A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friendship Cake

I picked this book up at the library the other day... and started looking through it. I usually read books with more substance than these simple, inspirational,  fiction, books.... geared toward women. I got hooked by the title...because it brought back memories of a time when we were all making Friendship cakes in our  little town. They were the first food and  recipe form of a chain letter. I'll talk about that later on...I'd like to tell more about the book.I sat, with my glass of iced tea, on a hot day and started to read. A story about 5 women in a N. Carolina Church, who decide to make a cookbook. They want to learn more about each other and the rest of the congregation and figure that making a cookbook would be a way to accomplish that.. At first the recipes don't amount to much,...they only have a handful, but as the book goes on (including a recipe for each chapter) they get more ideas of how to get more recipes. We get a look into their lives...one who lovingly takes care of a friend with Alzheimer's, another dealing with a bi racial marriage in the future, a little girl who wants to know about Heaven and how a N. Carolina Church deals with it's only black member.My Mom had Alzheimer's disease and this part of the book was really special to me. This woman had a recipe to share and her story is told near the end ot the book. It's  such a sweet little book...one to read on a hot summer day.It taught me a lesson too...maybe there are books like this... that I have been missing out on, Don't be so quick to judge, Balisha.

Now to Friendship Cake....I have an old yellowed recipe from the Elgin Courier News, Sept. 28,1988. I lived in Hampshire, Il. at the time and someone came to my door with a jar of starter in a sack.She called the starter Herman.  She told me about the recipe and asked if I would like to try it. I told her to leave it with me and I would give it a try. Well, that was the start of a big exchange between the women of Hampshire. Everyone was passing jars of this mixture...at ball games, grocery stores, Church, garden club meetings, choir practices etc. Everyone had a jar on their counter.The idea was to use part of it to make a cake and then to feed the leftover starter so it can be used to make another cake. You passed on some of the starter to a friend and on and on. It got so we avoided people who wanted to get rid of their starter. Everyone had made the cakes and didn't want anymore. I was left with my starter and started filling my freezer with Friendship Cakes, because I couldn't bear the thought of just tossing it out. I had an arts and crafts sale at my house on the first Sat. in Oct. every year. Well, this year I had something new to offer. A bakery table with cookies, breads, and you guessed it...Friendship Cakes. I had learned how to fill them with pineapple and cherries for a very moist delicious cake. I sold every one of those cakes. I'll put the recipe that I used here tomorrow, if anyone is interested.

Today is beautiful. Our town is having it's yearly celebration...Byron Fest. A carnival is set up downtown, food stands, music. craft sales, car show, a Gospel Sing Along and a parade. It's a fun time. Last night as Joe and I were out for a drive...I said to him, "Can you imagine all the kid's excitement about this carnival? Do you remember that feeling?" We have participated in the past, but we are staying home this year. We can hear the music from our house. I love to have the windows open and hear the music coming from downtown as I fall asleep. We continued on our drive along the Rock River to Oregon for ice cream. We drove the back way home... looking at all the beautiful crops that look like they are in perfect condition for a good harvest this year. I love the river drive and Joe likes looking at the farms. The view is outstanding from the road....miles and miles of corn and beans...as far as the eye can see. An Alpaca farm was an attraction last night. We stopped the car and watched about 35 Alpacas eating grass and the little ones romping around the penned in area. They are so cute and fun to watch. As we turned to go home...all eyes were on us. They had stopped eating and were looking toward the road. These simple pleasures are taking the sadness away from me. My family and I are doing well with our loss.We will never forget, but are learning to live happily again.We have so much to be thankful for.

Coming home, I thought how lucky we are to have such peaceful lives...I wish everyone did.


Melanie said...

I could really identify with your post today...I remember the friendship starter! I don't even remember who gave it to me many years ago, but I used to make quick breads and cakes out of it all the time. Great memories.

And then you finding simple joys once again since the loss of your son...as you know, unfortunately I can identify with this, too. It's been a lot longer for me (4 years in Sept.), so your grief is more raw, but I still so much appreciate when I can find the simple pleasures in a day. God bless you. xoxo

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this post. I know I've said that before..but..this was precious. It could have been me speaking of my Friendship cakes.
My starter was even carried on my lap across country when we moved from California to Florida during out last move by the Marine Corp.

My starter..how I cherished it.
Not only were cakes made from it but it went on top of ice cream..delicious! I would dearly love to have the recipe again and even my daughters have asked if I have it. I got my starter from a long lost neighbor and have no idea how to start it. I just remember adding the fruit and sugar. At least that is what I recall..

As far as our loss of Sandy goes..we are coping. I'm afraid I am having a struggle. I will be fine and then something will trigger it..and it's usually in the evening when I am no longer busy. I try hard to not fall apart because it stresses PH. It seems to come in waves..but when it happens I can hear her and I get a grip and go on. She would have wanted all of us to be alright. She worried about me.

These are not easy days and your time has not been as long as mine.
I just have trouble believing it sometimes..

I would love to have the recipe, Balisha.. :) I call you that in my comments..
Love and a big hug..

Judy said...

Friendship Cake? OHMYGOSH--I had forgotten how all of us had a jar of starter resting on the counter. Of course, you couldn't throw it out--it was a living thing!!! What was the more recent thing we used that had a starter--bread? I cannot remember. Glad you had a nice day--love driving out in the country and seeing how all the crops are doing. Coincidence--my hometown of Byron, MI, is also having a carnival and fun fair this week--parade with all the kids on their decorated bikes. Big time in my little town of 1,000 people.

Still Woods Farmhouse said...

Your post today brought back memories of a lovely, older woman in our church that pulled me aside during an ice cream social and asked me if I had a "starter". I wasn't quite sure what she was referring to and then she went on to tell me about her Friendship Cake starter! After the social, she insisted that we visit her so that she could give me a jar of starter. Within a month, Hurricane Katrina destroyed their beautiful riverside home and also destroyed my starter after weeks without electricity during a hot Mississippi August. I am going to have to find a starter somewhere! The book sounds like something I would like to read. I am sorry for the loss of your son and will continue to pray for you and your family.
Many blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Good morning Balisha ~ I've either read this book or another one about Friendship Cake. Those kinds of books are so delightful and uplifting.

I'd be interested in seeing the recipe.

It's not easy dealing with the loss of a loved one. May God's love continually surround and flow through you.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Balisha said...

Hello Melanie,
I haven't followed your blog long and didn't know about your son. It's the hardest thing, isn't it, losing a precious child? I'm told that the hurt never goes away, but that it does get easier.So many things remind me of him all through the day.It's just so hard. Thanks for commenting and telling me of your loss.

Balisha said...

Hi Mona,
I find that I am the same way as you. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of him...many times.It's made easier in a way to know other people who are going through the same thing. Your Sandy was such a beautiful girl and I know how she is missed.
Blogging helps me....I can write about other things and not dwell on my sorrow so much
Take care...Balisha.

Balisha said...

To Judy, Still Woods Farm House (sorry, I don't know your name), and Lorraine,
It seems like there are so many mamories connected with Friendship Cake. We all had the starter on our counters during that time. I'm going to post the recipe I used right now.

debra @ HOMESPUN said...

Beautiful post, Balisha :)

Zoey said...

Beautiful post, Balisha.

I remember the Friendship cake starter craze, though I never participated.

I am so glad the joy is returning to your everyday life.