Holiday Cooking Moments

The Cake That Never Got Baked!

cake batter in tube pan

During one thanksgiving holiday when I was learning to adjust to my vision loss, I decided to bake one of my favorite holiday cakes to take to my cousin’s for thanksgiving dinner. It was somewhat costly, calling for lots of dates, raisins, and walnuts, but the preparation was fairly simple. The recipe created a rather large cake, so I decided to use my grandmother’s antique tube pan. The pan had a removable center which made it easy to lift the finished cake from the pan instead of attempting to flip it over onto a cake plate.

The preparation process went smoothly, giving me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I set the pan on the top of the stove to make it easy to put into the oven. Then I carefully poured the batter into the pan. When I lifted the pan to put it in the oven, I found cake batter all over the stove. The pan was sitting on a burner that raised the removable center just enough to let the batter seep out all around the edges. Not only did I have a mess to clean up but I had no cake to take for dinner. Perhaps this is the reason I’ve been so adamant with my rehabilitation students to never set anything on the stove except a cooking pot!

The R-rated Turkey

turkey browned in the oven

Year’s ago, when I worked for the Texas Commission for the Blind, the agency produced a monthly television program as a way to inform the public about blindness. Each program would appear several times throughout the month on the education channel. Every month I appeared in a two minute segment of the show called Tips for Daily Living with Lynda Jones. Over the years topics included sports and recreation, shopping, braille, and transportation. Every segment began with an eye-catching visual. For example, the transportation segment began with me pulling up in a sports car and hopping out using my long cane. Of course, it was done with trick photography but it fooled a few people.

One year for thanksgiving I demonstrated my family’s special way of cooking a turkey. The secret to the technique is a brown-paper grocery bag oiled thoroughly from the inside. The eye-catcher for this segment showed me ripping open the bag with flare revealing a golden brown roasted turkey! The remaining minute and fifty seconds showed me demonstrating how to oil the bag, place the turkey in the bag, seal the bag shut, and pop the turkey into the oven.

The morning after the first airing of the segment the agency’s legal and legislative adviser rushed into our office telling us that the segment was too dangerous and had to be pulled. “What if someone catches their oven on fire trying that and sues us!” he declared. Well, I’ve been preparing R-rated turkeys now for more than thirty years and I’ve never caught the bag on fire yet! But I am ready!

fire extinguisher

Moral of the Story

Moral of the story, it is important to follow safe cooking techniques when you are preparing meals, including when you using old family recipes!