Growing up, Ma had different ideas on food. What I ate as a kid came from a can (fruit and veggies), a box (cake, pudding, Stove Top Stuffing), a freezer (pork chops and hamburger) or the woods (Bambi and his little fishy friends). I don't fault her for this, mind you. She had nine kids and a spit-spot home.
My way can take over a person's life. Slow food takes time and enormous amounts of patience if something doesn't turn out how you anticipated. It can mean waking up at incredible hours should you be entertaining for breakfast or brunch. Kids, though they may revel in the final product, often don't have the wherewithal to withstand hours in the kitchen waiting, waiting, waiting. This is the part of Ma's plan that really makes sense and I'm glad I at least took notes.
Since revisiting my childhood home last week I've been steeped in memory and memoir. I'm still not sure what to make of it, but I've been reminded of the many hours on my knees hunched over the breakfast bar watching Ma stir and blend and bake. One of my favorite deserts took no time at all to concoct--Dump Cake, a classic.
There are a lot of Dump Cake recipes online, but this is the way Ma made it.
1 Can of Cherry Pie Filling
1 Can of crushed Pinapple
1 Package yellow cake mix
1 Stick of butter, melted
Sweetened, shredded coconut
Here's what you do: Grab one of those 9x13 inch baking pans and grease it up a little bit around the bottom and the sides. Pour in the cherries and spread them all around. Glop and spread the pineapple over the cherries. Pour the cake mix over the fruit. Then pour the butter over the cake mix as evenly as you can. Top with as much coconut as you like, then add nuts. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Enjoyed best with a cup of hot coffee
*Orange Hot Cross Buns is another one of my coffee shop "literary" foods that has been aptly renamed by my youngest fledgling. I urge you to take it for a spin on a slow food kind of a day.
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