Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When tragedy strikes

I'm sure you can't tell by the picture's I've posted of myself, because you'd have to be pretty in tune to tap into my ancestral roots. But I'll go ahead and give you a hint. When we're in trouble, we don't call the police. We call uncle Al. 
I'm Italian! Was that previous joke extremely lame? Why yes. Yes it was.
If you've met any heavily Italian families, then you know. We love food. Too much. That mixed in with my native Tennessee, I'm a bit devoted to my food. 
It's often said that tragedy breeds creativity. In my case, when tragedy strikes, I cook. 
My grandmother's house was filled with people Wednesday and Thursday. We needed deserts, and fast. 
Bobbie was an incredible cook. She was a housewife by trade, and spent all day in the kitchen, no joke intended. She made immaculate meals: twenty years ago she made wonton and eggroll dough from scratch, made the wontons and eggrolls, fried rice, and sweet and sour chicken. She did it as a dinner for two people: my aunt and her best friend. Apparently it was the best Chinese food ever, and I'm so pissed I wasn't alive yet.
But I digress. I decided to make a memorial to my grandmother's incredible food by making some of it myself. 
My carrot cake came from a box. So it wasn't nearly as good as hers. Her's would make Peter Rabbit leave Mr. McGregor's garden and come to Florida full time. I'm serious.
My grandmother was popular with the boys. After her husband passed on, the senior citizens were all about her. One of the men she attracted is named Raymond Mac. To me, he's been Mr. Mac for 20 years. I never got to meet my grandfather. But he's been all I could need and more. Bobbie would always make him pineapple upside down cake. It was my first time trying such a cake, but I did an alright job I think.
This was one of Bobbie's most favored creations. It was a hit with my daddy as well. I'm most proud of this, my Watergate cake. If you've never had watergate cake, it's pretty incredible. It's a pistachio, lemon lime, vanilla cake with a great pecan crunch on the top. When we would visit Bobbie, we wouldn't reach her home until probably 3 in the morning. We live 10 hours away, and we always seemed to leave later than we intended. But we'd come in, and she's always call for us from her bedroom door. To get to her room, you past through the kitchen. There would always been at least 2 cakes waiting on us to arrive. Typically a pound cake and a watergate cake. It was a familiar taste of her that was nice to have at the time of her passing.
The last dessert was one of my own creation. I called it Bobbie Cake, because it reminded me of her. A little tropical, a little heavy, with a twinge of alcohol. It's a pineapple cake base, cut peaches, cinnamon, and of course, sangria. In all honesty, I wish I'd had a vanilla base mix. But I was pretty much trying to use up her cabinet. They were pretty good, in my opinion. 

I wanted to remember her during her special day. And even though I may never be a cook like she was, I wanted her great food immortalized.
I'll miss her forever. In a world that needs more dancers, she was a hula-girl at heart.

-Trina Belle

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