Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cinnamon Flop and Going Back

"We have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter... "

C. Joybell C.

In the midst of a long, cold and weary winter earlier this year, I thought ahead to my 50th birthday which would fall in July. "What do I want to do" I asked myself, "that I haven't done?" It came to me that what I yearned for wasn't something new, but rather something old. I wanted to reconnect with some important people from my past. People who have loved me and whom I have loved. Friends and family that I have lost touch with but whose voices and faces still linger in my mind when something comes into the landscape that reminds me of them.

I decided to start to visit some of these important folks and get reacquainted. I wanted to celebrate what I held dear about them and to feel the love once again. So, I started with my college friend Rhoda and my closest relatives on my dad's side, the Hess family. It was as warm, cozy and comfortable as being wrappped in an old quilt being with them again. We laughed, cried and revisited old memories. We made some new ones as well. I came and left feeling blissfully blessed.

My Aunt Marion kindly followed this blog and made a list of her own favorite recipes from the Mennonite Community Cookbook. This is one she sent me. I tried it and it is delicious, sweet, and tasting of love like the many treats I ate so many years ago in her familiar kitchen in Lancaster County, PA. The name of this entry? Peculiar, I guess. I'd say it comes from the fact that it kind of rises while it bakes, then flops down again. It develops cinnamony valleys and subtle sugary peaks as it ascends and descends.

The people who love us are a great gift. They smile when they see us, they laugh at our stories, they cry over our sorrows. They share themselves with us. They lovingly remind us of unfortunate haircuts, bad boyfriends and childhood imaginary friends. As they age, the become all the more dear to us and we smile as we get to hold them close once again. It's a wonderful gift, being able to go back.

Here is the recipe as I made it this afternoon.

2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients together. Using two knives cut into shortening until the mixture is in fine crumbs.
Beat egg and add milk.
Add milk and egg gradually to dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
Put mixture into a greased 9 or 10 inch pie late.
Mix 1/3 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the batter.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

This recipe is adapted from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).
Cinnamon flop. Sweet, cinnamon topped, densely delicious.

Urging you to reconnect with the love in your past,


  1. It's good to see you posting again. I read it as much for the way you write about the best things in life as for the recipes.

    I've taken a long hiatus from my blogspot. After my sis's death in March I lost other extended family members from my mom's side of our family. I keep thinking how I could write about grief in a way that wouldn't send readers fleeing. But then not writing at all doesn't keep them coming. Perhaps I just need to start writing.

  2. I use and love this recipe! When I was a child, my mom always baked this for her neighborhood Bible study ladies. Now I make it often for Sunday morning breakfast. Soooo good.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful blog. You are a wonderful writer. I discovered recently that some of my grandmother's family were Mennonite Brethren, and a relative told me about the Mennonite Community Cookbook, which I ordered yesterday. I am hoping to becoming a better cook with these recipes.