Saturday, June 7, 2014

Worth Its Weight

There is something special about Southern cuisine and its foodways, so much so that there is even an organization, The Southern Foodway Alliance, wholly dedicated to the study, documentation, and celebration of the food of the American South. Pound cake is a distinctively Southern dessert that is a favorite amongst many Southerners, and apparently Flannery O’Connor’s own mother, Regina, was quite fond of pound cake. In an interview with Sarah Gordon, Professor Emerita of English at Georgia College & State University, writer Louise Abbot discusses her friendship with Flannery, and the first time she met Regina:

[Regina] said, “Well, tell me about your husband.” And then she said, “By the way, I’m going to send you home with some slices of pound cake that I made the other day.” I said, “Oh, my husband will be so excited. He loves toasted pound cake for breakfast.” That was what impressed Regina. So I was the friend of Flannery’s whose husband liked toasted pound cake for breakfast. And we talked pound cake. We talked it into the ground. 

With as many variations of pound cake as there are, with different types of crusts, etc., it is no wonder that Louise Abbot and Regina had so much to talk about. As I have gone through some of the objects in the laundry room at Andalusia over the course of the past few weeks, I happened upon the label of an entirely different type of pound cake - a ready-made frozen one from Sara Lee. While I can’t tell you whether Flannery ate any of this particular cake, I do find that this premade packaged food does reflect a broader shift in Southern foodways. With the introduction of refrigeration, and the rise of industry in post-World War II America, the nation began to shift toward mass consumption of factory to table food. 

Do you recall how the shift toward mass produced food altered your own family’s foodways? For those of you who are Southern, do you have memories of homemade pound cake? Or did your family serve the frozen sort one had to thaw before eating?

April Moon, Operations & Visitor Services Manager
The Flannery O’Connor – Andalusia Foundation

**Louise Abbot's interview is one of several featured in At Home with Flannery O'Connor: An Oral History, edited by Bruce Gentry and Craig Amason. 


1 comment:

Kaye Park Hinckley said...

This recipe has been in my family for many years. My mother loved it, my grandmother loved it, and I love it.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

3 cups of plain flour
3 cups sugar
2 sticks of BUTTER
6 eggs
1/2 pt. sour cream
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

Cream butter and sugar well; add eggs one at a time. Mix soda into sour cream. Stir well. Alternating--add sour cream and sifted flour while mixing. (Start with flour, end with flour) Add flavoring. Grease bottom and funnel of an angel food cake pan with Crisco. DO NOT grease the sides. line the bottom with wax paper. (Cut out size of pan bottom with hole for funnel) Bake 1 and 1/2 hour at 325, but depends on your oven--check during the last half hour by inserting a sharp knife to see if it's done. Cool about 10 minutes before removing from pan.

I make this every Christmas, Easter, and for many birthdays (seven-minute icing is a great topping for a decorated birthday cake)