Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

September 16, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: Tastes of the past: 09/17/13

ASHLAND — Temptation, thy name is coffee cake. Over the weekend, I provided refreshments for an event at church and brought a whole coffee cake and part of another home with me. My hope was the grandgirls would invade my house, devour it all and I would be spared the allure of one of my favorite foods.

Alas, that didn’t happen. We celebrated my oldest grandgirl’s birthday with a family party, which meant tons of food and, of course, cake. And when the choice is one of her mama’s cakes or a store-bought coffee cake, I knew my hope was futile.

I was raised in an area that is heavily Pennsylvania Dutch and coffee cake is a staple there. It’s a breakfast food and a “oh, you’re company” treat. My favorite bakery back home is still in business and I’m able to get the yeast-bread, cinnamon-sugar-covered delight of my youth when I go back to visit. It’s sold as it always has been, in a throw-away pan that’s been stapled inside a wax paper bag to keep the goodie fresh.

The ones I bought came in plastic containers and were more like a strudel, with layers of yumminess between the bread-like coffee cake. And both were enough like my favorite to keep me constantly aware of what was on my kitchen counter.

One had thick layers of blueberry filling while the other had a cinnamon streusel in its insides. Trust me, both were delicious.

That taste of home was followed by my watching an episode of the TV show “Breaking Amish,” where young Amish adults who have been living in Los Angeles return to their communities.

Like I said, I grew up in an area with Amish and Mennonite roots. So I watch the show not so much for carrying-ons of the cast, but the background of those religious communities.

In this particular episode, a young man was sitting with his mother talking about his mistakes and his future. His mother said, “I think better with beef,” left the table and returned with a quart canning jar filled with cooked beef.

And there came my second deadly sin of the day; envy followed on the heels of my early gluttony. I wanted to jump in the car, head for Pennsylvania and beg her for a jar for myself.

Canned beef is a staple in most households where I come from, like pinto beans are in many parts of the South. As I watched them share that jar of beef, I thought how delighted my family members would be if I announced they should all come eat that familiar meal of their childhood: beef and noodles over mashed potatoes.

Yeah, I can make the main dish with a roast. But there’s something about the canned beef, the distilling of the flavor, that makes all the difference.

I’ve promised my 91-year-old aunt I’ll come to visit her again in October. I’m copying some family photos for her and plan to deliver them by hand, which is a great excuse for spending time with that very special lady.

She’s already said we’re going out for dinner when I come up. I think we’ll extend our outing to include a little shopping as well.

But first I need to figure out how much canned beef and coffee cake I can cram into the back of my little station wagon.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net.

Text Only
Local News
  • newwendy1.jpg Ashland woman develops pregnancy journals for mom, dad

    An Ashland woman has a way of helping parents everywhere.
    Wendy Sparks, 47, wrote The journals, which are for parents to keep for themselves and their children during pregnancy.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420eggs0051.jpg Acres and acres of eggs

    A dozen volunteers spent the morning Saturday scattering more than 6,000 plastic eggs around the Greenup County Farm Bureau’s 10-acre field Saturday morning.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Volunteers to pack thousands of meals for hungry Haitians

    Members of the First Baptist Church in Grayson are planning for the third year in a row to pack thousands of meals for starving people in Haiti, and they need help to do it.

    April 19, 2014

  • Sheriff candidates ready for election

    With no incumbent in the Boyd County Sheriff’s race, Republican and Democrat candidates for the post will square off in their respective primaries next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0148.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo