Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Pitcher Tradition

by Kris Pitcher

Its 3x5 recipe card is typewritten. Lengthy instructions fill one side, while 3 part ingredient lists fill separate sections of the other. Yellowed with time I wonder how many times it has sat on the counter making countless batches.

A little bit complicated, I can remember being flustered the first time I made it. I wanted to get it right. Now, I can't quite recall how many years I've been making least 11 years. The recipe has been handed down to me by my husband's paternal grandmother, a woman I never knew. A woman who I only know through story, mostly of killing snakes at the cabin in the Tennessee hills when my father-in-law was a boy.

Its aromatics are worldly, infused with clove and the sweet smell rises from the oven in an unrecognizably slow way taking over your senses. It's a smell that makes me think of wandering a spice market in some far away place, and I wonder what it made her think of.

I almost didn't make these little fragrant timeless traditions. I told Jacques I didn't think I would this year, and he reasoned me into finding my yellowed 3x5 recipe card. There is a small group of family and friends who find themselves recipients of this Pitcher tradition. If you find yourself amongst them, you know we think you're special.

If you receive one in July, you most certainly are on the favorite list. The longer this cake "ages" the better it is. Once perfectly cooled, my beautiful little cakes will find themselves swaddled in rum soaked cheesecloth. And if you are lucky, you just may be the recipient of a Pitcher Tradition, the fruit cake. Merry Christmas!

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