Monday, January 24, 2011

german apple cake (don't make just one)

apple cake
just one bite left

Last weekend I made eight German Apple cakes. Two for a party we were attending, four for the women's shelter, and two more for... my tummy. I did share.

Years ago, when I called my Grandmother to get the recipe, she said "Now Fawn, don't make just one of these." She would always make anywhere from two to ten, and share them with family and neighbors. They are simple and delicious, like everything my Grandmother baked.

german apple cake
(makes two 9x9 cakes)

2 cups flour, sifted
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Mix all these ingredients together and beat the batter for 2 minutes.
Then add:

3 cups apples, peeled & sliced (Stayman/Winesap are my favorite for baking)

4 tsp cinammon
2/3 cup brown sugar
Mix these together well.

Grease two 8x8 cake pans and pour in the batter. Sprinkle over with the topping and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, til golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy munching on this tasty cake soon. It's simple enough to make a wonderful weeknight dessert surprise for your family on a dreary winter day - especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And don't forget to share.

Monday, January 17, 2011

looking at America from afar, 1956

An excerpt from Dr. King's 1956 sermon, "Paul's letter to American Christians":

But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress. Your poet Thoreau used to talk about "improved means to an unimproved end." How often this is true. You have allowed the material means by which you live to outdistance the spiritual ends for which you live. You have allowed your mentality to outrun your morality. You have allowed your civilization to outdistance your culture. Through your scientific genius you have made of the world a neighborhood, but through your moral and spiritual genius you have failed to make of it a brotherhood. So America, I would urge you to keep your moral advances abreast with your scientific advances.

I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way.

But American Christians, I must say to you as I said to the Roman Christians years ago, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Or, as I said to the Phillipian Christians, "Ye are a colony of heaven." This means that although you live in the colony of time, your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth. Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God's will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.

I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity.

The misuse of Capitalism can also lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe "enough and to spare" for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between abject poverty and superfluous wealth.

I would that I could be with you in person, so that I could say to you face to face what I am forced to say to you in writing. Oh, how I long to share your fellowship.

Read the whole sermon here.

Friday, January 07, 2011

resolutions, warm fingers

norwegian mittens

It's January, it's biting cold, it's snowing all the time in North Carolina for heaven's sake. It's time to knit mittens.

I just completed (finally!) the Norwegian mittens, and they have been dutifully mailed off to HWWLLB's lovely mama, belated for Christmas but right on time for her January birthday. And I am hooked. As you can see, they are beautiful, but they're also warm, comfortable, practical, and a relatively quick knit.

I haven't knitted mittens in years, because in the past I knitted them with one yarn color and found that a single layer of knitted fabric just lets too much wind through to be warm enough for me. I've been wearing fleece gloves ever since. But stranded mittens! Of course! Those smart Scandinavians know all about how to stay warm, don't they? It took me a decade of knitting to wake up to the genius of Norwegian mittens, but here we are. I think there are more mittens in my near future.

So, I have been thinking and thinking about a New Year's resolution. I like making resolutions, and in the past I've gotten pretty ambitious with them, resolving to do things like giving up plastic and practicing yoga every single day. Needless to say, they don't always stick, but I think it's a worthwhile exercise.

But I've been having a hard time coming up with resolutions this year, perhaps because I don't feel very ambitious. One of the things I noticed about 2010 is that I worked much too hard. I put way too much pressure on myself to perform, and I think it's telling that I didn't take a single vacation day all year (until December 23rd, when I realized I had been insane). The only days I took off from work were for funerals. : (

So I think this is my resolution for 2011: Stop pushing myself so hard. Expect less from myself. Do less.

I'm not going to put any qualifiers on this one. I'm just going to try - less.