Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's in a Recipe?

It's a Sunday afternoon and I have just got back from an out of town baby shower with my sister Sue and her daughter, Shelly. Since I'm facing a very busy upcoming week, I decide to stop by the grocery store and do mother's weekly grocery chore. My sister and niece head on to mother's before traveling back to Asheville, North Carolina.

As I arrive at mother's house with groceries in tow, my niece Shelly quickly comes to my rescue and begins putting the grocery items in their prospective place.

Mother has a drawer that is reserved purposely for her coffee and Hershey bars. I suddenly hear Shelly shriek and make my way over to see just what it is that has produced this reaction. Peering into the drawer, I can see disgusting little bugs which have made their home in mother's candy crumbs and coffee filters. As we investigate further, there are a lot of old papers jammed in the back of this drawer. Shelly begins to pull long lost memorabilia out, one by one. An old drivers license of mother's husband Yates was the first to appear. Next was a Carrot Cake recipe, tattered yet still legible. As I have mentioned in earlier posts. Mother was infamous for her wonderful heart and hand made cakes. This Carrot Cake recipe was a treasure in itself and was a family favorite.

I recall a tale of my nephew Lewie's birthday. He had requested a Carrot Cake to be made by his mother, which was my oldest sister, Doris. Next to my mother, Doris was the best cook of all us girls. If she didn't know how to make something, she'd find out from mother and would usually produce a pretty good replica. On this special occasion, Doris had asked mother for her Carrot Cake recipe so she could present her oldest son a beautiful, three layer, cake adorned with mother's Cream Cheese melt in your mouth, frosting. The day had finally arrived and mother had planned a dinner on Saturday for her grandson, Lewie's birthday. All his favorite foods had been prepared except for the birthday cake and Doris was to bring it with her. We all awaited her arrival, anxious to see how the cake had turned out. As she made her way up mother's sidewalk, we could see nothing of a beautiful Carrot Cake, only a plastic bag, dangling from her hand. "Here it is" she said, as she laid the bag on the counter top. With inquiring eyes, we began to move closer to get a good peek at just what it was that she had brought. One look at her Carrot Cake atrocity, and gasps turned to laughter. Doris began to tell the story of how her cake had crumbled into a million pieces, right along with her hopes of baking the perfect cake for her oldest son's birthday.

As Shelly continued to empty the drawer, there appeared before me, one last item. I blinked my eyes and could not believe what I was seeing. For years, my sisters and I had searched for mother's Lemon Pound Cake recipe. I had tried making many variations of this cake but none seemed to come close to mother's. I could just see that recipe in my mind, written on the cardboard backing which came out of a pack of pantyhose, packaged back in the day. I couldn't wait to grab that recipe and claim it to be mine! Remembering that my sister Sue sat on the front porch in innocence, not knowing what I planned to swipe, I rethought the situation and decided to see if she'd like a copy. With a yes to my question, I quickly wrote it out and hurried home to stow away my prize.

Today, I have made mother's Lemon Pound Cake for the first time. With a few minor deviations,it was completed. It wasn't perfect, but with practice, I think I will be able to recreate this family treat for years to come.

So many things have been stolen from my mother and family since Dementia came on the scene, but today, something so small and seemingly unimportant as a Lemon Pound Cake recipe, has given us a little back.

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