking for class parties”

Here’s the answer to that: Pull your kids out of failing public schools and either send them to private schools or home school them.

I’ve heard too many crybaby stories from parents about how they can’t afford private schools yet they drive expensive SUV’s and live in 5 bedroom houses.

Parents need to STFU, grow a pair and tell these government school officials to shove it.

Public schools are a waste

September 24th, 2010
9:24 am

justmy2cents

Then those folks should never ever eat in a restaurant again. Hypocrites.

Public schools are a waste

September 24th, 2010
9:25 am

“That’s why I won’t eat at a potluck lunch at work, but I’ll bring something from Publix. ”

THE HYPOCRISY!!!!! IT BURNS!!!!!!!

justmy2cents

September 24th, 2010
9:29 am

At least most restaurant workers are required to wear hair nets, and there should not be animals on the counters. Plus they are required to pass inspection. Of course there will always be a disgruntled worker that spits in your food, picks their nose, scratches their balls, etc. There was a recent article that “graded” home kitchens and what their health inspection scores would be. Sadly, most scored a lot lower than what they thought they would.

Just Sad

September 24th, 2010
9:32 am

It’s not a case of public or private school. My company also stopped pot luck lunches. Very sad. We have some VERY GOOD cooks! But the company says their our kitchens probably aren’t clean because they haven’t been inspected by the state health inspector. Uh…..have you seen some of the restaurant kitchens that HAVE been state-inspected?? I guarantee mine is MUCH cleaner and healthier.

BluebellJones

September 24th, 2010
9:33 am

There are still cake walks?
Also, please do not confuse the phrase ‘politically correct’ with ‘asking for a lawsuit’. Different things. It is politically correct to refer to a person who is mentally disabled as ‘challenged’, not ‘retarded’. It is politically incorrect to assume that someone who has trouble reading is a ‘dummy’. Are you getting it yet? Food politics are very easy to deal with. If a student in a school has an allergy, that student’s parents must provide food that is safe for him/her. If you fear germs from the ‘gross or lazy’ parents, don’t participate in the cake walk. In fact, if you are going to make value judgments like that you’d be better off staying away from the event altogether. Your absence will probably bring smiles of relief from the rest of the parents.

DB

September 24th, 2010
9:34 am

Our school didn’t have restrictions for bake sales, etc. In fact, there were several people whose goodies we all looked forward to, because they were superb cooks who loved to share.

I love to bake, and I’m actually fairly decent at it. If someone doesn’t want to eat my food because I don’t have a certificate from the Health Department, it’s their loss. *shrug*. Doesn’t bother me. If they have allergies or germ hang-ups, that’s their problem, not mine. I will be happy to put a label on it to let them know what’s in it, and they can make their own decisions.

I once knew a lady who took her own sanitizing wipes to the pediatrician’s office with her, and wiped down the examination table herself before she let her child touch it. Her reasoning was that the nurses were too busy to really clean between patients. Okaaaay . . .

When did the world become such a bunch of fearful fruitcakes?

So, JJ & MJG ...

September 24th, 2010
9:39 am

…what topics make ‘Friday Fun’ for you?

Roswell Jeff

September 24th, 2010
9:41 am

What has happened to common sense? Do your minds not work in logical ways?

What makes you people think that store bought cakes don’t have things in them that you don’t want to know about? Come on… you have no idea! It’s a sad society we live in when the masses believe that store bought, processed food is the best thing for you.

You people have never worked in the back rooms of restaurants, bakeries, meat processing, etc.
The human body adapts to foreign material. Being squeaky clean, germ free is actually worse for you.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 24th, 2010
9:47 am

JJ — send me topics — I am always happy to use them — especially for Fun Friday — email me with what you want to talk about —

