The 2020 Holidays Recipe Collection
How you doin’? If you grew up in the Los Angeles Area you would know that many of the “cafeteria ladies” were great cooks. On more than one occasion, I asked my mother to go to the school and ask Miss Margaret for one of her recipes. She made great southern biscuits, fantastic jumbo cinnamon buns, the best mac ‘n cheese and fantastic Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake.
Nothing was a frozen, prepared food—everything was scratch-made from USDA American-grown surplus. These surplus foods included all-purpose flour, cheddar cheese, sour cream, corn and more. This allowed the farmers to keep price supports in the market for their products. It was a bonanza for school districts and the kids loved the food that was prepared.
I can’t claim my Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake to be historically accurate, but it’s darn close and, to my memory of taste. It is right on with all the 1950’s recipes of the time that I was able to find on the internet. This is the perfect recipe for holiday mornings when this freshly baked Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake can be the star of the morning or holiday buffet table.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
For the streusel
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 packed tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To make the streusel
Epilogue: Years later, I found out that Miss Margaret had retired and her husband had died leaving her quite alone. I invited her to spend Thanksgiving Day with my family. She was very talkative about her life. She had no children and loved to be with the kids at school. She learned to cook on her family’s farm in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. At 12 years of age she was helping her mother cook 3 meals a day for the family (of 8) and about 10 hired hands. She’d go to school for 4 hours and then collect the chickens' eggs, help milk the cows, and even do a little baking. She was quite a lady. Her husband worked at the McDonnel Aircraft factory in Long Beach during the World War II while her husband served in the Pacific with the Marines.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “Due to the requirements to maintain a safe distance, I will no longer be shaking hands or hugging. In lieu of those established customs, you may politely bow or fall to your knees from a safe distance.”
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Here is wishing you the very best for the upcoming holidays. To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind welcoming in the holiday season. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2020
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