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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Local Just Might Possibly

We spent a fabulous day yesterday at my cousin's house in Kernersville. While the children swam, the adults sat poolside and talked in that roundabout way families do, jumping back fifty years in one story then shooting forward thirty years in the next with no explanation needed.

Somewhere along the way we began to talk about pound cake.

My beautiful Aunt Ginny, my cousin's mother, died twenty-five years ago. With her died the best pound cake I have ever tasted.

(Now there is a good recipe from another aunt that I have used all these years, and everyone - my cousin, myself, other family members - was under the impression that this recipe was the one that Ginny used, that her cakes just tasted better than any we could make because she was so lovely.)

And so after we'd come inside to eat, the children now playing Wii, my cousin and I sat beside each other and combed through his mother's recipe book, a small binder of handwritten recipes started when she married, with the date and origin of each recipe noted. Loose recipes were in envelopes glued into the book, clippings from newspapers at the back.

My grandmother's baked apples were in there, Lucy H. Cash 1946 written in the top right corner. A surprising and lethal-sounding "48 hour punch" that called for a fifth of bourbon, too. A recipe for Moravian sugar cake from the Winston-Salem Sentinel. And the pound cake recipe from the other aunt, and though I'd long wondered if perhaps I'd been given an incomplete recipe, if that was why my cakes didn't taste as good as Ginny's, no, it was the same recipe given to me by that other aunt, word for word. Written in quotes at the top: "never fail".

But then we found another pound cake recipe in Ginny's second recipe binder (same size, same vintage, different cloth covering). A recipe written in her own hand. No nod to another source. Six ingredients. One line of cooking instruction. And we both looked at it and then at each other and debated and discussed and wondered.

Y'all. We think we just might possibly have the recipe now. Ginny's recipe.

Tonight I'm going to bake two cakes - one for me one for my cousin - and find out.
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