But by the time she was cooking for a family in a kitchen of her own, the world had spun, as it always does, to a new configuration. Instead of cooking for a crew of family members and employees, she was putting three square meals together for a fifties-era family. Unlike her mother, who learned to cook the food she had grown up eating from the women in her family, my mother paid attention to books and magazines full of recipes and kitchen wisdom. Since we lived only 30 miles away, my sisters and I lingered and lounged around the farm on weekends and during the summer, never far from the kitchen and ever eager to see what good things the huge kitchen table might hold at the next meal.
Watching, and eventually helping, my grandmother bake was one of my greatest treats. She made biscuits in a shallow wooden dough tray, transforming flour, lard, and buttermilk into perfect little pillows of hot bread, exquisite with butter and divine with honey or preserves from the pantry. She mixed cakes in a deep, wide, lightweight, red-rimmed white-enamel bowl, which doubled as the dishpan.
One piece of kitchen equipment that did two jobs saved time and money, two resources my grandmother used with care. My grandmother flung flour about with abandon, not afraid to make a mess since it would be simple to clean up once the job was done right. Rich milk from their dairy went in right from the bottle, home-churned butter from the crock, fresh eggs from a basket on the counter, sugar scooped from a canister—all landed in the big bowl without measuring implements of any kind other than eyes and practiced hands.
Neither did she. She loved to bake, especially cakes. From her I learned the pleasure of making a little magic happen by transforming the simplest of ingredients into beautiful, inviting cakes, ready to be savored with family and friends. I started baking at home when I was nine or ten. I still remember the thrill of making something and bringing it out to my family, who, bless them, always crowed with joy and surprise that little me could make such a magnificent cake or pie or pan of brownies or gingerbread. I never thought of cakes as special or particularly Southern, just as something I loved to make and eat.
My professional life in the kitchen began years later, when I started teaching and writing about the food of Thailand, where I had spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer. Baking and Southern cooking remained part of my life, but not in a conscious way. If we had company, I might make green chicken curry with rice, or Southern fried chicken with corn on the cob.
I just kept on doing what I knew how to do. It also means that lots of cakes need baking, since we have four birthdays a year, plus those of grandparents, sisters, and friends. Not to mention school festivals, covered dish suppers, family reunions, and church dinners, all of which keep me refilling the sugar and flour canisters and wearing out a mixer now and then.
Where to find recipes for caramel cake or places to order it out | Food | fensconrectderp.tk
Not only did baking come back to the forefront of my life; I also moved back to where my earliest baking, cooking, and eating took place. Six years ago, we moved from Southern California, where our daughters were born, back to North Carolina, settling down about an hour away from the kitchens of my childhood. I came back with a new appreciation of my culinary inheritance, and an eagerness to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.
Since we moved here, I have enjoyed the chance to take a long, sweet look at Southern food in general and Southern baking in particular. The opportunity to write this book has been an extraordinary and precious gift. I am moved and astounded daily as I read, talk, taste, research, and daydream my way through the subject of Southern cakes. From pound cake to pineapple upside-down cake, and from Lady Baltimore to Mississippi Mud, this has been a hoot, an education, and a very tasty task.
Each recipe, each question, each person seems to lead me to another recipe, question, and person, and what a blessing that is. I feel grateful beyond words to know, at this point in my life, in the twenty-first century, how many people are fascinated by, excited over, occupied with, and opinionated about food, just like me. I invite you to take a little journey through this collection of Southern cakes.
Perhaps you will come across some old friends and meet some new neighbors, since the South, like all the world, grows and changes every day, while still remaining essentially its same old self. I hope that while sampling these pages you will remember something about a cake you once ate or a person who once taught you something about cooking and eating and the sacred nature of food.
I hope you bake some of these cakes, or go find someone who will, or become inspired to head off down the kitchen trail toward another culinary destination that captures your particular fancy. See our disclaimer. A Baking section offers the cake basics, some finishing touches that means frosting and lots of it! Specifications Publisher Chronicle Books.
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A Baking section offers the cake basics, some finishing touches that means frosting and lots of it! Becky Luigart-Stayner is a photographer for numerous magazines and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Customer Reviews Average Review. See All Customer Reviews.
Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations (Paperback)
Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Taste the chocolatey goodness of Mississippi Mud or marvel at the extravagant elegance of the Lady Baltimore and there will be no doubt that Southerners know how to bake a cake. Product Details About the Author.