Cake and cookbooks

May 3, 2007

My in-laws stopped by this week, on their way home after visiting Erin’s brother in Charlotte, and to celebrate the birthday of Erin’s father, her mother brought along her angel food cake pan and a seasoned cookbook with the famous Shaughnessy family recipe for lemon sponge cake.

This cake has been the Shaughnessy birthday cake for more than 50 years; I was introduced to it soon after I started dating Erin more than 15 years ago. The first time I tried it, I voiced my distaste for it — “So many eggs,” I said — and I’ve been needled for that indiscretion ever since.

This year, my tastes matured and evolved, I took two slices, with ice cream both times. Still eggy and spongey, but certainly delicious.

IMG_3274 Lemon Sponge Cake Famous cake IMG_3265

With butter-cream frosting speckling our lips and with Joanne holding the cherished recipe, we chatted about old church-guild cookbooks. “You know that the recipes in these cookbooks have to be good,” said Joanne. No one would put a bad recipe into a cookbook that would be used by everyone else in the community.

I decided on the spot to try this summer to collect at least 20 such cookbooks. Look for me rummaging in the book piles at neighborhood yard sales.

Anton Zuiker

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