Growing up most of us will admit, we didn’t appreciate what family we had during the holidays. Whether it was the obnoxious cousin that brags about everything ten fold or a freeloading uncle, however you felt about them, they were still your family. There was always a house full and plenty gathered round the table. Nowadays, due to time constraints, work, travel, family disagreements, or even addiction there isn’t a house full at mammaw’s house anymore. Actually, both sets of my grandparents have passed on along with my father. My mother, my last remaining rock, still refuses to fully hand the reins over to me, and yet manages to throw down a real spread. I guess as a child, you didn’t know of the background drama, and who was mad at who, you were just happy to see the crowd and play with cousins you only seen a few times a year.
One of the funniest Thanksgivings ever was when I was probably around 12 years old. My Aunt Billie and Uncle Harold came every Thanksgiving along with her 25lb cat Cupcake and his miniature collie Lady-either pet never liked to be petted by us kids, and Aunt Billie’s hoard of prunes, vitamins, prozac, and elixirs. Evidently, she feared irregularity, even while foundering during the Thanksgiving holiday. My Aunt Mollie, a retired school teacher with gold rings on each manicured finger and cashmere sweaters saying save me a leg please, both my sister’s and their spouses, and my niece Becky with the same mullet haircut as I had were part of an all star line-up to great disaster awaiting to happen.
Dinner was eagerly inhaled by all parties. However, Uncle Harold ever pushing the boundaries of his diabetes and catching Aunt Billie not looking, would get into the table of desserts. Shortly afterwards, he would start to nod off on the couch with his hair piece nodding off as well. This particular time, maybe it was Aunt Billie pushing the prunes on him or maybe he was looking to take a nap, but he disappeared into the bathroom for an extended period. Now the next patron into the bathroom was my dad who exclaimed the toilet was stopped up. No one knew who or what occurred at the time. This sent my dad in defcon 5 level anger as a man’s home is his castle and his toilet is his throne! Needless to say this escalated with having to call a plumber that had to pump the septic and push my dad over the edge. The culprit was determined to be a washrag! My mother had a brass shelf on the wall by the commode with intricately folded wash clothes and potpurri. Somehow, a washrag had come up missing and it took a plumber to find it. My father exclaimed we had a 4 pack of toilet paper in there, why would a man need a wash rag! There have been speculations over the years over how that wash rag found its way down in the pot, but we will never know, but my detective father always felt Uncle Harold knew....
I hope this holiday season your house is filled with family and laughter. If you have a favorite recipe you would like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org. This recipe was given to me by Misti Blue-Bartlett, an old friend now living in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
Pecan Pie Pound Cake
4 sticks of butter
4 c. all-purpose flour
8 large eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. Brown sugar
1 jar of caramel ice cream topping
Leave cream cheese, butter, and eggs out to room temperature. In mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Then add flour, 1 c. at a time. Last add vanilla extract. Grease and flour large bundt pan. Pour in batter first, then sprinkle with pecans and brown sugar on top. (A cup or more of each) gently press into batter. Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes. ( You may tent the top with foil to keep the nuts from scorching) Then, increase temp to 325 degrees for an additional 30 minutes. As always with baking, times vary oven to oven, so check with wooden skewer for doneness. If done, remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a plate, then flip to a cake stand where nuts mixture cooked into the cake is now on top. Drizzle entire contents of caramel ice cream topping on top and along sides of cake. You may sprinkle a few pecans on top of cake if desired.