About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Soup, Cornbread & Coca Cola Cake

(Our host for this week's Fun Monday, M the Misanthrope ,has handed us a proverbial piece of cake with this week's assignment. She wants us to describe our all-time guilt free main course and dessert. What glorious food would we love to eat at any time without worrying about calories, fat grams, cholesterol, carbs or points--or whatever our most important dietary measure may be? Well, great minds! Last week I had actually made my favorite main course, and as I tucked the leftovers away in the fridge was thinking that if I had to choose one food to eat all the time, it would be this one.)

Main Course--Summer Vegetable Soup with Cornbread

I've written frequently about the huge vegetable gardens my family raised when I was growing up. We needed to grow enough vegetables to feed the family from early spring through the fall with enough left over to can and freeze for the winter. By mid-summer our garden would be bursting with tomatoes, green beans,cabbage, corn, carrots, potatoes, green and hot peppers, and peas. Time to get out the biggest pot--usually a canner--and make Garden Vegetable Soup. This was not fancy food. My mother would just chop up all these vegetables at one time and fill the pot with water and let everything simmer together for several hours. No meat, broth, herbs or spices were needed. What she ended up with was pure vegetable essence in a bowl.

In the south the side for vegetable soup has to be cornbread. It must be made from a coarse ground white cornmeal, buttermilk and bacon grease. Absolutely no eggs or sugar went into our version of the southern bread. The cornbread had to be baked in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet so that you'd get this deep brown crust and the "pone" could be turned out on a plate. The plate was passed around and everyone broke off a piece of southern deliciousness--no cut wedges at our table.

Dessert--Southern Coca Cola Cake

My recipe for this southern classic is written on a blue spattered index card and I've used the same recipe for over 40 years. You'll find the recipe in most of the church, women's and homemaker's cookbooks that are common in the south. It is much loved for its simple ingredients, ease of preparation, moist texture. But it's the frosting that keeps the fans coming! Think crackly soft chocolate fudge bumpy with pecans and coconut, poured over the cake while still warm. The star ingredient is Coca Cola in both the cake and frosting, the southern classic drink invented by an Atlanta druggist in 1886.

Here's the recipe: Coca Cola Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 pan with butter, dust lightly with cocoa powder.
2. Combine 2 C flour, 2 C sugar
3. Heat to boiling: 2 sticks butter, 3 T cocoa, 1 C coca cola
4. Pour over dry ingredients
5. Add 1/2 C buttermilk, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp. soda, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1&1/2 C miniature marshmallows.
6. Bake for 45-50 min. Cool slightly and frost.

1. Heat to boiling: 1 stick butter, 1-2 T cocoa, 6 T Cola
2. Pour over 1 box confectioner's sugar. Beat until smooth.
3. Add: 1/2 C coconut, 1/2 C chopped pecans, 1 tsp. vanilla
4. Pour over cake. Frosting will set as it cools.

So, there you have it, Ms. M. Garden Vegetable Soup, Cornbread and Coca Cola Cake would be my dream guilt free menu any time of the year. And, I just have to mention this. All my dogs LOVE vegetable soup, too. They enjoy theirs over dry kibble, not with cornbread! Now scoot over to The Misanthrope's place to find out what everyone else craves.

(Photo credits: all from google. The cake is from Road Food.)


Janis said...

Hi Faye, you are an early bird for sure. Your garden vegetable soup is right up our alley, my hubs n I both love soup. Cornbread is another one of my favorites. The Coca cola cake sounds sinfully delicious. Jer would be a happy,happy man if I made that one. You know what....I just may! Thanks for the recipe.

Sayre said...

That sounds WONDERFUL! I love a good soup, but rarely get to enjoy one. Except in winter. I dont' do soup in the summer because it's just too hot. I remember cornbread like that. Sounds similar to our hushpuppies too.

And Coca-Cola cake has many variations - kind of like the 7up cake. Yours sounds great (except the coconut - I'm allergic to that).


Hootin' Anni said...

Oh my oh my....that cake! Be still my heart. My husband would LOVE that cornbread...with bacon grease...whoa!!!

My Fun Monday is posted. Come on over....love to have you stop by for a slice of MINE. LOL

m (the misanthrope) said...

Wow!! Now there is some comfort food! Mmmm, I love cornbread. Your soup reminds me of the delicious barley-vegetable soup that my mom used to make. And Coca Cola Cake? Wow, I had never heard of that - it sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing and for the recipes!!

Lil Mouse said...

