Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big Cheesy Grins By Creative Folk

The chill outside coupled with a cast of colorful leaves turning crisp has put me in the mood to scout for Halloween inspiration. Found some great stuff, but one discovery rises to the top.

Folk art has always caught my eye. It's whimsical. It's humorous. It's got personality. It's art. Have some fun with this site:
Personally, I think Tim Burton doesn't have much on David Everett. I'm adoring his creations and can't wait to see more in the Christmas motif. And look here:
What would Pumpkin in the Box say to you if he were to spring to life?

I don't see a witch among the characters, but I am reminded of a storybook that was read to me quite often this time of year: Old Witch and the Polka Dot Ribbon by Wende and Harry Devlin. Old Witch is a devilish old tart with layers of petticoats under her black skirt, striped red and white stockings, and wooden heels. Out of a smack of jealousy, she decides to foil the cake contest:

"A big green moon,
A toad's blue eyes.
I'll make nut cake
And win first prize."

...and so she did. But not before comic mayhem ensues.

I grew up in a baking family, so there was not a chance in hell we were going to miss whipping up the recipe for Old Witch's Magic Nut Cake on the back of the hardcover storybook. It's a luscious cake filled with pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts -- frosted with cream cheese icing. The instructions are to bake the cake in three buttered one-pound coffee cans, which I remember held a special place in the cupboard 11 months of the year until October rolled around so we could make the Old Witch's cake once again. The cake I remember from my childhood yielded completely round slices. It became an autumn tradition. When I baked the cake many years later, I couldn't track down the old seasoned coffee cans, but chose a bread pan instead. Similar results.... with the taste of nostalgia.

Can't subdue the big grin that creeps onto my cheeks as I read Old Witch to my son and enjoy the reverie around baking her Magic Nut Cake. Jumping Jehosaphat! It's almost Halloween.

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