Everyone is welcome to send me their ideas for discussion —
ajcmomania@gmail.com

JATL

September 24th, 2010
9:47 am

@RJ -have you seen the back end kitchens of your local Publix? Watched the workers wear their pair of gloves while touching EVERYTHING?!?! I’m not “phobic” like you and eat potlucks, cake walk cakes and other homemade goodies, but I get FAR more grossed-out by the chick making my Publix sandwich and wearing the same gloves for 2 hours during the lunch rush while touching the meat, the bread, the surfaces, etc than I do by the possibility that some 5 year old didn’t wash his hands after the bathroom before decorating my cupcake. A huge percentage of restaurant workers don’t either! My home and kitchen are quite clean, but a little pet hair never killed anyone -and if you get a hairy cupcake -you can just throw it out (at least that parent cared enough to take the time and bake something instead of picking up some bland, preservative-laden crap at Publix). As far as germs -you do realize that every time you walk into a bathroom, you’re inhaling fecal bacteria and that it’s found on everything everywhere from door handles to remote controls? You have to just not worry about it! Germs are actually good -they make your body build antibodies, so that cupcake a 4 year old decorated without washing his hands probably isn’t nearly as dangerous as a lot of the other stuff you’re eating from Publix or any restaurant. The employees don’t care a lot, and they sneeze and cough on things, handle numerous surfaces with their “sanitary” gloves, etc. Personally I just like the idea of eating homemade potato salad or a casserole that most likely -HIGHLY likely came from a pretty clean kitchen and was made in a small batch instead of mass produced stuff made in the Publix or Kroger kitchen facility in industrial-sized mixers and vats, dumped into plastic tubs and trucked to the store. People have gone CUCKOO over the germ thing! Quit worrying so much. The two times I’ve had food poisoning, it came from local restaurants with health grades of 98 and 100 respectively. I’ve never gotten sick from a potluck, bake sale, cake walk or road-side BBQ stand.

JATL

September 24th, 2010
9:49 am

@Just sad and Roswell Jeff -AMEN!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 24th, 2010
9:57 am

DB — I want to wipe down things at the doctor’s office — I don’t but I want to!

abc

September 24th, 2010
9:58 am

I’d say the best reason for something like this is suspect cleanliness of the kitchens in which the stuff gets made. When I was married to a teacher, she’d bring home-baked goods to the house, literally by the carton full — I’m talking medium and large moving boxes. ALL of it went straight into the trash. Fudge, brownies, cakes, salads (!), all manner of completely wasted food.

Perhaps I’m not alone in that perspective, and the school would like to make a couple bucks on a bake sale. Maybe a car wash or band candy would be a better idea for a fund raiser.

abc

September 24th, 2010
9:59 am

And, the commercial environments are regularly inspected by health officials; mom’s kitchen is not. I’ll take a chance on Kroger Bakery’s cleanliness than some random mom.

Roswell Jeff

September 24th, 2010
10:02 am

I always like to tell the story about working in the residence of the head Chef of the best restaurant in town… one word – DISGUSTING.

I couldn’t even bear to enter his bathroom, it was so horrendous. Kitchen was the same, with a months old litter box next to the refrigerator… and the SMELL! UGH!.

No, I never patronized that restaurant again.

Roswell Jeff

September 24th, 2010
10:11 am

How about this Baby Formula recall… a little insect parts never hurt anyone. In fact, the protein is good for them!

The report on Channel 2 last night showed a mom that was just so sure that her child was sickened from the formula. She gonna sue the manufacturer cause her kid had “gas”. Bwahahaha!

JJ

September 24th, 2010
10:16 am

TWG – I will think of some topics over the weekend….

itpdude

September 24th, 2010
10:18 am

There are certainly disadvantages to stuff that is home cooked, but you can generally tell by the looks of the cake or whatever.

If it looks like a mess, the kitchen and cleaning habits are probably a mess. The Publix or wherever has safety practices likely not used at home such as wearing a hairnet. However, I believe the refrigeration of the foods at Publix are not always as good as home because stuff will tend to stay out longer.

I don’t know. . . . personally having a cake walk with store bought crap seems to defeat the purpose of a cake walk that is designed to raise money for the school. If it’s been purchased at Kroger, why am I buying it at a school charity thing? Why don’t I just give the school money rather than buying something I can get any-freaking-time.

downsouth

September 24th, 2010
10:19 am

this is really just sad. homemade is just so much better, and better for you. but i think so many people just don’t know how to take care of their homes, and clean stuff like it needs to be. we are a lazy society for the most part. an example is the people who buy or rent a house, and then can’t seem to do the minimum of keeping the grass cut to keep the neighborhood looking nice. just because the mortgage or rent is cheaper than an apartment, doesn’t mean that you need to live in a house if you aren’t going to do the minimum normal upkeep. LAZY!!!!!!

