Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Cake

Nordic Ware Pumpkin Patch Pan
The details are unclear. Driving to an appointment, listening to NPR, I heard snippets of an interview with Adam Gopnik, author of the book the Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food.

The interview triggered memories of the table my husband and I made when we were first married. We balanced a piece of plywood over two saw horses and covered it with a table cloth. Later we replaced it with a table from the thrift store. On one end of that table he built a guitar and at the other end I made clay pots. We ate in the middle. We abused that table. One day it cried Uncle and warped, then cracked.

I thought of the oak table I bought at a garage sale 12 years ago. The man selling it told me that his family had shared a meal at that table every evening and after dinner his father would do fine sculpture work there, evidenced by the pock marks in the wood on one side. I sense that table could tell me stories and when I sit down to write at that table, I listen.

Tables are for gathering around. Offer a little food and we linger together for awhile. It's bonding in it's best form. Sharing a meal builds memories. When the forks are set down, elbows find the table. After a satisfying meal and a couple of glasses of wine, the tongue loosens and connections are made.

Tomorrow we will celebrate a birthday. The grand finale will be Pumpkin Cake made with pumpkin from my garden and baked in the Nordic Ware pumpkin cupcake pan my Mom gave me for a birthday years ago. 6 cups make the bottoms of 6 pumpkins and 6 cups make the tops of 6 pumpkins. A little frosting to wed the two and you have 6 round pumpkin cakes. One a piece. A stomach ache memory.


1 2/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Cup Pumpkin
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and sift together. Add remaining ingredients.
No need to grease the pan. Pour the batter into an eight inch square cake pan - or into muffin pans.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes, until a spaghetti noodle inserted in the center comes out clean.

Frost. Or sprinkle powdered sugar over the tops. Decorate

Come to the table, stay for dessert. There's no telling what will happen.

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