Everyone is home!
I referenced my grandma a lot around the bakery. We lived beside her for most of my life and it was normal for us to run back and forth from our door to hers in the afternoons and we did our fair share of ‘eating her out of house and home’ with my cousins during the Summers. As much as she would say that, the truth is that we could have never eaten all of the food in that house and she loved it. It was a simple house, with simple and good people, and always something delicious in the oven or on the stove(or usually both). I cannot remember a time that I didn’t get to her porch swing and instantly smelled something from the kitchen. Sometimes it was fresh biscuits or collards, sometimes her beloved vanilla pound cake(and you dare NOT run in her house if you smell that! “If that cake falls, it’s your hide”) and sometimes it was chow-chow. I would play outside those days. It’s funny how things change and I find myself searching for that smell sometimes.
I would always run straight to the kitchen. In a small house like theirs you can run the distance from the front door to the kitchen table and beat the screen door slamming. I would immediately hear my Papa yell and ask if I was raised in a barn... every day like clock work.
She was always in that kitchen(although one time I caught her taking a nap in the middle of the day on the couch. She said she was ‘resting her eyes’ with a smile and a laugh that I can still hear today). So much so that I thought for the longest time that her homemade aprons were a part of her dresses.
I’m not sure how many people the kitchen table actually sat because we were all on top of each other with mixed matched chairs and stools. Whatever we could find to sit and all be together. Maybe this is the reason I’m such a stickler about eating at the table today with my own family. We would say the blessing which was always led by the kids(she would always smile- yes I peeked. Often.) As we would pass the mixed matches dishes around I would always gaze my eyes to the end of the table. The ‘sink side’ of the table. That’s where the goodness was. Under a damp cheese cloth there would be homemade biscuits made fresh daily in her kitchen. That’s what everyone really came for. Beside it would be something sweet. Sometimes it would be a cake or something more simple but it was always there and sweet. I’m convinced this is how my love for dessert began. She had those old Tupperware cake containers.. the ones you wanted to see through but couldn’t.. those suppers I would really rush to eat. My mind would wonder what was under there the entire meal! No matter what it was always great and made eating all of my peas so much more bearable.
On Easter and Christmas that Tupperware (which she pronounced “Tucker-ware” and once you’ve heard it that way you’ll pronounce it like that for the rest of your life) would be replaced with a glass cake plate. A pretty one that she would pull out on those days. One time I asked her about it and I’ll never forget her leaning down to me and saying, “I use this one because everyone is home. There won’t be leftovers for my Tucker-ware” That smile was even bigger than the blessing-smile. She was right. There wouldn’t be.
Because we have the shop now I rarely bake at home. I, like almost everyone I know, have my glass cake plate tucked under the cabinet in its original box. It’s 11 years old. I know this because we received it as a wedding gift. Because we have so many at the shop I only pull this one out on special holidays at home. But today I’m pulling it out. During our quarantine(COVID-19) I will give two little blonde headed babies a little sweet something to look forward to and something worth eating their peas for. Their lives have been turned upside down. They’re used to a routine and this is so far from their normal. But maybe right now, in this uncertain time, is the perfect time to start new traditions, create ‘new normals’ and save our forks for dessert. Because for now our worlds have been forced to slow down. So pull out your cake plates, maybe even your wedding china, make a cake or support our people and order one from our shop and enjoy the moment... because everyone is home.
there’s always a reason for C.A.K.E.,