Change is difficult for us to manage. A new boss breezes into an office ready to innovate and is met with skepticism and distrust because things will be different for employees. A spouse walks through the front door and is upset to find the living room rearranged. Despite the fact that the room looks better, he or she wasn’t consulted and as a result, doesn’t feel comfortable in the new space. On a cool, rainy night you sit down at your favorite restaurant and order your usual meal. Instead of enjoying the meal, you discover the chef changed the recipe and it’s just not as enjoyable as usual.
Change is hard when it’s thrust upon us because it takes us out of comfort zone and strips us of our perceived control. Even self-inflicted change presents challenges. Anyone who has tried to lose weight, quit a bad habit or improve their self-esteem knows how hard it is to modify personal thoughts and behaviors.
Change is a process. We need time to adjust.
As you're well aware, our friends and neighbors on the East Coast of the United States were hit with a devastating storm earlier this week. On Monday people had heat, water and electricity. On Monday night, there was none. On Monday morning people woke up in their homes. By the end of the day, many of their homes were gone. The change from the known to the unknown was sudden, jarring and painful. Please know that all of you who bore the brunt of storm are in our thoughts and prayers.
I suppose this is why we’re drawn to old, historic places. They’re stable. They endure. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Trustees of the Reservations but their properties are among some of our favorite places to visit in New England. Their mission is to preserve and protect the irreplaceable and natural treasures of Massachusetts and protect they do. They have 25,000 acres of some of the most beautiful and historic properties in the New England area. All are open to the public. I highly recommend spending time at their locations.
A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to attend the Trustees open-house at Moraine Farm in Beverly, Massachusetts, a 275 acre country estate designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It’s such a beautiful place to explore. The farmland has been in continous operation since the 1800’s and it’s gorgeous. I especially loved the sweeping walkways and grand old trees. Old places like Moraine Farm bring a feeling of stability, a feeling of comfort, a feeling of forever - something we all need right now.
On the way home we stopped at an orchard and picked up some fall plums. I wanted to make a spice cake with my antique cake mold and thought the plums would be a perfect accompaniment. I was right.
Before the storm, I wrapped up the work on the main page of my blog re-design. I haven't finished every page but I decided to share it with you today because this particular change is constructive and positive. I hope you like it as much as I do.
When you settle in to make this spice cake, which I know you will love, think about what we can do together to help the our friends and neighbors who have lost so much this week. It’s true, North-Easterners tend to be determined and resourceful but hurricane devastation of this magnitude takes its toll on even the most resilient among us. The East coast will rebound but change takes time and a lot of patience.
It would also help if you could join me in making a donation to one of the following organizations:
The Red Cross
Thanks, as always, for stopping by. It’s wonderful to have you here again.
Buttermilk Spice Cake (from The Culinary Craft, 1984)
2 1/2 c (270 g) cake flour
1 tsp (5 g) baking powder
1 tsp (5 g) baking soda
1 tsp (5 g) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (3 g) ginger
1/2 tsp (3 g) cloves
1/4 tsp (1 g) nutmeg
1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
1/2 c (112 g) butter
1 c (188 g) sugar
1/2 c (80 g) brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp (5 g) vanilla
1 1/4 c buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans, several mini-pans or one specialty cake pan.
Sift the cake flour. Measure the cake flour. Add the spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift again. It’s necessary to sift it twice or the cake will be too dense and heavy.
Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the granulated sugar until lemon colored. Beat in the brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating throughly after each edition. Mix in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients to the mixture. Alternate with 1/3 of the buttermilk until both are completely incorporated.
Pour into prepared pans and bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the layers comes out clean. Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the size of the pans you use. Cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Decorative Sugar Plums
Lightly brush the lower half of fresh plums with a bit of corn syrup and roll in sugar. Place around cake.