My sister (whose name is Annette, but for obvious reasons I will call her “The Other Annette”) and her family are visiting this week from Louisiana, so I am using the vacation theme to do a non-writing post.
On Wednesday, I announced on Facebook that, in honor of The Other Annette’s arrival, I baked my fabulous chocolate cake using my secret metal cake cover trick. Requests were made to share the recipe, so I will pony up and do that after I ramble about a few other things.
The metal cake cover in question belonged to my grandmother. It is red, and I match it (or mis-match it if you are picky) with a gold metal plate, also from my grandmother. On the back of the gold plate is a piece of masking tape with “Mrs. John DeFelice” written in blue ink. This plate had a long and happy life attending weddings, baby showers, church socials and ladies’ groups meeting with my grandmother (whose given name was Euphraisie, but she went by “Mrs. John” to her neighbors, “Ma-Ma” to her grandchildren and “Frazie” to her friends). Now the cake plate is in service with me.
A lot of my possessions have signed pieces of masking tape on the back. The ones that don’t are signed in my memory. My collection of tablecloths, for instance, began with a couple of tea table covers I inherited from my other grandmother (whose given name was Clemence, but she was “Grom” to her family, “Mrs. Paris” to her husband’s friends, and “Miss Tit” to everyone else in town, most of whom were French and understood that “tit” means little, not the thing it means if you are English.)
I like old stuff. I don’t need to pretty it up and call things classic or vintage. Old is fine. When we have dinner, it’s on old jade colored Fire King dinnerware that came from my husband’s grandmother, (whose given name was Sara Keith, and everyone called her that.) Despite her lack of nicknames, Sara Keith was a gifted artist. When her husband (whose given name was Leven, after Loch Leven in Scotland) returned from World War II, Sara Keith took the greatcoat he’d been issued by the Marines and created a rug from it. She designed a floral pattern, cut the wool into strips, had the strips dyed into the appropriate colors and hand wove it. That rug now hangs on my dining room wall, which is the proper way to display a work of art.
On the wall across from the art rug is a large and colorful turkey platter. The platter has no family connection, but it is valuable to me because I found it in an antique shop in Bedford, Pennsylvania, while on a weekend getaway with the Indiana Women’s Writing Circle. It’s also important because I bought it with the tiny paycheck I received for an article on children’s mysteries in TWINS magazine.
I can look around my house and see possessions that have meaning and history. Not much of it is valuable in monetary terms, but to use a cliché, in terms of sentiment, it’s all priceless. From time to time, like now and earlier this week when another tablecloth piece was published online by Dew on the Kudzu, I mine my possessions to write about them.
So I guess this is a writing post after all. Hmm. Funny how that happened, isn’t it?
What do you own that is priceless? And why does it hold meaning for you?
And here’s the recipe!
1 boxed chocolate cake mix. (Devil’s Food, Dark Chocolate, Duncan, Betty, whatever is your favorite.)
1 box chocolate pudding (NOT instant.)
1 cup regular sour cream (NOT low or no fat.)
1 metal cake cover
Instructions: Mix the dry cake mix with the dry pudding mix and whisk together. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box. When it’s mixed, gently fold in the cup of sour cream. Bake the cake as directed in a Bundt pan. When the cake is cooked, let it cool for about 2 minutes. Turn it out onto a cake plate and then immediately cover with the metal cake cover. Let stand for 1 hour—no peeking! The heat from the cake cover with infuse moisture into the cake and it will be rich and fudgy. After an hour, remove cake cover, which is will be covered in condensation. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake. No icing is necessary. Eat at a table covered with your favorite tablecloth.