My sister’s visiting our brother in Okanogan WA and has sent a few pics from her phone. It’s considered “high desert”.
I wish I were with them.
Here are bins of firewood, stacked, ready to burn to keep warm this winter
The other day she sent a pic of these delicious peaches
like a car graveyard
Last year or the year before, I forget which year, I didn’t get a birthday card mailed.
But this year………
since it’s my sister’s birthday Monday,
and she’s going to visit our brother and his wife in Okanogon WA on Tuesday,
I thought I’d bake a cake with our mother’s old recipe. The Happy Day Cake. I decided to cook the old fashioned penuche icing, you have to put your hand on the bottom of the pan after it sits in cool water, then add the 10x sugar and beat it, just like our mom did and frost the layers. Tomorrow after school, I’ll ship it off for them to share.
I put it in a tin, packed it up and it’s in the front hall, taped in a box, ready to mail.
It’s a Happy Day Cake recipe from Swan’s Down Cake Flour box from way back. You can see it written in my sister’s hand on a quilt square from the fiftieth anniversary quilt we made for my parents in 1989.
And I put in a pound of Zeke’s coffee beans to go with it. Happy Birthday Mary.
What’s on your cookbook shelf? These days, many people are cooking from recipes on the internet instead of cookbooks.
Did you ever discard or pass on a cookbook and then later regret your having gotten rid of it?
Diets, tastes and trends change over time. I have a wooden box of my grandmother’s recipes but I’m not making them.
I always enjoy reading a cookbook in bed, planning meals or dishes to try. Thinking about entertaining. What I usually end up doing is making the same things over and over again for the most part, not using a recipe.
Comfort foods as of late, with the ongoing winter temps I feel motivated to cook hearty meals- and eat them!
Here’s my sister’s cookbook shelf in NYC. You might remember seeing her kitchen. I love the Coldweather Cooking book and have a copy myself. I love to bake the Brown Mountain Cake out of the Farm Journal Country Cookbook. The Fannie Farmer makes me think of my mother’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook, tied with a ribbon.
I open old cookbooks, find a handwritten note or a yellowed recipe between the pages, see my mother’s hand- memories of my childhood or my children’s childhood, recipes past, present and the ones I’ve clipped for the future (always heavy on the desserts!)
I’ll share my cookbook shelf another post. Hope you will share your cookbook shelf photo.
It was hard to get it all in one shot, it’s a tight space!
The challenge of curves spoke to me immediately.
This week’s challenge - the world through your eyes, did not.
But then I looked at the photo of my sister in NYC from the other night, the reflection of Freedom Tower (behind the buildings in the foreground) in her sunglasses as we sat along the Hudson River at Battery Park. A literal interpretation. It seems I set it up AFTER reading the challenge today.
From my sister Mary via her cell Sunday afternoon
It was a nice one, too. I bought it at the fancy card store in Shadyside a while back to be sure I had it in plenty of time.
You remember the store behind our old house on Howe Street? That one.
Buying cards and not mailing them in a timely fashion seems to be something I do often. Once I swore I would never send a late card again.
I brought the birthday card to New York City when we visited last month. I thought about writing it and giving it to you then. It was still in my bag tonight.
Nah, I thought, I’ll save it- mail it to arrive closer to the special day. A much better plan. Now you’re on your way to visit our brother in Okanogan. Your mail’s on hold. And I didn’t get it in the mailbox yet.
Here’s what I do. I’ll think of someone, know their birthday is coming, buy a card, misplace it, or drive the card around for a time, til it’s ripe? I am not sure why I do this. I read a whole bunch of sisters cards, too, looking for the right sentiment. Some of them all sappy but this one was succinct and to the point. It’s even printed on recycled paper and Made in the U.S. A. Here’s a photo of the beautiful card I meant to send in time.
“I’m grateful we’re sisters.”
Happy Birthday Mary. You are an excellent sister, aunt, and friend. Thanks for always being there and listening and for putting up with me during my bratty years. (I think they are done) Love you with all my heart and am grateful for all the love you give to all of us. Have a happy birthday celebration with David.xxoo
You might remember the post my sister’s kitchen- 20 for dinner? no problem!. How she always finds cool and quirky things for me to photograph when I visit her in NYC where she’s lived about 48 years. The kids and I’d drive from Pittsburgh and camp out with her in the apartment. When we’d wake up, there’d be fresh warm Zito’s bread and homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves and fresh butter.
You with Laura after the wedding last November. Thanks for all you did to make it happen so beautifully.
Here is a colorized baby photo of you with Mom. New Haven, CT
I turned it into an art project years ago and added the border. Sorry.
For Birthdays it was the 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe or the Happy Day Cake recipe on the back of the Swan’s Down Cake Flour box, frosted with Penuche icing. My mother would put the saucepan into a sink of cold water and then beat it by hand once it cooled. I can hear the ring of the metal loop at the end of the pan’s handle. And as I remember it she added a dash of vanilla extract. My dad would pour milk over a slice and eat it with a spoon. Cake and frosting recipes below photo.
Happy Day Cake
2½ cups sifted cake flour
1½ cups sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir shortening to soften. Add flour mixture, ¾ cup of the milk and vanilla. Mix until all flour is dampened, then beat two minutes at medium speed. Add eggs and remaining ¼ cup milk. Beat one minute longer. Pour into two 9-inch layer pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans; remove from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.
This cake also may be baked in three 8-inch layer pans for 25 to 35 minutes, or in a 13- by 9-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes. Batter may be spooned into 36 medium paper baking cups in muffin pans, filling half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, more or less
- hot water, optional
In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sifted confectioners’ sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water. Frosts top and sides of a 2-layer cake or a 13×9-inch cake.