Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Both Elizabeth Taylor and my Great Aunt Doris...

...lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the rise of Communism, the rise of Solidarity and the ultimate fall of Communism as a world power in Europe. They experienced the grief of the nation at both Pearl Harbor and September 11. They lived in interesting times and died within a week of each other.

They both survived women's liberation, ladylike, with their class very much intact.

Unlike the movie star, my aunt was never in any way concerned about finding herself. Ever. Besides, everyone always knew where to find her--with the children, singing! Elizabeth began her career as a young girl on the silver screen. My aunt began her career of mothering first as an aunt--she was 12 when my dad, her nephew, was born--then as mother to her own two children, later as grandmother, great aunt, and great-grandmother.

They both really knew how to love people. Elizabeth Taylor was loyal and passionate and Doris was loyal and devoted. Both women were religious. My aunt was firm in her faith and gentle in her evangelization. She asked the preacher to ask this question at her graveside, "Do you know where you are headed?" before she extended the invitation to meet up with her later.

There is something about this generation of women. There is, at their hearts, a seemingly endless capacity to give of oneself. It truly is a wonder of nature, the generosity of these women.

Elizabeth Taylor will live on in film. My Aunt Doris will live on in our family. I wanted to share this wonderful woman with you today and share something she gained a bit of fame for: her chocolate cake. I find it very appropriate that she would be known for something so sweet.

Grandma Doris' Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 sticks oleo (margarine) or butter
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk (make with 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tsp of vinegar, stir and let set for 10 minutes)

In a small saucepan, combine oleo, cocoa and water. bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Meanwhile sift together (or whisk) flour and sugar. Pour cocoa mixture over flour and sugar, mix to combine and let cool. Add buttermilk, egg, baking soda, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour into a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch ungreased sheet cake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

The Icing
1 stick of oleo (margarine) or butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup water
1 lb of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Boil oleo, cocoa, and water in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix with hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Pour over cake as soon as you take it out of the oven.

1 comment:

  1. Great aunt sounds like a good title for her. I hope to meet her someday. ;-)