Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Recipe for Remembering

My father had a very favorite dessert that my mom would make on special occasions. I think I know the genesis of the recipe but I could be wrong. I believe the woman who passed the recipe onto my mother was the wife of a fellow Air Force officer. I remember three couples -- my mom and dad, the recipe-giver and her husband and the mom and dad of the boy who liked snakes.

[I was going to get into the where and how and when of their first meeting and then similar posting several years later at the Pentagon, but then I realized how my descriptions of the other two couples are so very odd. Odd because these are people I saw with some degree of regularity in the five years my dad was stationed at the Pentagon when I was between the ages of nearly-4 and nearly-9. And yet my take-away is "recipe-giver" and parents of "the boy who liked snakes."

I think the recipe-giver was named Charlotte. And I think it was her funeral that was the first one I attended when I was a junior or senior in high school. I wore orange pants to the funeral. I didn't cry. But I did project her family's misery onto what mine would be if my mom was the one in the casket.

As for the snake-loving boy, well, you have to know that I have a fear of snakes. And snakes are everywhere in Northern Virginia, particularly in areas kids like me would explore with friends in the forests and creeks (which likely all had been handed over to development 35 to 40 years ago). But this kid would play with snakes. Ick'ed me out.]

That three-paragraph aside was not the original point of my post, but it's funny how it does, in fact, tie into my point. For the first time on my own, I made that sour cherry walnut cake with sea foam icing recipe. The last time my mom was here, I helped her make it (not unlike the many times I helped her bake it in my long-ago youth). We had hunted high and low for sour cherries, so when we finally did find them, we bought three cans. The recipe only needs one.

And so, as Eldest has been home from college and I've been taking many baking requests, Pete requested that one. My father's favorite. A rather labor-intensive baking experience. The sea form icing recipe card is from the same manual typewriter of many years ago. I had to call my mom because I couldn't find the cake recipe. It's printed on my Epson but it still has my mother's words.

I have vague recollections of the celebrations which warranted this cake. Besides my dad's birthday and father's day, of course, there were celebrations for promotions and there were fancy dinner parties. It was never a workaday cake. It never will be. It will be one for remembering.

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