Nice Area, Nice People, Viscious Luncheon

This post came about due to becoming acquainted with J. K. Bevill at Lost Creek Publishing (http://lostcreekpublishing.wordpress.com).  He is from Jasper, Alabama.  Please go visit him!  Excellent photographer and blog poster of Charlie and Yvonne’s Gospel Show featuring Cookie Lee of world reknown.

Years ago, I visited the Jasper/Townley/Cullman area because of my roommate the first year I was in university. Her father was a minister and ended up going from Nashville, Tennessee to Cullman, Alabama. I went home with her several times and developed a fondness for the area including two restaurants: Victoria’s and Hickoryland BBQ.

I thought this post would be  a fitting addendum to a story that began years ago. Now I must warn you, as a Southerner, there is no such thing as a short story. Eventually, you will come to the reason for the title of this blog, along with a little color, and a retro recipe that is part of the story.  Just hang in there.

Along with other happy coincidences, my two aunts lived in Nashville at the time and attended the church my roomie’s father pastored. They just loved him and his wife and a few weeks after they left, my aunts gave them a call. Happy to hear familiar voices, the pastor and wife invited them to come visit some Saturday because it really was a nice area with nice people. It came about my aunts did their visit the next Saturday.

When they arrived in Cullman, they were told a member of the new church had invited the minister and wife to luncheon that same day but became excited to invite additional visitors from Nashville.  So, my aunts, my aunt’s husband, pastor and wife went to luncheon.

Imagine: A dining room of lovely mahogany furniture set with delicate old china, savory odors from the kitchen, everyone all gussied up and on their best behavior. The men quickly began to talk about golf while the ladies went into the well manicured yard to look at several prize rose bushes. Soon, it was time to go into luncheon.

As a sidebar here: In the South, lunch is often call Dinner – y’all come for Sunday Dinner. It’s just a pickup kinda Dinner but our first tomatoes are in….you get the picture. In this case, it was called luncheon.

Everyone then sat down in that calm dining room, fragrant with food, gardenias, and Youth Dew perfume. When I asked my aunt about this a few weeks ago, she recalled the menu: delicate homemade yeast rolls filled with thin sliced country ham, potato salad, small crustless pimiento cheese and chicken salad sandwiches, sliced tomatoes (first of the summer!), fruit salad, tall crystal glasses filled with sweet tea and garnished with lemon and mint from the garden.

When everyone had eaten all they felt was courteous to eat, the hostess announced, “We are having a special cake. One of the ladies in my circle brought this to our last meeting and it is delicious.  It’s called Watergate Cake with Cover-up frosting.” she then brought in this light white cake frosted with delicate green cool whippy frosting and garnished with chopped pecans. It was at that point, all hell broke loose.

After making a clever (he thought)remark about politicians, the husband began to rant about the crooks running for office, how they were bleeding folks dry, blah blah blah, especially the latest Carpetbagger that was running for office.

The wife, embarrassed, tried to put it aside but the husband persisted. Within a few moments, husband and wife began shouting at each other, calling each other names, accusing each other of being easily duped idiots; on and on. Folks around the table sat in silence, eyeing each other and sipping tea. Finally, the minister was able to interject a word about the cake. Cake and coffee was mercifully served. Oooos and ahhhhs ensued. My aunt asked for the recipe. After neatly writing on a recipe card, the hostess asked if anyone else needed anything else (only to leave) and the visitors made their escape.

The verdict by my aunt after all those years: Nice area, nice people, vicious luncheon….good cake. I agree. it is a good cake for the summer: cool, light, a pretty green (or not as you choose). The original recipe called for 7-Up. I use club soda or regular water and fix in a 9×13 baking pan. I let the frosted cake chill in the fridge before serving. Eat quickly or within a couple of days.

I have seen various versions of this cake. This is THE recipe given to my aunt. Y’all enjoy and please behave yourselves when you serve it.  I don’t know the origins of this recipe.

Watergate Cake with Cover-up Frosting
1 regular size package white cake mix
1 package (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Optional and fun: drop or two of green cake coloring
Frosting:
1 (3 3/4 oz.) package pistachio-flavored instant pudding mix
1/2 cup milk
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Instructions Cake: Combine all ingredients in large mixer bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and frost.

Frosting: COMBINE pudding mix and milk in medium bowl. Beat at medium speed 1 minute. Fold in whipped topping. Remove 1 cup frosting; combine with chopped nuts. Spread on bottom layer. Top with other layer. Spread remaining frosting top of cake. Chill before serving. Garnish with chopped nuts and coconut if you choose. I personally like to top with a few maraschino cherries. This can be done as a two layer cake or cupcakes – just watch the baking times.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SirenaTales
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 09:50:48

    Lovely and delicious yarn and a bonus recipe! Thank you for the pleasure….

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 11:40:35

      Thank you. and to think I have following a blog to dredge up these memories. When we follow, we sometimes get more than just a blog!!! When I asked my aunt about this years after the fact, she still shakes her head and says, have mercy.

      Reply

  2. TheGreatZambini
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 21:43:28

    That fight at the end kind of ruined the elegant atmosphere, didn`t it? Anyways, I’m glad you had a mostly good time, and I`ll put this on my list of recipes to test out!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 21:51:52

      It actually in these years since then has given us a bit of a laugh, esp. As.I”vr gotten to know JK and we’ve traded comments about the South and the Jasper area. The whole thing was a bit surreal. One could almost envision a food fight breaking out. And yet again we are reminded about the thin veneer of civilization. We have remarked it reminds us of the Star Trek Next Gen, Nice People Nice Tea episode. The cake is good anyway 🙂

      Reply

      • TheGreatZambini
        Jan 03, 2014 @ 22:37:36

        You know, as a Northerner with Southener transplant friends, I have heard repeatedly that we are not nearly as civilized, welcoming, or in general wonderful as the Southerners are. I guess the difference is that up here, what you see is what you get, and in places where everyone is ‘perfect’ all the hurts boil and bubble under the surface of things.