Eat a Homemade Cupcake for Peace

Warrior Woman

September 24th, 2010
10:23 am

Our current schools welcome home-baked goods. The kids love them. We did have a principal for one year that prohibited homebaked goods, as well as store bought cakes, cupcakes, or candies. The only acceptable classroom baked goods were store bought muffins. I guess she didn’t realize the muffins were just as sugar- and fat-laden as the cakes.

@JATL – Highly rated restaurants have been the only places I’ve gotten food poisoning as well. On top of that, a grocery bakery produced the only cake I’ve ever cut into with whole roaches baked right into the cake.

HB

September 24th, 2010
10:29 am

Having seen a number of truly nasty kitchens (of well-off, fancy people who I doubt you would categorize as “gross” or “lazy”) when babysitting and given the growing problem of food allergies, I really do understand schools deciding not to allow homebaked goods to be served to students (especially really young ones, who can’t be expected to say no) during the school day. For out-of-school activities like a festival, though, where parents are present and responsible for what the child eats, I think it’s silly to try so hard to control everything. Make it clear that it’s homemade, and then leave it up to the parents/customers to decide if they’re comfortable with that or not.

JATL

September 24th, 2010
10:30 am

@Warrior Woman -wow -I just threw up in my mouth a little ;-) THAT is super disgusting, but that really illustrates the point I was trying to make about the store-bought stuff. They may get inspected, but it’s really not very often, and the industrial kitchens and bakeries OFF SITE where a lot of the stuff is made leave a lot of room for error in the form of bugs, bug parts, hair, mouse excrement, etc. Of course a certain percentage of rat hair and bug parts are perfectly legal according to the FDA…
http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/06/29/how_many_insect_parts_and_rodent_hairs_are_allowed_in_your_food.htm

joe

September 24th, 2010
10:35 am

@ ABC, instead of throwing away “carton fulls” of food you don’t appreciate, next time donate it to your local homeless or domestic abuse shelter.

ATLien

September 24th, 2010
10:37 am

Cheaper to buy ingredients than buy cakes or cupcakes? You people need to buy from Costco or Sams. Buying a cake or 24 cupcakes is WAY cheaper than trying to buy those ingredients.

downsouth

September 24th, 2010
10:41 am

@HB – just because a person is “well off” or “fancy” doesn’t exclude them from being lazy in the cleaning dept. nasty is nasty, rich or poor. you don’t have to be rich to be clean, and you don’t have to be poor to be dirty.

Eat a Peanutbutter & Local Honey Sandwich for Peace

JJ

September 24th, 2010
10:48 am

One of my co-workers has a kid over at Riverside Elementary. They got a note last night, requesting turkey and cheese sandwiches for a “party” of some sort. The note specifically said “No homemade sandwiches will be allowed”. So you’re supposed to go to the store and spend twice as much on deli sandwiches. The note also said “no mayo, no mustard, nothing other than turkey and cheese”.

Kate

September 24th, 2010
10:49 am

I have to admit, although the idea of seeing a bunch of store bought cakes and cookies at a bake sale doesn’t sound very appetizing, I see the school’s point of view as well. My son has a peanut allergy and just about every single time parents bring goodies in for his class, they bring in something with peanuts or peanut butter in it no matter how many times the teacher reminds them there’s a kid in the class with a peanut allergy. Personally, I try not to make a big deal about it and I always supply his teachers with some peanut free treats to give him whenever necessary, but it is a little frustrating. A lot of kids these days have very serious allergies, and, at least in my son’s case, it’s not like he just breaks out in a rash if eats peanuts; he can’t breath. This whole problem could be avoided if people could just be trusted to label items. Yes, if you bring in baked goods, unless it specifically says otherwise, most people will assume it contains eggs and dairy products, but many people add peanuts or peanut butter without even thinking about it and you can’t tell its in there just by looking. I’m not saying don’t make anything with peanuts, just let people know if it’s on there. Simply writing “Butterfinger Cookies” or “Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing” will get the job done.