Georgia Voters

Musings on new voters, election day cake, and getting motivated to vote again. 

“Today’s the day!” I called up the steps to rouse the new voters out of bed.

Grabbing my thick purple coat for the first time this year, I added, “Grab your cups of coffee. Let’s go!”

There was excitement in each steamy breath as we crammed into the Suburban for the two mile drive to the voting precinct. Each boy had waited a lifetime for this adult privilege and they embraced the responsibility with a sense of awe and adventure. We had two brand new voters this year, one 18 and one 21. We’d studied this year’s ballot online and many a dinner table discussion was had about the candidates and their unique issues.

“Your ID’s in your wallet, right?” I asked last minute just as we arrived in the parking lot. A boy slid his hand into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet and gave it a quick check just to be sure. The 21-year-old rolled his eyes with the look that says, “of course, Mom. What do you think I am, an idiot?”

With masks, coats, and coffees, we emerged from the truck and walked directly up to a short line.

We managed through the line fairly fast. We said hello to a couple of neighbors. There was cautious optimism in each face that passed out of the building. Smiles and jokes were plentiful as we stood rubbing our hands for warmth.

Finally, it was our turn. We made it through the voting process fairly quickly and everyone went about their day. It was all pretty basic

Then, at home, I started up on my bucket list goal to make the election day cake I’d been seeing in my Pioneer Cookbook for 30 years.

This election day cake was the bomb. The texture was a cross between a dense fruit cake and a sourcream pound cake. Apparently, this recipe was popular more than a century ago and Mary Todd Lincoln served it to her guests on multiple occasions. Back then, folks gathered to celebrate the vote with galas and parties regardless of if their candidate won or lost.

From the New England Historical Society website on Election Day Cake:

The Connecticut Historical Society explained that town officials once gathered in Hartford to elect the state’s leaders–and then ate cake.

Towns held elections in early spring, and the town representatives gathered in Hartford in May for the formal counting of the votes. First they counted the votes for governor, then lieutenant governor, then other officials. The counting often went long into the night, and the town representatives stayed overnight in Hartford homes. Women made election cake to serve the out-of-towners.

 

FANNIE FARMER RECIPE

fannie-farmer

Fannie Farmer

Cookbook author Fannie Farmer also published recipes for the cake in her cookbooks. Here’s her Recipe for Election Cake, from the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1911, orig. 1896).

1/2 cup butter
1 cup bread dough
8 finely chopped figs
1 1/4 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sour milk
2/3 cup raisins seeded, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each of clove, mace and nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Work butter into dough, using the hand. Add egg well beaten, sugar, milk, fruit dredged with two tablespoons flour, and flour mixed and sifted with remaining ingredients. Put into a well-buttered bread pan, cover, and let rise one and one-fourth hours. Then bake one hour in a slow oven. Cover with Boiled Milk Frosting.

Towns held elections in early spring, and the town representatives gathered in Hartford in May for the formal counting of the votes. First they counted the votes for governor, then lieutenant governor, then other officials. The counting often went long into the night, and the town representatives stayed overnight in Hartford homes. Women made election cake to serve the out-of-towners.

Here is a link to another modern Election Day Cake recipe if you want to give it a try. Plan to spend a couple of hours with it as this is a traditional yeast cake:

https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/election-cake-2119984

With a piece of cake in each lap, we settled in for an evening of election return excitement. This was our gala, right at home, with family and festive food.

The cake was awesome, but the excitement never happened.

10:30 pm came around and Georgia remained grey on the tabulation screen, not red or blue. “The counting has halted in GA, PA, MI, WI,” the television told us. The party was over and everyone went to bed.

We woke up and the same states had not finished counting.

So, here we are on Jan. 4. The presidential election, while called for Biden is still being challenged in this state. There’s talk of fraud and scandal and politicians wrangling with foreign entities for power. I don’t know what to believe!

There’s another election tomorrow.

“Don’t forget we’re voting tomorrow,” I said after dinner to my older boy.

“Oh yeah,” he shrugged. “Okay, I’ll be ready.”

No dinner table discussions tonight. People are pretty burned out around here. We’ll get it done, but there will be no joy in it. No cake. No confidence that the election is fair and legal. It’s sad.

These kids, who were so excited to vote and experience the freedoms our grandfather fought for in WWI, are disappointed in our government and its ability to stave off corruption. I am sad for them most of all. I didn’t get jaded about our political system until I was in my 50s. These guys are getting started with the cynicism early on. That can’t be a good thing for Georgia voters.

 

30 Word Associations for March 30

Slice of Life 2020: Day 30

  • morning prayer with incense
  • cooking dinner for the 30th consecutive day
  • schooling outside today
  • dinner at home again with the fam
  • Peeling potatoes & chopping onions
  • vegetable broth
  • dueling laptops
  • pollen on my pillow
  • hydrate or die-drate
  • chicken poop
  • we got no bananas
  • holy oil on our door post
  • write it down on the grocery list
  • did you wash your hands?
  • Face Book is a rant fest now
  • did you practice your instrument?
  • Is today a wine day?
  • growth mindset
  • neighbors talking on the curb
  • a little tennis in the driveway
  • are ya’ll doing okay?
  • let’s go for a walk
  • you’re going to tell your kids about this one day
  • Bob Marley Playlist on Spotify
  • truck’s still in the garage
  • the AP exam is still on
  • We’d better cancel that subscription
  • have you checked on your mom today?
  • evening prayer with incense

Grocery Shopping

Slice of Life 2020: Day 26

Grocery shopping is not what it used to be. Not three three weeks ago, we could find a cart, fondle the fruit, stare at the selection of granola in the health foods department, visit with neighbors in the aisles, find manager’s specials, place elbows on the customer service counter, and get toilet paper.

