The Company of People Who Know What You’re About
Made some apple pudding cake Saturday and it was not bad. A recipe from a friend, who brought the cake to a potluck a few years back. I put the recipe in my pile of recipes which grew enough to be a nuisance this summer and at last I sorted through ’em and kept the ones that still appeal to me. It’s that way, you know. Some days some things sound so good one day and a few days later, not so. Like there was that hot day last week when the sun shone after rain and everything was sticky and humid and there wasn’t much desire in me to cook anything at all. And the next day, the air cooled a bit and the winds picked up and I had a hankering for some meatloaf and scalloped potatoes and an apple cake.
Made a pan of corn casserole, too, that day, for the potluck at church on Sunday evening. Been a while since we had an impromptu meal together, and this one was the First Potluck of Fall, and my gosh it was something. There were deviled eggs and a plate of cheeses, calico beans and pickles and rice pudding and sloppy joes. There were pasta salads and olives and rolls and frosted ginger cookies and apple crisp with blueberries and some chocolate chip cookies that tasted just right.
It’s always a treat to eat food I didn’t make, but mostly it’s good to sit down at a table full of people I know and for whom I hold affection, and stay there awhile and talk about life in general, and compliment each other on the marinated mushrooms or the brownies or the tuna casserole. It’s good to be in the company of people who know what you’re about, and one reason we’re here, I think, to lift each other up in gentle ways by sharing our food and our stories and yes, even our griefs. A reminder we’re not alone, that we all need sustenance, be it a pile of hot cheesy vegetables or the stories of another’s life.
I’d attend potlucks most nights if I could, but with all that’s going on in the world I’m grateful for one every now and then. And frankly, each night when Mr. S and I sit down to dinner, I think of all the people I love doing the same, and telling each other the stories of the day, and laughing perhaps, and sharing dessert, and as I wash the dishes and Mr. S wipes them dry, I see the lights in the kitchens of our neighbors along the street, and I’m grateful we all have each other, wherever we may be.
Here’s one for an evening after an orchard visit, when you want to make a little something without going to too much work. It’s perfect for a potluck, too, should you find one on your calendar in the days ahead.
Apple Pudding Cake
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups chopped peeled or unpeeled cooking apples (2 medium)
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan. In large bowl, mix brown sugar and softened butter with spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, the nutmeg and salt. Stir in apples. Spread batter in pan.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat sauce ingredients over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and sauce is hot. Serve warm sauce over warm cake.
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