Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Ugly Cakes

My grandmother made ugly cakes. This was back before all of the nonstick bakeware. You would slather the pan with Crisco, the white solid substance that came in a blue can. You would the add a layer of sifted flour that you would shake around the bottom and edges of the pan. With all that preparation, you would think the cake would just fall lightly out of the pan.

For my grandmother this rarely happened. One Sunday morning, she was still dressed only in her slip. She couldn't cook in her Sunday go to meeting clothes, she might mess them up. She turned the pan upside down and nothing happened. She used the edge of a case knife to loosen the sides. Still nothing. She shook it ferociously and then pieces began to fall. Not just a couple of large chunks, but lots of bite-sized crumbs. I wondered what she would do. We always had dessert with Sunday dinner.

She smiled at me as she took bowl down from the shelf. She put the tub of frosting in pan of water and flipped the gas on with a low flame. She proceeded to remove the other half of the cake. Ironically, it came out perfect. She broke it into small pieces and dumped them all in the bowl. She stirred the warm chocolate frosting and then drizzled it over the chunks of yellow cake.

After lunch, she spooned the cake into dessert bowls offering everyone some.

If I had to use one word to describe my grandmother, it would be resourceful, an honorable legacy to leave behind.

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