Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Everyday Epiphanies



“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.” ~ Anne De Lenclos

When I was a girl I used to be afraid of graveyards. A good friend of mine lived in an old farm house, just beyond the edge of town, about half a mile away from my own home. In order to get to her house, I used to have to pass by a graveyard that seemed to stretch forever on both sides of the roadway. My heart would quicken and I would race past on my bicycle as if the hounds of hell itself were after me. This was in broad daylight. I would never have dared to attempt it at night!!

As a adult, I love to wander through graveyards. They are so peaceful and restful. Funny how that goes. Time and experience has taught me that the dead cannot hurt me and I love to walk on the pathways amongst the headstones, reading them and pondering on the people that lay beneath them . . . what sort of lives did they lead, were they rich or poor, happy or sad, did they achieve all that they started out to achieve, or did they leave this plane of existence too soon without having ever reached their goals . . . Life here on earth has lost it’s meaning for them. The toils, and struggles and joys from this lifetime are gone and over.



“For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn/or busy housewife ply her evening care . . . The paths of glory lead but to the grave.” ~Thomas Gray

How many days of our own lives slip away from us, unnoticed and un-appreciated? Some days it seems that we are aware of our inner poet and take note of every precious moment we experience, but then again other days we allow to rush by in a tumult of activity and frenzy, never stopping to appreciate or even register the special little moments that are only ours for the taking. And still yet again, it takes the risk of losing something that we hold dear, to jolt us into awareness, to make us take note of all that we have been taking so very much for granted. These are everyday epiphanies. These little awareness’s of all that we have and should be grateful for, of tragic near misses, a myriad of blessings not counted, these little things that go un-noticed until we risk losing them, or have already bid them farewell, these are the true treasures of our life.

Let us take holdof them before it is too late. Let’s give thanks for each morning that we wake up, and for the rain that sometimes falls. Let us never forget that “there but for the Grace of God go I,” and take hold of the blessing that is simply to be found in being, and in being healthy and alive. Lets us give thanks for our work and for our play. Let us rejoice in the accomplishment of a task completed and the tired feeling that comes at the end of a day, and for a day well lived and used.



In short . . . let us cherish our lives for what they are, every little scrap of them, the good and the bad, for they are only ours to cherish and they all too soon pass away. Let us live as if each day were our last. I think if we thought it could all end tomorrow, each of our today’s would be full of more of a sense of all that we hold dear . . . the flowers would smell a little sweeter, birdsong would dance upon our ears with more breathtaking beauty. It should not have to take our losing it for us to appreciate it all . . . take hold of today and live it, enjoy it, cherish it . . . make it count.

Today was supposed to be Tuesday's With Dorie, and I confess that again, I have not done the challenge. Today's recipe was Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding, pages 410 and 411, as chosen by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle. Todd hates chocolate and, to be honest, I just can't afford to eat a whole bread pudding by myself. Not just cost wise, but girth wise as well! If you would like to see this recipe be sure to check out Lauren's page and of course there will be umpteen bazillion delicious versions to take a peek at on the Dorie Blog Roll Page! I did make Todd a simple and homey dessert though . . .



*Molasses Spice Cake, with Ginger Syrup*
Serves 8 to 9

There is nothing more comforting than the homey smell of a cake full of cinnamon and cloves baking in the oven. When you combine that served up warm with bits of preserved ginger and the syrup drizzled over top with a big dollop of whipped cream, well, you’ve just died and gone to heaven!

CAKE:

¾ cup milk

2 TBS calvados

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar

2 cups plain flour

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

½ cup butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

¾ cup light molasses (over here in the UK use ½ cup of golden syrup and ¼ cup of dark treacle mixed)

TO FINISH:

4 knobs of preserved ginger, chopped

Syrup from the jar for drizzling

Softly whipped cream

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter a non-stick 9-inch square or round baking pan really well and dust the insides with flour. Set aside.

Combine the milk, calvados and vinegar in a small bowl. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves into another bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated. Add the molasses and mix in well. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet, mixing well after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then bake it in the pre-heated oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until it tests done when a toothpick is inserted in the middle and comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool until just warm, or at room temperature.

Cut into 3 inch squares or wedges to serve. Sprinkle each serving with some of the chopped ginger and drizzle some of the syrup from the jar over. Top with a big dollop of whipped cream. Delicious!

PS - My font today has come out all wonky. I have tried to sort it, but am afraid I'll totally mess up so it will have to stay as it is. Computers! Sometimes they can be so annoying!


15 comments:

Angie said...

My girth, too, is a problem which needs to be addressed. How can I make a delicious cake like this without tasting it? I sure knocks my yogourt and banana into touch!

love, Angie, xx

Angie said...

Hey, I was first again!

xxx

Tracy said...

This cake is calling my name, Marie! Molasses, ginger, spices, whipped cream...mmm...Hard to resist--LOL! Loved this post to remind us to stop and smell the roses...to be aware of the small thing--the little things mean a lot! :o) Your approach to life mirrors my own in so many ways, so it's always like coming home being here each day with you at Oak Cottage. Happy Day, sweet sister-friend! Hope you got some rest and catching up after the busy weekend! LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

Marthe said...

I did the challenge, but regretted it a bit as I didn't love it as much as the other stuff we've made for TWD....

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Life is so precious and often we forget to cherish the moments. Sometimes I wonder if some ever even think about it. How could they not??? Your cake looks like it was mighty good. I rarely bake anything as I would be the one eating it all. I did a lot when my family was growing up, now I go to a nice bakery for treats when I want them. 'On Ya'-ma

Gloria said...

Dear Marie, Im not well I will mail you to talk, may I???? kisses and huggs Gloria

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I know what you mean about eating the whole thing by yourself. Not that I have EVER done that. LOL

Love the substitute. Bet he loved it, too.

Grammy Staffy said...

Hello dear
I love your thought today... they are so true for me... some days I just muddle around instead of taking advantage of the day and accomplishing the things I should.

I can't wait to talk to you today.
Austin and I send love. Lura

jenjen said...

Oh Marie, your cake looks delightful! I love wandering through graveyards too. We have a really cool one right across the street from me. There are graves there from 150 years ago. I love to imagine what the people's lives were like who lived in this same area so long ago. There are many babies graves there too - it makes me grateful to live in these modern times.

XOXO
Jen

Lucy said...

What a true post - I loved it. A lot of people seem to have not like the TWD pudding so I think it is better you made this gorgeous spice cake instead! The gingery syrup looks gorgeous :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I know this is blasphemous, but I think your mollasses pie looks better than Dorie's cake!

Karen said...

I understand the girth issue. I have barely been in my kitchen much less able to bake. The molassas cake looks delicious though!

Bunny said...

I love cakes like this Marie, graveyards still give me the willies!!

Allison said...

I too am a lover of graveyards. Wish you could stroll with me, arm in arm, through some of my New Hampshire favorites. New England cemeteries have mysteries and stories to tell. I love them.

Beautiful spice cake. Mmm.

Allison said...

p.s. I love the asters photo.