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Jan 03, 2014 @ 23:18:34

          I think people are people wherever you go. I lived on Long Island for several years. I met kind people, funny people, hateful people, assholes, people who beat their children, people who fed stray animals….in other words, people who made choices on hoe they would behave. People who hid behind money and class, people who were open, people who lied to you and themselves, people who unfortunately were what you got and people who fortunately, were what you got. I found this true of people in Miami, LA, London, Tokyo, Durham, DesMoines, Beirut. We are none of us perfect, but for the most part, I think most of us try. I am a southerner who has been all over the world. Like anyone else, I was raised to try to be better than I may want to be. But I can’t say that always being out front is always a good thing. I know my best friend thinks I would look better with a different hairstyle but I also know she is too kind to say and that is why I love her – she practices what my poor grandmother trief to teach me years ago – it is better to be kind than to be right. I struggle with this everyday. Wherever we come from, I truly think we all try to do this.

          Reply

          • TheGreatZambini
            Jan 05, 2014 @ 16:45:44

            That is so true, kindness is very important. My grandma called it the ‘honest and goodest truth’, but the idea is the same: you can say whatever you want as long as it is done politely and with good intentions. And you are right, humans are humans wherever you go. Why, I live in ‘the coldest city in the states’, but I think my parents are the warmest and friendliest people alive! Though I guess I`d be the first to think that way. 🙂

            Reply

            • kanzensakura
              Jan 05, 2014 @ 17:38:27

              I like that – the honest and goodest truth. I like that a lot. My parents were great too. I think our whole little familial eccentric crew was great. It’s good to be among those people who think their parents were/are great, unlike a lot of other people, isn’t it? We are so blessed. > Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 21:45:44 +0000 > To: thspencer51@hotmail.com >

              Reply

  3. gpcox
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 06:12:38

    Here’s a toast for you and yours to receive only the best in the forthcoming New Year!! (and another great year of your posts!)

    Reply

  4. jaklumen
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 19:57:14

    So this is basically a Southern-style soda pop cake? You’ve definitely got my attention with pistachio pudding mix.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jan 04, 2014 @ 20:58:55

      Yeppers, and the old favorite standby ingredient, cool whip. I used club soda because I think the 7up makes it too sweet. but it does make it nice and light – the carbonation. instant pudding, cool whip, nuts, bubbles – what’s not to like? > Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 00:57:17 +0000 > To: thspencer51@hotmail.com >

      Reply

      • jaklumen
        Jan 04, 2014 @ 22:32:45

        It does sound really good. I wonder if diet lemon-lime soda would do the trick, though. I suppose I’ll have to see which is cheaper.

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Jan 04, 2014 @ 22:37:01

          For the same reason of not using sugar free pudding, don’t use sugar free soda, hence the use of club soda. It cooks weird. This recipe was developed before sugar free stuff. Tab was about it and saccharin was the non-sugar sweetener.

          Reply

  5. machinist
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 02:41:28

    ” Now I must warn you, as a Southerner, there is no such thing as a short story… Just hang in there.”

    I don’t think you need worry. With your delightful style one finds oneself devouring your story with great enjoyment but wishing it would not end. Certainly in my case. Thank you.

    Having been born and raised in California and just moving to Texas in 2007 I love the difference in the people here. The only place I found this in California was living in small towns.

    Courtesy is never out of place. It is not hiding who we are but respecting others. We can be ourselves without forcing our opinions on others or foregoing tack and consideration. Kindness is never wasted, even when it is not accepted or appreciated. One should give because of what the giver receives from himself, not for the gratitude of the recipient. I have seen too many people give generously for the wrong reason and end up unhappy, feeling unappreciated and betrayed. One should give for the joy and grace of giving, then one can’t be stiffed.

    You give graciously and freely when you share your writings and it is obvious that people enjoy and treasure your gift. Thank you.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 07:55:40

      You do not comment often, but when you do, it is astounding. I agree – courtesy is never out of place, kindness is never wasted.

      Your comment reflects the courtesy and kindness of which you speak. I thank you for your well thought out remarks and also the affirmation that is “right out there”. We often mistake rudeness or brashness for honesty when too often, it hides something deeper. Just because we are “told who I am” does not mean it is always true. I personally would rather treat people with that courtesy and kindness my grandmother reflected, until I have reason to do otherwise. And then – to still continue that kindness and courtesy regardless.

      Again, thank you so much for this. I hope you are staying nice and warm. Brrrrr. Pour out the warmth of kindness!

      Reply

  6. machinist
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 11:13:51

    You are too kind, Ma’am. I suspect you see your own gentle light reflected back to you and credit those you shine on. That is the nice thing about “the warmth of kindness”, you can give it and find you can still share and enjoy it. It is a bond between people that does not bind.

    We had a little cold spell for us but nothing to speak of compared to the ordeal so many are facing. Just another blessing of living here. My wife does miss the weather of California, being from Mexico she had never even played in snow until I brought home a PU truck bed full of snow from my work in the mountains and we had our first snowball fight in our garage. We are both rather awed by the harsh conditions around so much of the country.

    And of course the tender warmth of your writings warms the hearts of so many..

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 12:32:09

      I like that – what a romantic gesture to bring back snow in the truck and have a snowball fight. I am amazed myself by the cold weather, although I am well acquainted with the cold and snow. but the earth needs these cycles of cold, harsh as they may be.

      Reply

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