Sometimes we get a reminder of how fragile life is and realize that we should never miss the opportunity to tell someone that they mean the world to us. If you have someone special to you, go and tell them right now how much you love them. Go on, I'll still be here when you get back.
Recently, someone in our blogging family lost a sister and a nephew in an accident. In that single moment everything changed and life would never be the same again for her or her family. I have never met Monet in person, but I feel like I know her through her blog. I don't know how to explain how it feels to read her blog except that it makes you feel like a member of her family. She has a serenity to her writing and the love she has for her family shines through, and you can almost reach out and touch the closeness she shares with them. When we read about this terrible tragedy we all wanted to help in any way that we could. How do you go on after something like this happens? Why did something like this happen to such a lovely person? Where do we start to help her healing begin? It turns out that for many people Monet was the one who helped us deal with these difficult questions. In her own gentle way she knew what she needed to do and she took time for herself and her family as they came to terms with this horrible accident.
From her posts you could feel the closeness that Monet and her three sisters - Pam, Susanne, and Noelle - felt for each other. You can see it radiate from the pictures that Monet shared with us. I know this look and feel because I see it in my four daughters, and I pray they never lose it.
In her recent post for Mandarin Spice Shortbread Monet has one line in the post that reads "quite simply: we lived". This line really struck me because when all is said and done that is all we can do in the face of tragedy. Take one day at a time and recognize it for the gift that it is.
I made this pound cake today in honor of Monet's family. It is a beautiful pound cake with tiny black poppy seeds, and just a hint of almond. As I mixed it together I thought of those I love and those who have been lost to us. As soon as the cake was cool enough to remove from the pan I cut that first piece, split it into smaller pieces, and shared it with my husband and my daughters. Tomorrow, it will be shared with our friends.
I encourage everyone reading this post to visit Monet's blog, anecdotes and apple cores. It is beautifully written and there are some amazing recipes. Monet has faced an incredibly difficult year with grace and determination and I think we can all learn something from her.
Classic Poppy Seed Pound Cake
(Printer Friendly Recipe)
- 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
- 1¾ cups cake flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup poppy seeds
- 1¼ cups sugar
- Cut butter into one tablespoon pieces and place in bowl of standing mixer. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes to soften slightly (around 60 degrees).
- Using fork, beat together eggs and egg yolks in a liquid measuring cup. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to use.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and generously grease and flour a 9x5 inch baking pan.
- Using standing mixer, beat together butter and salt at high speed until shiny and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and with mixer running, pour in sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat mixture until light and fluffy, 5-8 minutes.
- With mixer running at medium speed, gradually add egg mixture in a slow and steady stream. Beat mixture until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine your flour and poppy seeds. In three additions, add flour into butter/egg mixture, folding gently with a rubber spatula.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth surface and bake until golden brown, 60-75 minutes.
- Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto wire rack. Turn cake right side up and allow to cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
* Adapted by Monet from a recipe in Cook's Illustrated.