I got so many useful comments from the community on my cookie dilemma entry that I figure it's time to throw out another mystery for your consideration….
(Bonus lesson: do NOT refresh your blog entry while previewing it, or it is gone Gone GONE forever! Sigh.)
My wonderful Mom (God bless her) has never been as good a cook as my dear, departed Dad was. When I was a kid, it seemed like she only took to the kitchen for birthdays and other special
occasions, where she would whip up her one real specialty: 1-2-3-4 cake. It's a basic yellow pound cake, apparently dating to the Depression era, but I remember it
being absolutely scrumptious when I was a kid. There are plenty of pictures of kiddie me and my adorable little sister blowing out birthday candles on top of one of Mom’s 1-2-3-4 cakes.
The base and the source of the recipe’s name are simple: 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, 4 eggs. And some other stuff.
This year, with Mom's 82nd birthday coming up, I thought I'd whip up a good ol' 1-2-3-4 cake to surprise her. Her memory of the "other stuff" is a little shaky, so naturally I did an AllRecipes
search. After figuring out that you have to write out "one," "two," etc. or the search engine gets confused, I found 4 (er, I mean four) versions. To be sure I’d get it right for Mom’s birthday cake, I thought I'd pick one and give it a dry run....
And that’s what it was -- dry. The four recipes are all very similar, so I suspect the results will be the same if/when I try out the other versions. Dry, very bland and not at all magical
like I remember it.
It can’t just be because the secret ingredient in Mom’s birthday cakes all those years ago was LOVE – trust me, I put that in, too. But what else? Is butter (basic supermarket sticks,
then and now) somehow churned differently? Are 21st century hens laying inferior eggs? Is sugar now not the sugar of 40 years ago?
Or is it just that – like roller skating on concrete sidewalks, my big solo in the sixth grade choir recital, the albums of the Partridge Family, and that groovy pink sundress I wore every
single day one summer – some things will just never seem as good when you’re a grown-up as they did when you were a kid?
I look forward to the wisdom of my fellow aspiring kitchen wizards. What are the magical recipes or moments of your childhood that you just can't seem to replicate as an adult? And what
the heck am I doing wrong with my 1-2-3-4 cake?
(Oh, and if your own Mom is still around, no matter how great or terrible her cooking skills, please give her a hug for me.)