For a friend …

ICT_Yum Yums-edited
“Reach out and touch someone” …

Text and recipe by Chef Joey

A favorite quote of mine is “Either I get what I want, or I change my mind.” Thank you, Oscar Wilde.  We want lots of things in life: to be happy, liked, even loved, and have it all.  But sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. 

Thanks to social media, people we may have lost touch with can monitor and keep abreast of what is going on in our lives.  I found this out recently when an old acquaintance, who is not much older than I am, contacted a bunch of us “Friends” to meet for his birthday at our usual Monday haunt … So we are there, the usual “buds” laughing, talking, excited about seeing our “Facebook friends” that used to be “all the time” friends, and then we see a car pull up into the handicap spot. 

Not knowing who/what/why we look in horror as out “friends” go about a routine to get our friend out of the car and into the restaurant via wheelchair.  We put on our ‘glad to see you’ faces make chit chat; and internally we were all askew.  How did this happen?  When was the last time we saw each other?  I talked the other day I thought, no that was Facebook, then it was last week then right?  No it was Facebook.  It was over two years ago we last saw each other.  Not just me, the whole lot of us “friends.”

We all go to the dining area, all of us exuding bravado, eat, share stories that we all read about that were posted, and as we are wrapping up and knowing that our friends were exhausted, my friend Bill, his real name, made a profound statement.  He had us all together, people he enjoyed company with, memories, laughs, house parties, you name it, to say Goodbye. 

He has been sick for some 10 years on and off, lung infections, chest pains, you name it, but always persevered. In and out of the hospitals over the last twl years and now living in an assisted living with visits from his wife because she cannot take care of him – this was a shocker. 

We had Facebook comments didn’t we? 

Who knew he was trapped in a wheelchair with a monitor and a keyboard to pass the time? I was oblivious, as were my friends. His physician told him it his body was calling it quits.  No specific dates obviously, but the final stretch to be blunt. So Bill, on his birthday, a day that in the beginning is all tears of joy and happiness, and usually is all along with cake of course, was oddly reversed.

So the purpose of this article is to help us all rethink: land lines are almost a thing of the past, but as the old “New England Telephone” ads used to say “Reach out and touch someone” – don’t just text or ‘LOL’ to a social media comment, and when you are with them, and this last Monday night gathering was the same, we all put our mobile devices on vibrate and in our pockets. They came out for pictures in the end. Nothing more than cameras to seize the moment, and of course the pictures to end up on social media, but it was to share the experience and the story.

CHOCOLATE CAKE

So since it was a birthday, and of course there was cake, I am sharing with you the easiest cake recipe in the world. Don’t buy premade, and just keep this one – which happens to be chocolate. 

You can eliminate the chocolate and substitute ¼ cup orange juice for an orange cake; 2 tsp vanilla extra for Vanilla cake, or ¼ cup lemon juice for a citrus cake! 

With all the cakes a little orange zest always picks it up a notch.

2 ½ cups flour sifted with
2 cups sugar – and
6 tbsp powdered coco (eliminate if making a ‘white cake’)
2 eggs – and
1 cup vegetable oil

Stir all together until a thick paste is formed. 

Sprinkle 2 tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp baking soda

Pour 2 cups HOT water – the cake will foam up – then MIX BY HAND until smooth. 

Add:
2 Tsp vanilla and pour into pre greased and floured (and parchment paper always helps)

8 inch round pans – or a standard rectangle and bake 375 for 30 minutes or so – depending on your pan. 

Test with a toothpick in the center – if it comes out clean it is done! 

Frost with fresh whipped cream for best results.

Enjoy! But most important, enjoy your friends and families!