And a misplaced tradition…
Once upon a time, long, long ago, there were women in my family who made magical sweet treats and savory dishes. My cousin Judy carries on her own version of the family culinary heritage. I thought of her today as the first snow of the season fell, because on the first snow day every year, Judy likes to make a fruit pie. I hope she enjoyed baking today and looking out at her beautiful snow-covered farm.
WAY back in the day, both of Reed’s and my grandmothers, and also Aunt Martha, made apple stack cakes. Apple is the only flavor I ever remember them making, at least. I also remember the apples for many of those cakes being dried on window screens inside a shut-up car in Mamaw and Papaw’s yard. Granny never referred to dried apples as apples; they were always simply called “fruit”.
Reed had the foresight to ask for lessons in stack-cake-making from both Mamaw and Aunt Martha. The recipe itself is not a difficult one, but the making of a stack cake is a process. I remember Reed saying that Aunt Martha told him it just takes pans and patience. (I might add that counter space would be really helpful!)
It’s strange how so many of my food memories have become less about the food and more about the hands that prepared it. Of course, every tooth in my head is a sweet tooth, and I do LOVE me all those yummy treats, especially the rare, special-occasion ones. A few years ago at Christmas time, Reed got a hankering for a stack cake, but did not have the desire, pans, or patience to make it himself. Fortunately, we have a high school friend who at that time owned a highly-acclaimed local bakery (she has since sold it to her niece, so it remains in good hands). Reed mentioned to Peggy that he sure would love a stack cake, and Peggy said something along the lines of, “I can hook your a$$ up!”
And hook it up she did. He brought this humble-looking, beautiful creation to Christmas Eve at Dad’s house, and eventually we tore into it. The moment I took a bite, I burst into grateful tears. Decades disappeared, and my mouth and mind were flooded with the flavor of nostalgia. Once more, I was reminded that tastebuds and heartstrings are directly, and closely, connected.
People of faith often talk about Heaven being a wedding feast, or a banquet. I like to believe that this is true. And I like to imagine the tables there, laden with something to satisfy every craving, and plenty of room for everyone to share in the marriage supper of The Lamb.
(I shared this recipe for a church cookbook shortly after I was married. The amount of fruit needed was not specified, it’s just something you have to eyeball…but more is better.)