Boston Cream Pies always look so much better than they really are. You see them with their thick chocolate ganache frosting sitting atop a soft two-layer cake with a delightful golden cream oozing out the middle. It’s the kind of cake a kid dreams about. But when it gets down to tasting it, it’s always a little disappointing. Sure it’s good. How could it not be with all that packed into one dessert? But it always seems to be missing that WOW! factor. It’s a disappointment. Same goes for the Boston Cream Donut.
Legend has it that the Boston Cream Pie, which has been the official dessert of Massachusetts since 1996, was created at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in 1856. Their chef created a cake consisting of “two layers of French butter sponge cake filled with crème pâtissière and brushed with a rum syrup, its side coated with crème pâtissière overlain with toasted sliced almonds, and the top coated with chocolate fondant.” At least that’s what Wikipedia says. I’m not sure how it ended up becoming the cake with pudding in the middle that it is today. I’m also not sure why they call it a pie? It’s a cake. We can all agree on that, right? There’s one theory that it’s called a pie because the cake is baked in pie tins. I think we’ve let enough time go by where we could correct that. Boston Cream Cake still sounds pretty appetizing. On a side note (and apologies for the crassness), doesn’t Boston Cream Pie sound like one of those funny-named sexual moves? It could be the street name for engaging in carnal activities behind a Dunkin Donuts while listening to Joe Castiglione call a Red Sox game on the radio.
I found a few recipes for Boston Cream Pie online and they all looked pretty complicated. Not too bad, but you had to make the cake, the cream filling and the frosting separately and then put it all together. To be honest, I was beat and didn’t have the energy (more on this in a few). So I took the easy way out and picked up a Boston Cream Pie at Clement’s in their bakery section. The desserts at Clement’s never let you down. I had a piece after dinner and after watching the Patriots game (enjoying some Boston Cream Pie after a Patriots win seems pretty celebratory). It was just as I expected. Good, but not a dessert I’m raving about. Maybe a fresh homemade one would taste a little better (of course it would), but it really just tasted like a piece of cake. But, it was a nice sweet ending to kind of a perfect day, so it was celebrated and savored in style.
Today was also the day that I ran the Pell Bridge Run which is why I was so tired for the rest of the day. It was an early morning start with Lola giving me a ride to Jamestown leaving our house at 6 am. She dropped me off where everyone was gathering and left me there with almost three thousand other Bridge Crossers. It was still dark out but the sky was slowly waking from the east and it looked like we’d be in for a spectacular sunrise. It was a bit chilly, but not too bad especially when we all had nervous energy running through us and the winds that had been a whooping and a whomping all last night had subsided. After they got us all wrangled and in line, the race began and just like that, I was off.
I’ve never been in a road race or group run like this before and I found that having that many people around you makes running a little difficult to navigate. Some folks were lallygagging and taking their time, while others were trying to pass you. It was a lot of stop and go and I felt like I was stuck on a moving sidewalk when someone is not walking but also not keeping to the right. I ran a bit, then slowed down to walk because I wasn’t getting anywhere, then ran some more. This went on for about the first mile. It was a little frustrating and it took me a minute to find a calm place in my mind where I could truly soak in everything about where I was. When I got to the top of the bridge (that’s a steep upgrade to the top of the bridge), I broke free and ran the rest of the way (I took a slight walking respite when getting off the exit). I’d say I ran about 65% of the whole race which was more than I thought I would (remember, I am not a runner). There was something neat about being atop the Newport Bridge, looking out and seeing Rose Island below, a cruise ship in the harbor, and taking in the grand scope of Aquidneck Island. I don’t know if I’ll ever be on that bridge again without thinking about running over it.
The run ended at the Newport Visitor’s Center on America’s Cup Avenue so when you come off the bridge you are making your final strides heading down this city street. The police have blocked off traffic and there were a few fans along the final lengths cheering you on. When you get close to the finish line, you can start hearing the crowd cheering for everyone. Maybe it was my tiredness or just exhausted state, but that last half mile was really emotional. I think my head was racing to thoughts of having accomplished a goal and to having done something I didn’t think I could do. I was thinking of Lola too who would be at the finish line waiting for me and I was moved at the thought of her support. It was all spinning in my head. I came to the very final stretch and I immediately saw Lola, smiling so big and wide, cheering me on, fumbling with her phone to take a picture but not wanting to miss the moment. Then I crossed the finish line which made it all feel like I was a genuine runner, especially with all the well wishers cheering. I did it.
After a few minutes of walking around so I could walk off a calf cramp, Lola and I headed to the Brick Alley Pub who were open for a post-run breakfast. I couldn’t let go of Lola’s hand because she was so proud of me and I was proud of myself. I just needed to hold onto her to replenish myself with her love. Cherie and Katie and the kids came to cheer me on too and although they missed the finish line (it’s hard to get kids motivated on an early Sunday morning), they came to Brick Alley to celebrate. It was nice to feel that kind of support especially when the kids started asking questions like did I win (I told them I came in third). It warmed my soul up and made it even more special. They even had signs for me.
When we got home, after a nice warm shower, I pretty much passed out on our couch for a good hour and a half. After that, we spent most of the day watching football and relaxing and Lola couldn’t stop sharing how proud she was of me all day. I felt like this day was really celebrated to the fullest from the very first dawn of light to the last twinkle of stars and a mouthful of Boston Cream Pie. This will be a tough day to top, but if I learned anything, there’s always more to accomplish if you put your mind to it.
Next up: National Bologna Day