The Polish Bakery apple cake and my father-in-law’s listening skills

Today, we took Chris’s parents to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We stopped by a semi-recent favorite spot that we’ve found: Old Poland Bakery, which is a tiny little bakery that sells an assortment of fresh breads, cakes, and other pastries. I picked up some apple cake and babka for later, and we kept going. We had a late lunch (at Di an Di! One of our faves!), so we were quite stuffed and didn’t have a regular dinner that evening. But when we got home, I insisted that we had to eat the apple cake I picked up from the Polish bakery; surely, they had to have some space for a little sweet? So Chris’s mom responded and said she’d have a small slice. Chris responded and said, no, everyone has to have their full slice (I got enough for four people, since the bakery charges for these cake slices by weight). We served the cake to Chris’s mom after Chris’s dad insisted he didn’t want any since he was too full. His mom offered it to dad, who said, “OK, I’ll just take a bite.” What ended up happening? Well, without even realizing it, he ate half of her slice, and then said quite loudly, “Oh, this is actually quite light.” Chris’s mom got mad, responding, “Tony! Just say that you want your whole piece!” (This was his usual code for, “I want more, but I don’t want to explicitly say it”). So Chris gave him his whole piece, which he ended up inhaling in just minutes. And when Chris’s dad was almost done, with just a few bites remaining, he turned to me and said, “Yvonne, this cake is absolutely delicious. Did you make it?”

I shared this story with Chris’s brother over text, to which he responded, “This story sums up Dad to a T: Not listening, saying he doesn’t want food, then eating all of Mum’s, and even has an example of Chris being a control freak.” All in all, it was a perfect summary of the von Jacob family dynamics.

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