There are two types of cooks in the world: those who see cooking as an art, and those who wait for the smoke alarm to go off, signaling that their meal is ready.
It is a universal truth that there is nothing like your own mom’s cooking. When I was first married, I learned very quickly not to say, “My mom didn’t make it that way” or, “It doesn’t taste like my mom’s.” Of course, I thought Mom’s way was the only way. But I have expanded my taste buds to accept other people’s ideas about cooking. For instance, my mother never used canned cream of mushroom soup, but my wife thinks it is one of the basic ingredients for all recipes.
Thinking back on my childhood, there were many days when I would sit and watch my mom cook. We talked about everything under the sun, and of course she would let me lick the spatula after she made a cake and even let me sample the raw cookie dough. Not once did she warn me about the dangers of eating raw dough or batter. Now, that is a great mom.
One of the many incredible things Mom made was her chocolate cake. I have not eaten many cakes like the one she made. It was moist, almost sponge-like. If you put a piece of her chocolate cake in your hand and squeezed it, it would remain stuck together when you released your hand. Many times after she served the cake, and all that was left in the bottom of the pan were the crumbs, she would let me scoop up a handful and eat them. And if you know anything about a good cake, you know the crumbs retain the flavor.
One night as a teenager, I came home late from work. As I coasted up the driveway, I could see all the lights were off, and everyone was sound asleep. Not wanting to make any noise, I gently inserted my key in the lock and opened the back door. As I passed through the kitchen, the moonlight splashed across the table, and I saw that Mom had left a pan of chocolate cake crumbs out on the kitchen table. I smiled. How thoughtful—it was as though she had left me a love note.
I quietly pulled out a chair to sit down and reach deep into the moist deliciousness, slowly scooping up a handful. Leaning back, I plopped the first portion into my mouth, anticipating the delightful dance of the crumbs across my taste buds. But these crumbs didn’t dance. Not at all. I began to spew and spit out the contents of my mouth like Old Faithful.
The contents of the pan were not cake crumbs but leftover coffee grounds. As I spewed out the last bit, the kitchen light switched on, and there stood my mom. To both our horror, there were coffee grounds on the wall, the kitchen cabinets, across the table and floor. She looked at me, shook her head, clicked off the light and walked back to bed. I spent an hour cleaning up the mess. That night, I learned to double-check before I put anything in my mouth while it is dark.
My mom has been gone for a long time. I wish we had collected some of her recipes, most of which were handed down from her mom. That is why I announce with great pleasure that the Baptist Messenger, in conjunction with the culinary team of Moore, Moore and Moore, is promoting our first readers’ recipe contest.
As I travel the country, in each congregation, there is that one person who is famous for their dish. It might be a casserole, a dessert or an entrée. It could be a family recipe handed down from generation to generation, or it might be one of your very own culinary concoctions. Whatever it is, we ask that you submit your recipe, and a team of judges will evaluate and choose the best in each category. You might win a free cookbook or even a cash prize.
On Nov. 1, 2019, a new cookbook will be released, containing the best of the recipes, along with stories of hope and humor. Will yours be the recipe that reigns supreme? There are several ways you can participate, but make sure the recipe is original (no “Betty Crocker” or previously published or copyrighted recipes). Submit online at baptistmessenger.com/contest or by mail to: Cookbook Contest, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa, OK 74147 (must be legible to be considered).
If there is a family story that goes with your recipe, we would love to hear it. All recipes must be submitted by June 25, 2019, and will be submitted to a committee for review and judging. Not all recipes submitted will be selected, and recipe submissions will not be returned.
One final note about your recipe: Please make sure to omit the coffee grounds!