Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I got my cookbook collecting fetish from my mother. If you follow the blog, you know her. She is Mary. She is a fantastic cook. She is the one who taught me to cook. Her first blog a couple of weeks ago was a very tasty Sweet and Sour Tofu. I have never had a sweet and sour dish that I thought was worth a damn. They are almost always sickeningly sweet. And then there's that orange Day-Glo color. Leave it to her to come up with a sweet and sour that tastes fabulous and is vegan for her once a week vegan day.

There were some lean times growing up but she is one of those people who can whip up a meal out of few ingredients and transform it into a feast. I never thought of her as a particularly patient person. When the barbarians were at the gate, she was most vocal. And she had a husband who was not easy. But when she is in the kitchen, magic always happens and there is an air of serenity. The results were and are always inspiring. My preteen waistline showed it.

So she is the spark that light the fire that made me want to cook. And eat. She spent hours and still does pouring over cookbooks investigating technique, reading about unfamiliar ingredients, planning that next family get together. To me there is nothing more comforting than turning on the light on the bedside table and browsing through my latest cookbook find. Or the one that I have been carrying around for many years. Mary is the inspiration. She tells me that she is enjoying blogging with us and the results look truly impressive. She worries that she may not be following the "rules". I tell her that there are no rules. It is her day to blog and she can blog about anything she wants. Dandelion greens picked by her dog? Go for it! Just as today is my day and I can blog about anything I want to. So this one is about happy memories. Memories of coming home from ice skating or sledding and having a sweet treat waiting. Memories of shared times in the kitchen.Memories of great meals at family get togethers.

This was one of Mary's staples. Whip it together in a hurry and it tastes great after sledding on a cold winter's day. I know of few people who make it or have even heard of it. As the name states, it is wacky. No eggs, no butter, no mixing bowls or beaters to clean. And it contains vinegar. Vinegar! All these years she has been making it and I bet she never even thought about it being vegan. I never did. It just tastes great!

Wacky Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water

Sift dry ingredients together and place in an UN GREASED 8' x 8" square cake pan. Make three wells. Put vanilla in one, vinegar in another and vegetable oil in the last. Pour over water and mix with a fork. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Serve with whipped soy topping or by itself. Enjoy.

Oh yeah, did I mention that at 72 she is still hot and a lot of fun? Happy Mother's Day Mom! Thanks for all the great meals. All the great memories!

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