Monday, March 4, 2013

aunt martha's coffee cake

Hello dear ones,

Yesterday was a particularly cool day in Florida which naturally made me want to bake something warm. Aunt Martha's Coffee Cake has long been a family favorite, spanning several generations. My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember and she tells me that her mother made it for her just the same. It has been a part of our family for so long that I hadn’t ever considered where the recipe came from. And more importantly, who was Aunt Martha?

As a side note, you should know that the women in my family have a particular fondness for cookbooks that are compiled by women's church groups. The very rustic kind of cookbook where everyone submits their favorite recipe and they are then put into sub categories of Meats, Vegetables, Breads, Sweets and Casseroles. (Yes, Casseroles get their own category.) 

My mom grew up in a small corner of New Jersey called Allentown; a very quaint little place with a little town store, an awesome old library and a delicious ice cream parlor. As I remember, it is that very ice cream parlor that was almost my demise one summer as I attempted to eat my sherbet cone while riding my bike back to my Grandma’s house. In a tragic turn of events that could be seen from a mile away, my bike hit an uneven part in the concrete, I flipped over the handlebars and my sad sherbet melted into a sugary puddle of tears. 

Ahhh, I digress. That should have been a different story for a different day...or never. Back to the cake. When my mom was growing up, my grandmother would make her way to the neighboring town of Cranbury to work in a small gift shop with her sisters on the weekends. Sometime in the early 70's, a woman named Alvarie Michael submitted Aunt Martha's Coffee Cake to the the compiled cookbook of the Women’s Club of Cranbury and my Grandmother took home a copy. She has been making this moist cake with crumbly topping ever since and so has my mom and so will I. 

Hope you had a great weekend! 

p.s I still don't know who Aunt Martha really is. Whoever she is, I like her. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

a tiny thought: it's for the birds.

"It's for the birds!" is usually an expression used to proclaim that something is silly, maybe even worthless. Our human nature is to constantly be proving ourselves and worrying about what will happen if we don't. We don't often look to things in nature to teach us something. In fact, we mostly disregard the things around us that we deem ourselves smarter than. The problem with that logic is that we are missing out on so many things we could be learning. 

For instance, I have noticed that birds have a quiet way of excelling at the things they were made for. Which got me thinking, what if today we believed that we could excel at the things we were made for? Without worry. Without fuss.We just did it. What would that look like? I say it's worth a shot. 

"Said the Robin to the Sparrow, 
'I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and hurry so.'

"Said the Sparrow to the Robin, 
'Friend, I think that it must be 
That they have no Heavenly Father 
Such as cares for you and me.'"

-Elizabeth Cheney, 1859 

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