Saturday, February 26, 2011



While I was waiting for my sister and her husband to take care of some tax business with H&R Block, I wandered down to The Country Creamery on the main street of Blountstown. I immediately spotted the delectable delight I would select to be my companion as I got into my book while I waited: red velvet cake topped with cheese cake. I’ve been watching a lot cookery shows this week, especially enjoying the cake shows, and it looks like red velvet is a current favourite flavour across the US. My Grandmother Hatcher, who passed away on Valentine's Day, used to make the most amazing red velvet cakes. Topped with a cream cheese icing, dessert at her house was a delicious heaven.

'Red velvet cake' was recently introduced to the Uganda market by New York Kitchen. Even the local Piggly Wiggly sometimes gets it wrong. It takes more than adding red food colouring to cake batter to make a red velvet cake. What flavour is red velvet? For those who are unfamiliar with a red velvet cake, it’s actually a rich chocolate cake. The original recipe called for an unprocessed cocoa that acquired a red colouring through a chemical reaction with the acid of buttermilk. You can still find the unprocessed cocoa at specialty stores, but the recipe has evolved to include the more common cocoa, vinegar and red food colouring. Cocoa is an essential ingredient for a cake to be a red velvet cake. Without it, it’s just a regular cake coloured red. On DC Cupcakes yesterday, someone set the mixer too high, and when Katherine began mixing the red velvet batter, it sent up a cloud of cocoa that rained back down on her white baker’s coat.

The red velvet cake at The Country Creamery was phenomenal! While I was devouring (trying to read as well, but the cake ended up being a distraction), a woman came in inquiring about the antique shop next door. Somehow the names Minnie and Rachael came up in their conversation. Now this is a pretty rural area with a small population, and I quickly came to the conclusion that the Minnie and Rachael that were being referred to were two cousins of mine that I’d not seen in years… if not decades.

Melissa and Mario finished their business at H&R Block, and they joined me on my visit to the next-door antique shop. Minnie was packing plates that had just been purchased into a box and Rachael was assisting a customer. I introduced myself, and thus began a catching-up cram session. Sadly, much of the conversation focused on people who had recently died or were currently not well—a side effect of aging. The woman who bought the plates left, and in walked another customer. While the guy perused the wares, we continued talking about such delightful topics as Crohn’s disease. Rachael broke away from the conversation, and offered assistance to the ignored customer, explaining that a small family reunion was going on. Well, the family reunion took a new direction when we realised that the customer was Wesley and was family too. I would not have known who he was if Melissa had not been there to recognise him. Can you see how close my family is? But we do enjoy seeing each other when we do it by chance... At the gas station... In the shopping mall... At Wal-Mart (I saw Steven there two nights ago)... At the dollar store... In antique shops...

There are dangers of mixing family with business, but our little reunion resulted in the sale of a set of antique dishes, depression glass tumblers, and a canvas of one of Minnie’s fractal art designs.

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