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LET’S COOK: This one is ‘it’

By Staff | Nov 10, 2017

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 Don’t fall for the common thought that “napkin rings are out of date.”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!

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