Friday, November 19, 2010

 Browsing through the Past

Just a few days ago, a friend on Facebook asked me to submit a recipe to an exchange that she has started. I set the idea aside, then almost forgot about it until this morning, when I got some family news, the kind that sets you to sighing and remembering and maybe crying a little. The news sent me to my recipe box.

The Home
This recipe comes from my ex-mother-in-law, who is still Mom to me, although I haven't even seen her in twenty years. In a few days, Mom will be moving from the house where she spent most of her married life, to a senior's residence . Just now, I was reading the website for The Home (as Mom calls it) and noticed "restaurant-style meals". That reminded me that Mom won't be doing much cooking anymore, which in turn reminded me of the Facebook challenge.

I grabbed my recipe box, which contains recipes I've gathered over the last forty years or so. Some of the recipes are neatly typed or written on cards, but my favourites are stuffed into the box in their original form -- ripped from newspapers, or better still, written as part of a letter. This one is in Mom's handwriting, so it will never be transferred to a card.

Adeline's Coffee Cake

350F oven, 40-45 minutes

1/2 lb. butter or margarine - Cream well.

2 cups sugar - Beat in.

4 eggs - one at a time.


1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond
3 cups flour
1tsp. baking powder

Pour 3/4 of batter in greased cookie sheet (one with sides). Spread one jar of cherry pie filling on top. Spread remaining batter on top in blobs. Bake. Sprinkle with 10X sugar when cool.

There. A recipe with lots of sugar, fat, and nostalgia for the seventies, when we didn't worry quite so much about sugar and fat.

Here's the kicker. It was only when I had printed the recipe into an e-mail and sent it off to the one person on the list that I was supposed to send it to, that I noticed the rest of the instruction:  After you've sent the recipe to the person in position 1 below and only to that person, copy this letter into a new email, move my name to position 1 and put your name in position 2. Only mine and your name should show when you send your email. Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy).

Oh, crap. This is like a chain letter. I don't do chain letters. Now I feel like a spoil-sport.

Never mind, I said to myself. If you post the recipe to the Turtle, that will be kind of sort of like sending it to 20 people, right? But without the pressure?

So if you're planning a 70s themed party for the holiday season, do consider including Mom's recipe -- and let me know how it goes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

...come words of wisdom. Or so it seems. Maybe. I just came back from a Meetup (That's an official thing, a Meetup.  ( I only found out about Meetup a couple of weeks ago, when Peggy Richardson (that's Peggy on the right) popped into the NaNoWriMo discussion board and proposed a meetup for people doing NaNoWriMo. It sounded good to me, so I joined the group, met some fascinating people -- and since then, have attended  two more Meetups. Tonight I met C.J. Gosling, (left) yet
another lovely young thing, whose YA novel, The Guardian, will be coming out in February. I got to see the book itself, which is a work of art in more ways than one. The story is beautifully written and also beautifully illustrated.

So we talked about Charity's book (that's CJ's proper name) and we talked about NaNoWriMo and we swapped stories, and I talked about what a hard time I'm having this year, writing my NaNovel. I am trying to explore a mother's nightmare scenario - (one of many possible nightmare scenarios -- Parenthood is such a risky endeavour!) and I keep screeching to a halt. Perhaps I just don't want to go there.

And as we were getting ready to leave, Peggy asked me why I was trying to write from such a dark place when I just don't seem to be that kind of person. Charity said I told great stories, and wondered why I didn't go with those, instead of plumbing the depths of my angst, or my characters' angst...

Well, damn. Food for thought. I'm facing my NaNovel again, wondering whether I should turn around and head in a completely different direction with the story. You know, it's a sad thing to get to be an old lady and still come across as Little Mary Sunshine.

Speaking of (Not)writing, I've also discovered, which has given me endless hours of distraction.  I've revisited music I had forgotten all about, like Cream, and music that has stayed with me all through the years, like this: