Books and Tea - Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake
"Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book." ~Bill Patterson
It's raining as I write this post, though when you see it, we should have lots of sunshine. It has been a month or more of rain, and parts of the valley where I live did not escape the flooding, though it was not anything like what the communities around Yellowstone Park suffered. Nature will do what it must, even if its heartbreaking, and we humans have no choice but to adapt.
I adapt to the changing world by losing myself in books, be it my own writing or the talented work of others. Cake helps, too. And flowers. Gardens are how I survive summers.
These delightful cakes are courtesy of my mother, who found the recipe online, and loving almonds as she does, mastered them on the first try. I only recommended she add a couple of spices and vanilla, which the original recipe did without.
Did you know? Vanilla has been used in culinary creations for centuries. The vanilla bean dates back to the Totonac people, and the fruits of the Tlilxochitl vine. Back then, it was used medicinally. There were battles, conquerings, and a demand of gifts over the next two hundred years, which takes us to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the royal pharmacist, who realized vanilla's value as a delicious flavoring on its own.
"Americans were not much familiar with vanilla until ice cream became popular in the late eighteenth century. Thomas Jefferson discovered its virtues in France and on arriving back in the United States in 1789 sent for some pods from Paris, which must have come from Central America in the first place. By the 19th century, Americans developed a passion for vanilla, especially as an ice-cream flavoring." (Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink,/John F. Mariani [Lebhar Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 338))
I did not know that before now.
Supposedly, almonds have been used in breads dating back to the Egyptian pharos, and it's often said how much Cleopatra prized almond milk for bathing. Since I have not done extensive research on either, and don't plan to for the economy of time, I'll assume it's accurate.
It is good to know that if I write an almond and vanilla cake into one of the books, it will not be without historical foundation.
Now that we've skimmed the surface of culinary history, let us move onto the books portion of this post. My British Agent titles are neatly tucked away behind the cake stand (mostly because the covers matched), and in front are a few books from talented writers. Only one I have yet to read now that I'm looking at the picture. I'll rememdy that soon.
What are you reading now that you'd recommend?
Try the coffee cake recipe!
The original recipe comes from Jam Hands, and you can download a PDF of the modified recipe below. The tea is Easy Day from Mountain Rose Herbs, and it is oh so good!
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