Monthly Archives: January 2014

Cock-Eyed Cake, Fried Egg Sandwiches and Other Comforts

The truck started at first try this morning. In fact, it took Chuck longer to pile on the clothing he needed to venture out into the driveway than it did for that trusty battery to kick in. Not bad in a -39 wind-chill and I am suitably grateful. He has to go in to work today. I do not. Wool socks on my feet, layered in comfy clothing, I plan to read, catch up on a movie or two, and drink enough tea and latte to float a battleship. Comforting thoughts. Like a fried egg sandwich with some shredded cheddar on top for breakfast…something familiar from childhood and easy for me to make and savor.
Certain foods mean “comfort” to us, and with good reason. These savories or sweets are linked forever in our minds with happy thoughts and memories of a time when we didn’t have to deal with wind chills or truck batteries or getting to work because “you have to, you’re a grown-up”. When we had a cold, chicken soup meant we would feel better. Campbell’s tomato soup and grilled cheese meant we’d get to “dunk” our sandwich into the hot steaming liquid and not get reprimanded. (Kind of like dunking cookies, right?) Mac and cheese meant, well, pick a memory. For me it’s wintertime lunch after being outside. These days, I pair it with a hunk or two of French bread with butter. Nothing better. It’s no coincidence that most of these dishes are served warm. Warmth=comfort in so many ways…hugs, snuggles, all warm and all positive. Soft plushy toys, warm sweaters and scarves…everyone has a favorite. Being who we are, we connect these things…good food, good times, love, comfort, no worries. We seek them out and embrace them.
This brings me briefly to that Cock-Eyed Cake reference. Once upon a long time ago, a newly married me discovered Peg Bracken’s “I Hate to Cookbook” and “I Hate to Housekeep” books. Ms. Bracken nailed it for me with her philosophy that there is more to married life than cooking, cleaning, and generally wearing an apron ala Donna Reed. Her books were full of humor, helpful hints and, in the case of the cookbook, some recipes I remember to this day. Enter the “Cock-Eyed Cake”.
This cake is so simple to make, and so good, that I never thought I’d forget how. But I did. It makes enough for nine generous squares, doesn’t need frosting…although Chuck insists on it…and can actually be mixed IN the 9×9 pan. My Bracken books are long disappeared into some storage box…or loaned to someone who forgot to give them back…but I found the original on the internet. Of course I made it. It’s as good as I remember. Moist, cocoa-y, and just right with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Or milk. Chuck ate it without frosting…and no complaints. I got my fair share as well. Comfort food. Yum.
And so for me today’s plan includes “comfort” as much as possible. I have to venture out into the snowy cold tomorrow to head to work but today is for warmth and ease and dinner in the crock pot. I may yet get Mae off that park bench, but she’s enjoying the sun even as she meets someone who will set her on a new adventure while she searches for her brother. I plan to stay toasty warm. You do the same.

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