(I’m reviving the blog in anticipation of the publication of a new book, the date of which is uncertain. The plan for the blog is to devote different days of the week to different subjects. Monday’s “m” will remind me to write about meals in the broadest sense, that is, about food and cooking.)
Every January I resolve that I’m going to try new recipes in the new year, delving into my neglected cookbooks. “Every January” tells you how successful I’ve been.
Retiring from teaching seems like a new beginning, almost like a new year. Inspired again to explore those cookbooks, I recently pulled Food Editors’ Favorites: Treasured Recipes off the kitchen shelf. Published to benefit the Newspaper Food Editors and Writers Association, reprinted in 1983 on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, this book features favorite home-cooked dishes of food editors around the country. One of them is a delicious bundt cake I have often made. For several years, I offered it for a friend for her birthday, after she expressed delight in it the first time. And a super critical older woman of my acquaintance, known for her cooking skills, asked me for the recipe after I brought it to a church event years ago. That woman’s request for my recipe was like winning a culinary Pulitzer Prize.
I’ve also stirred up for the occasional party this book’s curry dip, submitted by Peggy Dunn of the Milwaukee Journal. Because the cake and the curry have been successes, you’d think I’d try other recipes, but, alas, I’ve barely sampled them. Last week, I cracked open the book and put together the Southwest Salad (Jane Baker, the Phoenix Gazette). As is often the case, I didn’t have all the ingredients and wouldn’t have wanted to include hot pepper sauce and chopped chilies anyway; still, the result was satisfying. I’ll add the recipe below.
While I had the book open, I made the old favorite bundt cake as well. It’s simple and dependable. The only challenge it presents is the directive to beat for 10 minutes, an arm-fatiguing time if you don’t own a stand mixer. As a result, I usually cheat. Seven to eight minutes seems to work just fine.
2 cups sugar 2 cups flour 1 cup softened butter 5 room temperature eggs
1 tablespoon flavoring (vanilla, lemon, or almond extract, or a mixture thereof)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bundt pan generously, even nonstick ones. Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth, about 10 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour or until cake is done, i.e., the temperature has reached 200 to 210 degrees.