Saturday, January 25, 2014

Simple Pleasures

This pan, as most everything (and everyone for that matter) in my world has a story...

As pans go, it probably isn't anything that anyone else in the world (save my two sisters) would find remarkable.  For starters, it's a strange size - definitely not your standard 9" x 13".  Not even a less-than-unusual 8" x 10".  It's something like 7 3/4" x 10 1/2" or so.  Nobody's ever measured it.
But it was my mom's...and now it's mine.  I've probably shared that Eleanor was not really much of a cook.  I got the distinct impression that it was never anything she wanted to do but was forced out of necessity, owing to the fact that she had a husband and at least two kids home all the time, to spend time in the kitchen.  "Throwing something together" for dinner was likely to result in a) sloppy joes and canned corn (her "go to" meal); b) something extremely well done (she liked charred food...but oddly not BBQ) or c) an extremely strange and usually unappetizing mixture of what could only be charitably called "glop."
She did, however, absolutely excel at following directions - the more complicated, the even more fantastic the result.  (This was, after all, the woman who made my dad's suits!).  This meant that baking, with many intricate steps, was something right in her wheelhouse.  There was that phase in her life where she decided to learn how to decorate cakes and took classes and purchased all the Wilton supplies.  The results were stunning works of art and she could have easily made money with that venture.  Alas, (or fortunately for all of us), turns out we didn't really care for frosting and so that was a short-lived project.
And to be fair, I'm sure she actually used this pan for lots of baked ham...and... okay.  I don't actually remember anything else but her Oatmeal Cake in this pan.  My sister Dona and I tried to figure out or remember where this recipe came from (Dona seems to remember it as possibly being on the canister of Quaker Oats). 

But in my memory, this recipe and this pan share a symbiotic relationship.  Oh, I made the cake in years past and it was pretty darn good, quickly conjuring up its predecessors in my mind.  But now that I am in possession of the pan I no longer have to rely on those cherished memories of my childhood.  I can have it on a whim any day of any week (it should be noted that the new oven with its truly magical properties of turning out perfect product every time might have something to do with this as well).
It's a very simple cake and though you can just prepare the necessary oats to make the cake, you can also make use of something I seem to find myself having more than a bit of on hand, leftover prepared oatmeal.  (When you cook for large groups and make 30-50 servings at a time, leftover oatmeal isn't such a strange occurrence.  But that's another story.)
So here's my mom's recipe for Oatmeal Cake.  It's simple, it's wonderful, and now it can become a cherished memory for you!

Oatmeal Cake from the kitchen of Eleanor Klar
1 1/4 C. boiling water
1 C. oats (rolled, not instant)
1/2 C. butter
1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
Pour water over oats, let stand 20 minutes.  Beat butter, add sugars.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Stir in oats.  Add dry ingredients.  Pour into greased and floured 9" inch square pan (or 8" x 10" unless you have a special pan from your mom which has magical properties and is is approximately the same overall size).  Bake at 350 F. for 50-55 minutes.  Let cool slightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
~later, sipping tea with my cake, tw 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy 30th Jenny!


Happy 30th!
Love, Mom

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This might put a crimp... your Super Bowl plans!

Kraft Foods has announced that there is a shortage...IN VELVEETA!  However can this be!?!?!

Apparently the "polar vortex" (which I'm thinking is actually a conservative phrase meaning "global warming") has created some irrational demand for the artificial cheese-food product - and this just ahead of the annually anticipated increased seasonal demand created by football playoffs and Super Bowl party preparations.

This is not a great start to 2014.  Gosh, I hope they don't run out of wings and bleu cheese dressing!

~later, stocking up on all things munchy, tw