I am not the first one in my family who has taken to traveling around the country with a trailer. In fact, I’d have to say that it’s “in my blood”. This goes well beyond my parents aspiring to be winter snowbirds. My great grandparents wintered in Arizona in a trailer. Then my grandparents, in their retirement years, took several months at a time on the road throughout United States and Mexico. I even enjoyed a vacation young child, as Grandma and Grandpa took each of us grandchildren on a special trip in their motorhome. As I have been preparing for our adventure, I remember hearing of the adventures of these special grandparents and have been missing them all the more.
The other weekend I had the opportunity to spend an evening with a wonderful cousin of mine. After dinner I served the “Grandpa Fred Cake” to honor the memory of Grandpa. This was a special cake that only my mother would make for him (it was definitely an acquired taste) on special occasions. He then allowed us grandkids to have a little slice. (We didn’t mind it as much as the adults. It had sugar and we were kids.) The defined spice, molasses, cherry, raisin flavor was something a person could hardly forget. In fact, this was the first time since Grandpa Fred’s passing over ten years ago that someone in our family dared to make this cake.
That night when I partook of Grandpa Fred’s Cake, I had memories of the great times I spent with him, the funny stories and crazy antics we were able to get away with under his supervision. Food has a special way of triggering those memories. I reminisced about how he loved me. I’ll never forget how he would hug me, then pull me back at arms length. Grandpa Fred would smile as he looked at me and told me sincerely how special I was to him and how proud of me he was. I am truly blessed to have had a grandfather like that in my life.
As Good Friday is soon approaching I am thinking about Jesus’ Last Supper in a new way this year. Instead of thinking of the traditional symbols of the bread and wine only representing the body and blood of Jesus, I find myself reflecting more on the personal relationship I have with Him. Just like the cake flooding my thoughts of my grandpa’s love for me, communion should make me think about God’s love. Do I take God’s love for granted? Do I sense the warmth and love expressed in God’s forgiveness as I partake in communion or has it just become a ritual?
Instead of thinking of the Last Supper as an event that happened in the past, it needs to be personalized. It is important to place myself at Jesus’ table, to enjoy the memories, relationship, and the ways God has worked in my life. The Eucharist I eat needs to bring to life how God smiles down on me as His child now. It was Jesus who not only was crucified, but much worse, paid the penalty for me choosing to do wrong. I have come to terms with that forgiveness. Have you?
Until we meet again,
ps: Here’s the recipe for “Grandpa Fred’s Cake”
(It should be noted that there was no true original recipe of the cake since it was pieced together from a recollection of Grandpa Fred’s childhood, probably dating back before the use of true recipes. This cake was special to him because his mother used to make it as well.)
“Grandpa Fred’s Cake”
1/3 c. shortening
1c. molasses (dark, preferred)
1/2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla (?)
1 tsp. salt
1c. + 2 Tbsp. flour
1 small jar maraschino cherries with the juice (1/4 c. cherries 1/4 c. juice)
1c. nuts, chopped
1 1/2 c. raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9×13 make pan.
Beat together eggs, shortening, and sugar until fluffy. Mix in molasses, soda, spices, salt and vanilla. Add the flour. Fold in the cherries and juice, nuts and raisins.
Bake approximately 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean (for the most part, it will still be moist).
My mom never knew what kind of frosting would possible taste good with a cake like this, so she only dusted it with powdered sugar. I just recently tried a buttercream recipe with almond extract for a flavoring. It turned out delicious. =0)