Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dillard Moment

I just finished a wonderful book by Annie Dillard -- sitting in my quiet house with, finally, a few moments to spare after a crazy crazy busy few days -- and want to wallow in it a while longer. Yes, I cried all through the last chapter.

But also, as I was trying to keep up with life's treadmill yesterday, including working my way through said Annie Dillard book for the book club it was my turn to host that night, I found something and had a wonderful moment of pause.

Free egg for Sage

it has salt” 

on a sticky note

in Lucy's handwriting

(the egg in question had been peeled and salted by Nora, who didn’t want it after one bite)

but somehow their love for each other and my love for them suddenly overwhelms me as I’m cleaning and pick that bitty paper up off the counter

Fisherman's Wharf in Provincetown MA, the real-life setting of The Maytrees

And lastly, I had a successful coincidence as well last night. My oven was unexpectedly out of commission, so my gingerbread (which is really originally cake, most people don't know that) had to bake somewhere else. I put half the batch in a square pan in the toaster oven, and half the batch into my giant crock pot for 2 hours. I thought neither would work, especially because I had tweaked the recipe very unscientifically in a panic, but both did! So that was my success. 
But what makes it a coincidence, is that I decided ages ago to serve gingerbread and lemon sauce when it was my turn for book club. Then just the night before, on page exactly 100 of the book, I read:

"Deary baked gingerbread in square pans and steamed for it a translucent lemon sauce."

In honor of that, here's my recipe:


2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. water
1 c. molasses
3 1/2 c. flour (all-purpose or cake)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. ginger

Cream the butter, add the sugar, and beat until light. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine molasses and water. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add alternately to creamed ingredients, beating well after each addition. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350ยบ for 35-45 minutes; or, put into greased 6-qt. crock pot and bake on high for 2 1/2 hours or so. A toothpick should come out clean.

And of course I -- and Annie Dillard -- know that lemon sauce (and some whipped cream) is the true mate for tall, tenderly moist, fresh-baked gingerbread:


1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 c. boiling water
4 T. butter
1/2 c. lemon juice
pinch of salt
grated lemon rind (optional)
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Add the boiling water, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter, lemon juice and rind, and salt. Serve warm.

1 comment:

  1. Just wow. Thank you for sharing this sweet post and the recipes.