Nice Area, Nice People, Viscious Luncheon

This post came about due to becoming acquainted with J. K. Bevill at Lost Creek Publishing (  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
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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