Those days are all gone now.

Tonight I went up to the local Publix. Someone had to wipe my cart down before I could use it. There was no lingering in the produce section long enough to investigate a fruit as people were near. You can’t be too near people in the grocery stores any more.

If I saw someone I knew, I’d move right along, keeping that pace to get out of there as quickly as possible. The manager’s specials were all bought up. Placing elbows on any surface, much less a hand, meant personal contact which was strictly prohibited. I kept my elbows inside my sweater. Toilet paper was being restocked as I strode past with my buggy.

Times have changed.

Now, people have panic in their eyes. They are spooked that they must enter the store at all, but do so out of necessity. There are new faces running the place: new managers and bag boys. Folks are wearing gloves and masks. As I went to the truck with my load of goods, I noticed a pair of latex gloves that had been hastily ripped off and discarded by my passenger door. Their appearance is symbolic of this crisis in which we find ourselves. No one picked the gloves up.

I opened the back of my truck and began to put my groceries inside when I heard, “Can I help you with that, Ma’m?” I turned around. It was a small woman who kept the appropriate 6 feet distance.

“Thank you,” I said. And she leaned in and helped me with my load. She wasn’t wearing gloves or a mask.

“A lot of folks don’t want no help right now, and I just wanted to ask before I came over,” she said. Then she began to tell me about her day and the crowds and the parking lot and the shelves. The grocery store has changed for her too.

After saying goodbye, I stepped into my truck, squirted two pumps of sanitizer on my hands, and rode away.

Looks Like it's Veggies on the Menu, Boys!

Slice of Life 2020: Day 2

It’s what’s for dinner.

The vegetarian cookbooks have all came off the shelves today. The Syrian cookbook from my husband’s family has ventured out. The Vegetarian Planet, a bible-sized tome rivaling any Shakespeare Anthology, came out of hiding and onto my counter. The Crock Pot Cooking book and the Lebanese Cook Book both made their way into the light and were thumbed open and pondered. Even the Vegan Pinterest Board was opened on an iPad.

These resources and books are cherished friends now and they always come out on the first day of Orthodox Great Lent, a time of fasting meat, dairy and eggs. Seeing their well-worn covers and dog-eared pages remind me that its fasting season again. Skimming through these volumes, I can almost smell the aroma of garlic, onions and tomatoes cooking down in preparation for a veggie stew. I can just taste the spicy eggplant bubbling in the ratatouille. I can see the bowl of steaming white rice!

These foods are delicious and bring back many family memories.

As the chief cook and bottle washer, these cookbooks and this kitchen are my happy place. I feed people and keep them going with warmth and nourishment. During this season, foods are to be kept simple so that one has time to work on matters of the heart. Luxurious foods like olive oil and meats are abstained so that one remembers to pray more often. It is a time for self-examination and these foods help keep one in the right frame of mind as the days lengthen and Easter approaches.

That’s the goal anyway. These intentions are noble, but who doesn’t need a high bar to strive for.

“Tonight, it’s veggies on the menu, boys!” I say as I stir the ebullient mixture of red lentils and broth. They know the routine. They know this food.

“Mediterranean Lentil Stew, hot and ready!” I call out to the troops.

No stragglers tonight.

These messy-haired boys lingered at the dinner table, chatting of basketball coaches and spring training, all bowls cleaned to the last drop.

I Cook, Therefore I Am!

Slice of Life 2019: Day 8

There are days that I know people like me around here because I’m cooking. Mostly, I’m okay with this. I make food and people eat my food and they are happy. It’s a simple concept.

As the cook, people know where to find me most evenings, between 5:30 – 7:30. That’s fine too; otherwise I’d be lost somewhere around the house. If a friend comes over, they know that between 5:30 – 7:30 pm, I’m going to be in the kitchen. Basically, all my friends know this and they just come into the kitchen with me. My neighbor, Susan, when she comes over between 5:30 – 7:30, she usually just rolls up her sleeves and jumps right in. She used to hold the baby for me while I worked the spatula. Now, she just grabs a wooden spoon and starts stirring. That’s probably because she feels bad that I’m slaving it out at the stove while she’s sitting.

Occasionally, my husband will venture into the kitchen and bark a few orders which gets me a little prickly because this is my kitchen, dang it! I’ve got too much identity caught up here to let outsiders come in and start pushing me around. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it could be more efficient. But, I’ve got this! When I’m cooking on all four burners, got the double timers going, all the counters filled with ingredients and spices and knives, that’s when I’m happiest. The kitchen is my zone; I’m the boss here! It’s one of the few places where I get to call the shots. In every other place, I have to answer to somebody.

If I’m serving food, the kids will stop by the kitchen and give me a hug. “Thanks mom!” are those magical words that let’s you know someone’s paying attention that you’re putting food in their belly. When my hubby walks in the door and smells yummy meats cooking, he walks right over and gives me a big hug, a smile all over his face. Earlier this week, I met my husband at the door and told him dinner was on the island and there was a fire made in the other room and all he had to do was just relax after a busy day.

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” he said happy as a lark.

So, yeah, this is old school and super traditional and patriarchal. I cook therefore I am … loved and appreciated and respected. Alright! Maybe I would still be loved if I didn’t cook, but it really does help with the respect and the appreciation. In the kitchen, I get hugs, I fill the tummies of hungry boys and I get smiles. All good things!

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