There have been some murmurings around here (IL) about taxing people's produce out of their gardens. I haven't gotten the full scoop about it yet, not even sure if its nationwide or just the state, but I do know they're also thinking of taxing a dairy cow $175, because of 'carbon' emissions. Cow's methane emissions makes up less than 5 percent, I think its more like 2 percent of the national emissions of greenhouse gas, and yet they're not taxing people for owning hummers or trucks instead of hybrid cars. if you have anything to say about that, I'd love to hear it. meeces.pieces@gmail.com oh and I love the fact that you had just vegetable soup. ours usually had roast beef in it. yummy. I love having soup and a sandwich, espcially in the fall.

ChrisB said...

I love soup so I know I would love your veg soup. Sorry to say I've never has the pleasure of trying corn bread.
The Cocoa-Cola cake looks wonderful ( going to copy the recipe).

Debs said...

That vegetable soup sounds so tasty, I could fancy some now.

I've always wanted to try cornbread, I'm sure it's delicious. I really must do so.

The Church Lady said...

Oh my, Faye - your post has me drooling for sure! I love fresh garden veggie soup and cornbread too! We just had cornbread last night for dinner. And, thanks for sharing your recipe for the Coca-Cola cake. It looks scrumptious!

KittyHawk said...

I'm having vegetable soup for supper tonight.

Mariposa said...

My heart skip when I read Coca Cola! Oh my...and I'm going to try this recipe this week!!!

Thanks for sharing...

Sandy said...

oooh, coca cola cake. Guess what we're having for dessert this weekend? Thanks for posting the recipe.

Lane said...

I think you've got your readers drooling Faye - this one included.
I've never really understood what cornbread is. Now I do and it sounds delicious.
Also, can you tell me exactly what grits are. I saw an American woman the other day with something like 'Southern Grits Gal' on her t-shirt. Got me wondering...

Faye said...

janis--coca cola cake is great to take out for pot lucks, picnics, etc. but go ahead, make Jer a big ole cake that he doesn't have to share. This reminds me of a friend who always said if he spotted anything delicious being cooked up in the kitchen, he knew it was going out of the house!

sayre--never too hot for vegetable soup! I also have the recipe for
7-up cake--on the same blue index cards.

hootin anni--yep, remember the days when it was okay to save bacon grease for cooking? Probably doesn't fit in with the illness prevention measures in the new health care proposals? :-)

misanthrope--cornbread is tops on the bread food chain.

lil mouse--I used to work for an agricultural organization and it took very little to get these farmers going about the possibility of taxing methane "emissions" from their cows and the effects on the environment. I also recently read about a retired couple who had to quite gardening--even to having a caged tomato plant--because it violated the neighborhood beauty police rules. Total nonsense!

chrisb--if you ever get to visit the southern U.S., be sure to sample some cornbread. I can't think of an English bread that's comparable.

debs--some vegetable soup in the fridge would be a great boon on days when the writing is going well and you don't want to stop to cook dinner.

church lady--we made "end of the garden" vegetable soup which was just as the name implies--anything left in the garden in late August or September. This soup was also canned for the winter.

kittyhawk--i hope you used your biggest pot--that's the rule, you know.

mariposa--it's not pina colada cake, but coca cola cake is pretty fine when you need a chocolate fix.

sandy--you'll have a happy family if you do make coca cola cake this weekend. Give me a review.

lane--think polenta. Grits are ground dry corn that's cooked with milk or cream to make this silky side dish for breakfast or dinner. The t-shirt that you saw with "Southern Grits Girl" is more about attitude. If you're a southern girl/woman and pack a lot of attitude you qualify to be a Grits Girl. If so, you may not hesitate to tell someone who annoys you to "Kiss your grits!"

Ari_1965 said...

Buddha doesn't care for veggies, but my last dog, Roddy McDowall, would have scarfed down your vegetable soup. And why not? It sounds delicious. I love good cornbread, but I've rarely had it. Most cornbread you get around here is just sort of there, if you know what I mean.

Faye said...

ari--Roddy Mcdowall? Your dogs' names crack me up! When I was a four dog family they all self fed out of a common bowl whenever the urge would strike. Surprisingly, no fights since it was just dry kibble. They had a kind of alpha thing going--bossiest ate first and the others just lay patiently in the kitchen waiting until the eater walked away from the bowl. NOT so when they got vegetable soup--had to be four bowls in different parts of the house--there would have been blood-letting over soup.

Pamela said...

the dessert would keep me up all night. My mom made veg. stew, also. BUT, she'd cream it right at the end of the cooking -- and it was every so tasty. No meat or meat broth either.

Gay, Married, with Cat said...

I've never heard of Coca Cola cake, but I'm going to try it!

Hope you are doing well. Just stopping by to see what is going on with you. Have a good summer!