“Faster than a speeding bullet!” That’s how I feel time is passing. What a year 2017 has been! I shared with you my diagnosis of breast cancer last year. The beginning of 2016 was a time of fear, challenge and perseverance. However, in November 2016, I felt well enough to help out at the bakery. My job was to do whatever the president (my daughter Mona), asked me to do. Mona readily admits that the only reason she is president is because she is the bossiest child. (I can attest to that!) Feeling energized again was like seeing a rainbow after a storm, full of promise that there would be a tomorrow. I have always been grateful for my good health, but after my diagnosis, I was even more thankful. Each new day is a blessing. Thank you for your cards and your well wishes during my recovery. They meant so much to me. We have always considered our customers to be a part of our family. You reinforced that feeling with your love and concern. In January 2017, I was pronounced “cancer free.” So this has been a wonderful year! (I guess I better prepare myself to bossed around even more this year by Mona. She admitted that she did go easy on me last year.)
In 2017, Travis and I turned 85 and celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary. We still delight in each other’s company and in sharing projects. He plants the garden and I “put it up.” I plant the flowers, he mows the yard. I cook and he cleans up. You get the picture – it’s a partnership. Travis was my first and only boyfriend. My granddaughter, Madison, loves the picture of Travis and me kissing (see right), taken before we were married. It captures a sweet moment in 1950. Because I was such a good basketball player, I was actually “recruited” from high school to work in the mill at Hanes Hosiery, (no relation) and play on their basketball team. (Of course, this was long before I had children or started the cookie business!) My high school won the championship game and this photo appeared on the front page of the Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel with the caption, “All this and Victory, too.” My victory over cancer this year gives this phrase an entirely new meaning. In fact, this sums up my life, except maybe I would say, “All this and happiness, too!” It’s been a grand 65 years (and yes, I am still dang good at basketball!).
Besides basketball, I also “practice” cooking for my family and our friends. Most Saturdays, you will find at least 22 people sitting at my family table. I have been fortunate that my four children have remained close to home. Three of my children live on our family farm, and one of them lives just 15 minutes away. Our houses surround the bakery, located in the middle of the old cow pasture. (Smells a lot better now!) One of my greatest joys is sharing our weekly meal together. It’s a wild time with children, grandchildren and friends, laughing and talking together. Like any family we do have our occasional disagreements, but bottom line, we honestly love and find great pleasure each other’s company.
Husband Travis still carves walking sticks in his “Whittler on the Roof” studio. He displays and sells his canes at our bakery and has quite a following! Travis has no plans to retire from this hobby. As he explains it, “I’m not ready to lay down my knife just yet.” (Yes, those were his exact words, lol.)
My two oldest grandchildren, Jedidiah & Madison Templin, are the only family members who live out of state. Madison practices law in Chicago. She does not get to visit often, but before she comes home, she calls me to make sure I am cooking that weekend. Madison was unable to make it to our family reunion last year or be in our family picture. But not to worry! Brother Jed enlarged a photo of Madison’s head, and, like the adventures of “Flat Stanley,” “Flat Madison” appeared in all our 2017 festivities. However, as Madison was quick to remind us, “It’s not the same as being there.” This year, she wisely planned her vacation around the family picture.
Grandson Jed spent the year teaching and pursuing his masters at the University of Kansas. Although he benefitted greatly from his experience, he has decided to continue his learning locally AND take his Uncle Mike’s place at the bakery. I am both proud and encouraged that another generation is interested in continuing our family business. Mona exclaimed, “Finally! We have someone who knows a lot about technology!” Mike danced a jig at the news because he hopes to turn over part of his mixing job to Jed. My youngest grandchildren also have bakery responsibilities. Five-year old twins Lucy and Norian are now our official “Cookie Tasters.” Despite their increased responsibilities of kindergarten, they assure us they can continue their vigilant “Quality Control” over our cookies.
In closing, I again include some of my favorite recipes. Folks seem to appreciate this addition to my family letter. This year it is all about sweets! One of my side effects from chemo was that I lost my taste for sweets. Well, my taste buds have been found! Here are recipes for Moravian Sugar Cake, my favorite Pound Cake, Pumpkin Dip (great with our Ginger cookies) and Mona’s favorite, Pecan Pie (or tarts). All recipes can be found in my cookbook “Suppers at Six and We’re Not Waiting.”
1 c. white corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 tsp. salt
1 heaping c. pecans, finely chopped
1/3 c. (5 Tbs) butter, melted
9″ unbaked reg. pie shell (or 15 tart shells)
Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter (I use real butter) and vanilla. Mix in slightly beaten eggs. Pour in pie shell and sprinkle pecans over filling. Bake at 350° about 45 min. If you use tarts, they won’t take as long to bake, so watch carefully; I use store-bought tart shells. If recipe is doubled, it will make 30 tarts – bake tarts for 25 to 30 min.
Sunkist Pound Cake
1/2 lb butter, room temp 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. shortening 1 tsp orange flavoring
3 c. sugar 1 (8 oz) Sunkist
5 lg eggs (mix 1 at a time)
3 c. plain flour, unsifted (alternate adding w/Sunkist)
Optional: 1 orange, grated (add half to cake batter and half to icing)
Mix in order listed. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 hours in a greased, floured tube pan.
Icing: 1 box powdered sugar
1 stick margarine
1 (3-1/2 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 tsp Sunkist or orange flavoring
Mix, adding more liquid if needed; apply to cake.
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
2 c. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Blend the powdered sugar and cream cheese together. Then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Serve with Mrs. Hanes’ Moravian Ginger Crisp.
Moravian Sugar Cake
1 c. mashed potatoes (can be instant) 3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. shortening 3 eggs 1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg 2 pkg yeast 7 c. flour
3 c. brown sugar 1 tsp cinnamon 1-1/2 sticks butter
Mix together potatoes, sugar, shortening, eggs, salt and nutmeg.
Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water and mix well. Sift in flour and knead until smooth, adding flour as needed. Place in greased bowl and let rise. Punch down and let rise again. Then spread on two greased 8″ x 10″ sheets. Let rise. Take index finger and punch holes over dough about every 3″. Spread brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter generously over dough. Bake at 400° until light brown.
Enjoy the recipes and enjoy life! Gather around your family table and
make some sweet memories! Until next year