New Recipe: Off The Beaten Path: Bring The Dessert

Ahem… Well, excuse me, but while you might not have heard about the little blue pill, have you heard about the little blue berry? You know that roundish, tender, provokingly sensually smooth ambrosia type fruit of the gods that “The Great British Baking Show” features folded into scones, baked into bagels, and blended into bread pudding? Not only does the blueberry taste good, but Newsweek acknowledged that blueberries are associated with increasing libido.

According to Jenny Desborough’s article 21 Foods That Will Increase Your Libido, the little blueberry’s ability to “turn up the heat” is accredited to nutrients, antioxidants such as flavanols and anthocyanin, which promote blood flow. Increased circulation is what helps execute the fruits of passion and promote intimacy. Remember that classic steamy erotic love theme from the movie “Bladerunner”? (Drop it in YouTube if you haven’t heard it!)

Alas, we digress…

When Catherine’s daughter was asked to bring the dessert to the dinner party she did not consult the internet but went straight to the wooden index card recipe box found in the kitchen of the family’s home 15 years prior when she and her siblings were dividing up possessions following her mom’s exit from the earth. As she opened the box, her inner voice said, “OK, Mom, show me what to bring to the party.” When she opened the lid, a worn folded piece of paper with blue ink handwriting on it that was not filed with the cards, but rather must have been laying on top of them, fell out.

Given the circumstances, and being a believer, she nodded and smiled as she looked at the paper and recognized the “Blueberry Cake from Norma” recipe title. This was one of those divine moments. One of those little miracles that come your way, provided you are open to seeing them. Clearly her mom had responded to her quest for culinary inspiration. Straight from the blessed beyond! A bit far out? Maybe for some, but for a believer? That’s just how it works. A sign, a show of love — a response from the other side of the veil.

Norma had been Catherine’s best friend and neighbor while they raised their kids together during the 1960s and ‘70s in the northwest burb, Des Plaines, Illinois. Like life in so many places across the country at the time, it was a pretty nice existence. Dads who had served their time in World War II were in the workforce, earning livings for their families and paying off homes that they were proud to have. Kids played kick-the-can, tag, Red Rover, and chased fireflies at night. Churches and schools flourished. There were family pets, neighborhood Christmas caroling, scavenger hunts, autumn leaf burnings, hopscotch chalk marks on the sidewalk, the 3:30 movie, and the National Anthem concluded TV programming before the screen went black.

Catherine and her husband had both been raised in Chicago, while Norma’s early life was on the family farm in South Dakota. Norma often talked, good and bad, about life on the farm. Having experienced several tornadoes and knowing how to read the sky, she was like the neighborhood’s walking barometer. When approaching weather systems made Norma nervous, everyone knew that it was time to take cover.

With a strong drive and desire to learn and experience the city, Norma and her sister, as young women, located in the Chicagoland area, where she soon met a serviceman, her future husband. After marrying and following the war, they purchased a single-family home in Des Plaines next to Catherine and her family. The two ladies conversed almost daily, over their backyard laundry lines, and shared lunch hours, energy, good times, bad times, sickness, health and years of friendship as their kids grew up and they, and their husbands, aged.

With food often the center of a happy, growing household, the two homemakers (they didn’t mind being called that) often exchanged recipes, many becoming favorites in the other’s household. The following is straight from the South Dakota family farm. Pure and simple, it’s a keeper and the dessert that Catherine obviously wanted her daughter to take to the dinner party:

Blueberry Cake from Norma

1 stick of butter

1 1/4 C. Flour

1/3 C. Sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 box blueberries

1 lemon

Cut one stick of butter with a fork into flour as if to make pie crust. Add salt and 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon rind. Add one egg yolk and mix. Press into a buttered 9 inch cake pan. Set aside.

Mix one box of rinsed blueberries with sugar. Fold in one egg white beaten stiff. (No excuses if you don’t have an electric mixer: Many culinary artists, including Julia Child, who happened to be a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the US intelligence agency during World War II, predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), profess to having used two forks to beat egg white stiff.) Spread blueberry mixture over crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes until browned. Slice and serve topped with ice cream or whipped creme or just plain. It’s like shortbread topped with berries! It is the berries!

Alas, back to the future…

So this little blueberry, so wholesome, pure and simple, is not only great tasting, but is nature’s Viagra, and, apparently, a great way to turn up the heat! Bon appetit!

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