Friday, July 5, 2013

What's This Generation Coming To?

By Nancy Jill Thames

Store Bought Italian Cream Cake
On the eve of  the Fourth of July, my husband and I were invited to a party at our daughter's boyfriend's parents house. Nice! So far, so good. Now, this particular daughter was born to us late in life along with one of her brothers. This means we have one foot in the current generation and the other in an older one. This is what I observed being with guests from both eras: for the party food, the older generation guests brought mostly homemade - guacamole and chips and a special white cake with cool whip and fresh strawberries sprinkled with blue sugar for the occasion. The younger generation brought several store bought cakes. I can remember when there were no such things as store bought cakes, except for Twinkies maybe and Snowballs. Things are different now. More women work and don't have time to bake. I get it. Even though I consider myself a full time author, being from the older generation I am conditioned to baking something special for holiday celebrations because that was what my mother did. My contribution was a chocolate picnic cake - you know, the one with the boiling water and cocoa.
One guest brought a store bought Italian cream cake. Yes, I had a piece (and also a piece of the white cake with the cool whip and fresh strawberries) and it was good. But when I had a conversation with the lovely lady (from the younger generation) who brought it, she said she had a recipe for a much better one.
Hmm. Anyway, the other revelation I had was when we cut into the watermelon I bought for our own celebration and discovered seeds! Oh, no! But it had stripes! Sorry. I reflected and told my younger daughter and her boyfriend that I could remember a time when there were no seedless watermelons. And I also remember it was customary to eat a whole quarter of watermelon - not just a tiny triangle slice! Maybe that's the way my parents filled us up. And did any of you ever salt your watermelon? I didn't but I knew people that did. Heaven forbid if someone saw you do that today! 
The Fourth of July used to mean hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill or fried chicken, with corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon quarters and homemade ice-cream and cake. I'm sure these traditions are being carried on somewhere in the good old USA. But what did I serve this year? It was weird! BBQ chicken that my husband slaved over, baked potatoes with all the trimmings because someone in the family may not like potato salad, potato salad (homemade of course), jalapeno potato salad (we live in Texas), fresh spinach salad with hot bacon dressing (an unusual side for the Fourth), watermelon triangles with no rind, baked beans straight out of a can (Bush's brand with bacon and brown sugar) baked in the oven, peach cobbler (Marie Calender's) and ice-cream (store bought) and picnic chocolate cake (yes, I made two). Here's the kicker. No one ate the second cake. It's sitting on the counter waiting for my husband and I to eat the whole thing. The younger generation is health conscious, in fact, the older one is too. Another sigh.
I suppose then that this generation is coming to less focus on actual baking and more focus on earning money to buy the store bought versions. Me? I'll eat both! Just out of curiosity, did you buy a dessert for the holiday or did you make one?

I hope  you enjoy the rest of this fun holiday weekend.

See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames began publishing Christian fiction in 2010. The author of six books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and is listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List, this in addition to winning first place for her Chocolate Cream Pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her own personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW CenTex Chapter, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. CONTACT INFORMATION

 Nancy Jill is busy working on Book 7 "The Ruby of Siam" a mystery taking place in London.

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  1. We were talking about just this same thing last night. :) My uncle came to visit for the forth and tragically passed away on Monday, so most of our activities yesterday were designed to give my Grandma something to feel glad about (her great grandkids did the trick!) and to help my Mom prepare for the upcoming funeral.

    For dinner my mom made homemade potato salad and deviled eggs. We also had watermelon and ribs and some veggies. We ate inside so though we each could have eaten a quarter, we definitely served it in small triangles. We talked about the recipes Mom used and how they had come down from Grandma, and the things that Grandma would make every day for their dinner and supper. (BTW, all three of us women are watermelon salters!)

    We also talked about how amazing Facebook is. Mom had been able to get back in touch with many of her school days friends over the last several years which meant she was able to share the sad news about her brother passing with ease, even though so many have moved far and wide.

    I think sewing and cooking and baking are an art that the internet has actually started to resurrect, though their their popularity had waned almost to the point of extinction. At least in church circles, big families are popular again, and with that the need to cook from scratch, economize and make do or do without. Pinterest seems to be a haven for young moms who need to learn new-old skills for the sake of their families.

    I've always been a bit of an old soul in this regard, and spent most of yesterday watching my kids and quilting while I visited with Grandma and Mom. (Though Mom and I did make a firepit so we could roast Marshmallows as well...)

    I have a feeling I'm an inbetweener in regards to your old and new generations. I'm not a young 'un like your daughter, but I'm not yet forty either. ;)

    Anyway, thank you for posting something that allowed me to reflect on last night a little bit. It was a bitter sweet day. The old memories we shared, and the new memories we made were very, very sweet. But our grief is still fresh, and our hearts are still very heavy.

    1. So sorry for your loss, Traci. Always difficult during the holidays, I think.
      Upon reflection I think families tend to keep the traditional foods they like and discard the ones they don't. I love deviled eggs but no one else in my family does so out they went. I try to please. So far, the only thing I really insist on is a fruitcake at Christmas, and yes, I have to eat the whole thing myself!

      ~Nancy Jill

    2. That made me smile. Every year my Grandma made fruit cake for my dad because they were the only two who liked it. Dad developed and allergy to red dye and so she'd make it without the red candied fruit just for him. She recently had a stroke and so she buys it for him now. :)

  2. So true, Nancy! I see this same trend at Potlucks too. But I am happy to report that Pinterest has sparked quite an interest in the culinary arts. Young people are starting to get excited about baking and cooking and I'm really stoked about that. There's hope. Thank God for Pinterest!

    P.S. The very mention of all that lovely food made my tum tum growl:)

    1. Yes, Linda. As one's family matures and leaves the nest, oft times food is the only thing that brings them back. (And money if course!)

      ~Nancy Jill

  3. Your post made me smile and it brings back wonderful memories of Picnics and gatherings in my past.
    I love to bake but didnt get a chance to bake anything this year for the 4th of July. ( I did buy a yummy Shake though! )

    Love Pinterest! =)

    1. Melissa, I love Pinterest, too. I only wish I had more time to visit boards. I bet that was a good shake!

      ~Nancy Jill

  4. I loved the part about the watermelon. I remember the ones with big black seeds. They were a lot easier to get out. LOL And yes my family has always salted our watermelon. I love salted watermelon and I loved your post.

    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"
    "Murder in Marietta"

    1. I'm glad you liked the post, Debbie. Now I'm curios about where salting watermelon came from. My mother was from Mississippi and my dad from Arkansas. Where is your family from?

      ~Nancy Jill


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