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Gertrude Noyes (aka, Nancy’s mom) made the most wonderful blueberry cake. Nothing fancy, mind you, but rather a fairly simple cake, dotted with sweet blueberries throughout and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Yummmmm. 🙂

“Gert’s Blueberry Cake” (Blueberry Cake) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/5.6, 1/50s, -0.7EV, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

This delicious treat would usually arrive as a surprise on a Saturday or Sunday morning, still warm from the oven, the aroma of cinnamon filling the air. Didn’t matter if we’d already had our breakfast or not. Resistance was futile. 😉

Blueberry Anticipation

Years ago, I was fortunate to acquire the recipe from Nancy which I tucked neatly into my recipe binder. Starting in early August, blueberry memories began wafting into my brain and when I saw quarts of wild blueberries (the best kind) at a local farmstand, I knew I hadto make that cake! Therefore, on a bright Saturday morning, I gathered the ingredients and, following the recipe to the letter, happily anticipated the tasty results.

“Yes, Please” (Blueberry Cake Square) Nikon D300, 50mm, F/5.6, 1/15s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette Blur’ Filter

Hot from the oven, the cake looked and smelled divine. I put a pot on for tea while the cake cooled just a bit and impatiently waited for the moment when I could cut into my blueberry masterpiece. A good deep inhale of that cinnamon aroma and then, finally, that first bite.

Wait for it…wait for it…wait…damn. How could this be? Instead of the expected gastric euphoria, both hubby and I were, well, sadly disappointed. It wasn’t that the cake was bad, but it certainly wasn’t Gert’s. Something was missing. 😦

A couple of days later, I yelled over the fence, “Hey, Nancy! When your mom made her (famous) blueberry cake, did she use lard?” 

“No, she always used shortening.”

“No butter?”

“Nope. Never.”

“Huh. Well, I made the cake and it tasted… flat. And, it wasn’t as moist as hers. Did I over-bake it?”

“Hmmm, I doubt it. What did you use for milk?”

And, just like that, it hit me. You see, back in the day, milk was milk. There wasn’t 2%, 1% or skim, no lactose-free or soy or almond. When a recipe called for milk, it meant wholemilk. An item that is not regularly found in my icebox. Mystery solved. 🙂

“Spread” (Blueberry Cake Buffet) Nikon D300, 45mm, F/5.6, 1/50s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

With new confidence in hand (and enough blueberries remaining), it was back to the kitchen to try again. In addition to using whole milk, I also made a few more tweaks to the recipe (we bakers just can’t resist can we? 😉 ).

For example, I like to grease and sugar my cake pans as it adds just a little extra sweetness that flour can not deliver. I also like to layer flavors, so instead of using plain white sugar and plain table salt, I substituted vanilla sugar and vanilla salt. I also used two kinds of vanilla extract since each adds their own bit of ‘something’ to the finished product.

When the timer went off, anticipation along with a bit of nervousness, swelled within me. I prepared the tea, gathered the plates, utensils and napkins, cut and served the slices and then waited for hubby to take the first bite. 

“Have a Bite” (Blueberry Cake) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/5.6, 1/100s, -0.7EV, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

“Well?” 

“It’s delicious.”

Woo hoo! 😀

Happily, Nancy concurred and it was a delightful Saturday morning, sipping tea and noshing on a (now) treasured family recipe, shared amongst good friends and remembering a cherub-faced Gert whom, I hope, I made proud.

Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that. 🙂

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Breakfast Collage (Clockwise: Ham & Cheese Scramble, Pancakes, Strawberries, Banana Bread, Cap'n Crunch's Crunchberries Cereal)

I’m what you’d call a foodie. Hmmm, no, that’s not right.

I’m a die hard foodie!

Love to cook, love to eat, love to learn about food (and wine), love to watch cooking shows, love to create recipes. I am more than familiar with the names Giada, Ina, Nigella, Tyler, Bobby, Gordon and Guy, and my dvr is loaded with shows having titles like ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, ‘Top Chef’ and ‘Chopped’. Heck, I’ve been regularly attending the annual EpCot Food & Wine Festival since 1998! 

So, when Scott Thomas posted his latest photo assignment, Food Photography, I knew I was all in! 🙂

Lunch Collage (T to B: Ham, Cheese & Apple Panini, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad, Cheese Pizza)

The hardest part of this assignment was remembering to stop and photograph the food. Let’s face it…once it’s baked, fried, grilled, roasted, seared, simmered and plated, the next step is ‘lift utensil, stick in mouth’, not, pick up camera! 🙂

For this challenge, I specifically chose not to make anything out of the ordinary. If you think about it, food photographers shoot all kinds of food and food-related items, not just fancy-schmancy, perfectly plated meals. Be it for an equipment ad, a recipe in a cookbook, a restaurant menu, a glossy magazine cover or gourmet catalog, their job is to make the food look interesting and appetizing, whatever it may happen to be. 

Therefore, these three collages simply represent a little snapshot of what you may see on our table on

Dinner Collage (L to R: Hearty Beef Stew, Linguine w/Meatball & Steamed Asparagus)

any given day. (Is your mouth watering yet? 😉 ) Like everyone else, our tastes change with the seasons and being winter, these days the meals tend to be on the heartier side with a very high ‘comfort level’ factor. (Hey, something has to get us through all these Nor’easters!) Around March, as thoughts turn to pool season, things will lighten up in anticipation of days spent by the grill and fresh veggies pulled from the garden. (Oh, and skin-bearing swimsuits…yikes!)

But for now, I am very happy with plates filled with eggs and pancakes and bowls piled high with pasta and stews.

Say…could you please be a dear and pass the bread? 😀

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