My birthday falls on a day that will live in infamy, Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day. Each year, I can count on two things from my wife, Wendi (the founder of this blog): A poem and a homemade pineapple upside down cake.
One year, Wendi found a recipe in the “Joy of Cooking” cookbook for pineapple upside down cake. She decided she would make it for me. Oh, my. The cake was the best pineapple upside down cake I ever had. It has become a tradition over the past 15 years or so.
Wendi makes the cake from scratch. She said the first time she made it, she noticed the recipe called for buttermilk. She didn’t have any. We lived out in the country, so it would be about a five mile ride into town and another mile or so to the grocery store. She had a little wheel that showed how you could substitute one ingredient for another. She looked on the wheel and discovered she could add white vinegar to milk as a substitute for buttermilk.
The cake is traditionally cooked in a cast-iron skillet, but Wendi has a Pyrex French White casserole dish that she uses. It works wonderfully. When the cake is done, the butter and brown sugar caramelize beautifully. Words cannot describe how great this cake is.
I am not a baker, so I am always surprised every time the cake falls out. I can’t believe it does. It seems like it should be sticking to the dish.
The other tradition is Wendi writes me a poem. She alternates between serious ones and funny ones. How this tradition started is while we were dating at Cincinnati Bible College, she worked it out with one of my professors, the late R.J. Kidwell, to come into the class and read a poem to me. I loved it so much I told her she had to write me a poem every year. And she does.
I love Wendi so much. She makes me feel special throughout the whole year, not just on my birthday. But, I am spoiled, and she goes a little overboard on my birthday.