I just finished the last piece of prune cake – think really moist spice cake with a light glaze that tastes like caramel. Soooo good! It’s one of the many baked goods Mom made every Christmas and gave as gifts. After I married and eventually moved to SC, I made it for Christmas, too. The first Christmas after mom passed away, I lost the recipe.
Cooks, you know what it’s like when you know a recipe card more by the look of it, than by the recipe that’s on it. That’s the way it was with the prune cake recipe. I’d used the same cards – one for the cake, one for the icing – for almost twenty years. I knew it by the stains, discoloration, and my handwriting. And I couldn’t find it.
I went back to my cottage thinking maybe I’d left it there in a cupboard with some other recipes. I pulled the small basket onto my lap and started leafing through, looking for those recipe cards. Instead I found these.
Obviously not the ones I was looking for, and a set I still don’t remember ever getting from her or using. They were in mint condition. When I turned over the cake card, I saw her note at the bottom and could hear her saying the words. The cards and note brought both tears and comfort.
Mom passed away eighteen years ago this month. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Making her prune cake brought a sense of peace that first Christmas. I’ve written about having coffee at McDonald’s on her anniversary. My sister makes snow angels in the winter’s first snow in her honor.
Last year was a rough one. For many of us, the deaths of family, friends, or beloved pets left us numb. Some of us are losing family and friends through illness. A friend’s brother and sister-in-law are still rebuilding Haiti from the damage of Hurricane Matthew; families in Appalachia are rebuilding after wildfires. And without getting political, the presidential election still reverberates, causing emotions ranging from euphoria to acute depression and anger.
Tonight we wait for winter’s first snow. The line defining where it will fall and where it won’t keeps shifting north, so we may not see it. I’ll be disappointed if that happens, but there is still a sense of peace that settles with the anticipation. Peace. The whole reason a star appeared in the night sky and hovered over a tiny baby.A final Merry Christmas. May we all find moments of peace and comfort in this New Year.