Sunday, August 25, 2013

Guest Writer: On Cookships

A number of friends of mine have blogs. Some of my closest friends and I decided to guest write on each other's's my first guest writer! My buddy, DJ, has a food/baking blog. Having eaten her baked goodies I can let y'all know that you can definitely trust her recipes!! Visit her at  DJ's Mixing Bowl. She came to share her thoughts on how cooking has grown personal relationships for her and even shared a yummy recipe! Without further adieu...

The relationship that a mother has with her daughter is a very special thing. Through that relationship she can raise and shape her daughter into the person that she will be once she grows up.  A mother is the person that her daughter wants to emulate, make proud and learn from. Mothers are one of the most important figures in a young lady’s life and it is imperative that the relationship and the bond that gets formed between mother and daughter be a good one. I will also extend this to grandmothers, aunts, mentors and cousins because these women can also have a hand in bringing up a young girl. I was fortunate enough to have a mother, a grandmother as well as a few aunts. I value each relationship that I have with the aforementioned women but I find myself looking up to my grandmother the most and reflecting on the things that we did together over the years.

Something that is very important to me is cooking and baking and everything that I know about cooking, I know it from my grandmother who I like to call “granny”. I started hopping along as my granny’s shadow when I was 7 or so and would get sent to Georgia for summer break. The very first thing we ever made together was a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich (I cook my grilled cheeses the exact same way to this day almost 20 years later) and as the cliché goes…the rest was history. When we get together, cooking and baking is what we do. It’s how we bonded and how we continue to bond. I can pick up the phone right now and ask my granny what is the best way to season a pot of collard greens, or how to make a quick gravy or how to jazz up some super dry peaches that I mistakenly bought and not only will she tell me but it will jump the conversation off and three hours later we will have completely caught up on everything that’s happened in our lives since the last time we talked.

I look up to her, I want her to be proud of me and I would do anything for this woman and I know that she would do the same for me. I’ve hopped in the car and driven the 2 hours to Augusta to see about her with my own to eyes and make sure everything that she needs is taken care of and that she’s okay. And once again, she’s done the same for me. Cooking is how we started our relationship and it is also how we maintain it along with good communication and quality time. I really think that that’s the key, finding an activity to do and building the relationship and the bond from said activity. My granny will probably always cook circles around me because there is so much knowledge up there but I feel confident in saying that I’ve surpassed her in the baking departmentJ.

There are lots of vehicles for a mother to use to form bonds and relationships with her daughter(s): sports, musical instruments, reading, knitting, dancing, sewing, DIY projects, arts & crafts, shopping and of course cooking and baking. I wrote primarily about what I did with my grandmother because I think that my relationship with her is the strongest and has lasted the longest. I do have a relationship and a bond with my mom but it’s been broken many times over the years for reasons that I won’t get into on this post. When we try to reform, it’s never as good as the last time, even though I wish that it was. But I digress…forming these bonds with a daughter starts at a young age and if they aren’t formed or if they aren’t formed tight enough then as she grows up, you both will grow apart and she’ll be looking to someone else to help her figure herself out and it may not be a grandmother, or an aunt or a female mentor. It could be the absolute last person that you would ever want your daughter looking to. I don’t have kids yet but one day I hope to and I also hope to have a strong relationship with them. And if I have a daughter, cooking and baking will most likely be a HUGE part of our relationship. Lastly, I want to leave you with a recipe for a cake that my grandmother and I love to bake together and eat together, I hope you like it.   

Italian Cream Cake
(Adapted from

CAKE Ingredients:                                           FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp lemon extract
1½ cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
5 egg whites
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp lemon extract
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans.
Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
In a large bowl, cream margarine and shortening until light. Add white sugar, and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Stir together flour and baking soda, and add alternately with buttermilk into the creamed mixture; mix well after each addition. Stir in lemon extract, coconut, and walnuts. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Spoon into prepared pans.
Bake for 25 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Using a mixer, combine cream cheese, margarine in a bowl until the two are creamed together. Add in confectioners' sugar, and lemon extract. Beat until smooth and then add coconut. Frost the cooled cake. Sprinkled the walnuts on top of the cake after it is frosted.

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