Monday, June 30, 2008

Comfort Food - What's Yours?

I'm reading/getting ready for interviews on a number of books this week for upcoming editions of Realgoodwords. Most this week are fufilling my need for lighter, take-me-away kind of reads.

Kate Jacobs new book is called "Comfort Food" fits right in with my recent devouring of food-related novels. As I said before, I'm slow in coming to the hot new craze (which is probably OUT by now) of foodie-ism. Food Channel, celebrity chefs and our household favorite "Top Chef". Here's the story on "Comfort Food":

Comfort Food is about the power of food to bring people together and the joys of savoring every bite of life. Gus Simpson is a host and chef for the Cooking Channel who has been subject to rating wars and trends in television. As she turns fifty she is pushed to start a new live, reality tv show with a young Spanish cook she can't quite get used to. Also on the show are her daughters, a younger chef and her best friend. Her "martha stewart" veneer is shattered and she learns to be more real and connect with people in a not so perfect menu, comfort food kind of way.

What exactly is Comfort Food?
It's different for everybody I guess - whether it's a dish your grandma made - or a meal with friends or family that makes you feel better....For me, baking - whether cookies or cakes - is a comfort. The eating is too of course, but mostly, the preparation is what comforts me. I can't figure out what it is...
I like to bake for other people and I like to be in our kitchen, immersed in a project. Yesterday my mom and brother and nephew visited and we had a great time - having a couple of meals together and hanging out by the lake. Here's what I made for them:

1/2 lb of butter (I used the wonderful Dahl's Dairy Butter)
1 1/2 c of sugar
3 eggs (local from our very own Jane Grimsbo Jewett)
2 cups flour
1/2 c. milk (Dahl's again)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
generous shakes of cinnamon and ground cloves (optional - I like a little spiciness to the cake)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (otherwise known as 375 in my oven). Butter and flour a Bundt pan and set aside. Spill flour for good luck.

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs. Add 1 cup of flour and beat well, beat very well. Mix in the milk and vanilla and spices. Combine the baking powder and last cup of flour then add to the batter. Beat well, beat very well.(caution: this cake dough provides excellent licking of the beaters).
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake about 45 minutes - I set the timer for 30 and checked it and then for another 15 minutes or so. You'll know when it is done when it doesn't shake like jello anymore and when the stick you poke in it comes out clean and batter free.

When the cake is done, turn it upside down on a plate to cool, leaving the bundt pan on top of the cake for about 20 minutes so it will hold its shape. (This is the part where I didn't do as great and was grateful I'd be serving family who will love me despite my imperfect cake. I can usually guarantee a great tasting cake, not a great looking cake.)

For frosting I beat fresh whipped cream with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a little more cinnamon. Best served with a strong cup of coffee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I too find comfort in baking. I love to try new recipes, and have a few old "standbys" that get requested a lot.