Friday, October 26, 2007

1786 Rambly-ness & 7-minute icing

"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."
- Simone Weil

In figuring that I will need to write 1786 words per day in November in order to finish The Novel, my brain went on a little tangent-trip and began to wonder what happened in the year 1786. Here is what wikipedia says and here is a list of my ancestors who were born in 1786:

5 Jan 1786 Jacob NEWMAN
27 Jan 1786 Roxana HAND
29 Jan 1786 Elizabeth WHITTLE
5 Mar 1786 Guri ASLAKSEN
21 Mar 1786 Moses SWAIM
23 Mar 1786 Mary DAGGET
28 Mar 1786 Phebe Ann MORTON
1 May 1786 Thomas RUSSELL
10 May 1786 Jacob RHOADS
23 Jul 1786 Hans SORENSEN
27 Jul 1786 Stephen HOOPES
30 Jul 1786 Mette Marie PEDERSEN
1 Aug 1786 Charity SWAIM
2 Aug 1786 Sarah WILLSON
15 Aug 1786 Rachel A. SHIPMAN
21 Aug 1786 Athalia HOWARD
22 Aug 1786 Samuel WHEELDON
4 Sep 1786 John WELBORN
22 Sep 1786 Julana GEER
24 Dec 1786 Mary POTTS

Possibly not interesting to anyone but myself but there it is anyway.
My husband spent the summer (while we were eating angel food cake with seasonal fresh berries and whipped cream), raving about his mother's angel food cake icing. He has lots of fond memories of eating this, and after months and months I called and asked her for the recipe. She couldn't find it in her recipe collection, but she looked it up online and found this version, which she gave me over the phone.

7-Minute Icing

2 cups white sugar
3 egg whites
3 tbs corn syrup
3 tbs cold water
1 tsp vanilla
In a double boiler combine ingredients. Place over boiling water and beat on high for seven minutes or until frosting forms soft peaks. Remove immediately and frost cool cake.
She said to serve is as soon as you can as it doesn't keep well, and don't beat it too long or it'll turn "hard" and you won't be able to spread it. In this case, just add a dollop to a slice of cake on a plate. Excellent with chocolate cake as well.
After she finished the frosting instructions she told me how nice it was to be able to be useful for something and to help me. Sometimes, in order not to be a bother we don't ask for help, and the funny thing is I almost didn't. When she told me the name of the frosting, I could have just looked it up myself. Instead, I let her take the time to hang up, look it up online, call me back and read it to me. Sometimes, we do them ourselves because it is easier than waiting for someone else to do it for us. That is what my quote at the beginning of this post is about. Sometimes we should let others do for us because it does them more good to be able to serve, share and assist. By giving people our genuine attention for longer than we need to - longer than is convenient - we give them something that can not be bought or forced. A rare generosity of human connection and trust.

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