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LET'S COOK: This one is ‘it’

November 10, 2017
Chuck Repnow , Pierce County Tribune

By now you know that vintage is a nearby friend of mine. Recently I watched a vintage black and white movie, "It," which starred the wonderful Clara Bow. Bow was a silent film actress who made the successfully transition to "talkies" in the late twenties. Her performance in the movie as a gutsy shop girl brought her global fame and the nickname "The It Girl." Her fetching charms and matchlessness had men at her feet. Her adaptation from silent movies to talkies was successful because she knew what to bring along from her earlier background. She did not ditch the heritage of her silent movie years because something new and better was coming along; rather, she took the angle of combining the new with the old.

Have you noticed how many treasured items vanish from our daily lives? Consider typewriters- who didn't love the raised impression of the letters on linen stationery? What about monogramed napkin rings, impressive chrome toasters, wood paneled telephone booths, paper maps, well, you catch the drift. We must endeavor to be a tad more like Clara Bow and become better at combining the old with the new. Skilled is the soul who masters this opportunity. Bless the one who translates grandma's chipped everyday dishes into creative garden art, thus allowing her memory to bloom.

Things will and often do go wrong in life, but having an eye-catching napkin ring at your side can be a good defense. Earnestly, the comfort that one experiences as the ring is slipped from the cloth damask napkin is not to be overlooked. It is a moment of accomplishment and one that you so deserve in a world filled with daily bumps. You may have backed into the neighbor's car this morning, maybe you forgot to unhook your garden hose from the house faucet before freezing time. Well, not to worry. This is one of life's finer delights that you would have to work hard at to mess up. I admit it is a minor triumph but one that can cheer you on in the daily grind of life. Don't fall for the common thought that "napkin rings are out of date." Rather look at them as your lifesaver!

With Thanksgiving soon to be at our doorstep, I started thinking about what would be a heritage dessert to bring for those who are not fans of the traditional pumpkin pie. My thoughts trailed back to my days in Massachusetts where I enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal that featured pumpkin and apple pies. However, elevated in the corner of the buffet was an undeniably simple cake and the scent of orange was all about it. I was soon made aware that it was a Williamsburg Orange Cake, created from a New England heritage recipe.

This brings us back to Clara Bow-now you know-the Hollywood "It Girl" not only for beauty and charm, but her angle at linking past and future. This Williamsburg Orange Cake is "It." Once you have tasted this cake you will understand why it has survived the silent movies, wood cook stoves, the Charleston, Elvis and even carbon paper. This is a cake recipe to share with future generations so they too can enjoy it-preferably with lovely napkin rings. Happy Thanksgiving!

Fact Box

Williamsburg Orange Cake

This is truly an easy cake to make and one that you can dress up or dress down. It can be made either in a two 9x1 inch round baking pans or 9x13x2 inch baking pan.

- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 1 cups sugar

- 2 teaspoons baking powder

- 2 teaspoons soda

- teaspoon salt

- 1 cups buttermilk

- cup butter, softened

- cup shortening

- 3 eggs

- 1 teaspoon vanilla

- 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel

- teaspoon cinnamon

- 1 cup golden raisins

- cup chopped nuts

Grease and flour pan or pans of choice.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add buttermilk, butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium to high speed for 3 minutes more, scraping side of bowl. Fold in orange peel, cinnamon, raisins, and chopped nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 40 minutes for a 13x9-inch pan (or 25 to30 minutes for round pans) or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool the 13x9-inchcake in pan on a wire rack. (Cool the round cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layer cakes from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.) Frost with Orange Butter Frosting.

Orange Butter Frosting-In a medium bowl, beat cup butter until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of sifted powdered, sugar, beating well. Beat in 4 to 5 tablespoons orange juice. Gradually add 3 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating until mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. Stir in 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel.



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