For this weeks Heirloom Recipe Series, I am delighted to have Wendy Read with us – Founder & Chief Jamrista of Sunchowder’s Emporia. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful packaging of Sunchowder’s jams – I just adore the simplicity and am sure you’ll see why. And, I tend to be a sucker for jams – they seem so fabulously Southern and remind me of roadside stands on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What recipe are you sharing with us?

I am sharing my Grandmother Ida’s sponge cake recipe.  I have photographed the original card which is in my mother’s handwriting.  My Mom stored all of her recipe cards in her very special Cream and Red American Home Menu Maker tin container from the early 1950’s.  The box had room for two sets of recipe cards, side-by-side with cream-colored tabs for Fish and Poultry, Meats and Eggs and Cakes and Fillings and Frostings.  I used to love when my Mom took out her recipe box and started to sort through them, flicking them back and forth with her index and middle finger until she found that one recipe she was looking for,  and then we could anticipate the great dish  to come.

What makes this recipe meaningful to you?

My grandmother used to come and visit us every month when I was growing up. She always came with her blue valise (which is the word she used for her suitcase), a black purse in the winter (or a white purse in the summer), lots of fabulous costume jewelry,  a hair net,  and she was usually carrying a blue tin which originally contained  Kjeldsen’s Danish Butter Cookies. But we knew better, my brothers and I, there weren’t any butter cookies inside, there was a sponge cake inside, a delicious, fresh, sponge cake that my Grandmother had baked just for us.   She would always add a special touch of  lemon zest or orange zest and we couldn’t wait to sit down to a slice.

She would line the tin with waxed paper and place the tube cake carefully inside and then cover with another layer of wax paper, and close the tin.  I can almost smell the cake now as I imagine her opening it for us; she would grip the sides with her fingers and turn it round and round working the lid until it would slide off, and the scent of fresh cake would waft up and out to our waiting plates and forks.

What photos are you sharing with us?

I have photographed my Mom’s original recipe card and laid it on top of her tin recipe holder.  I also photographed the cherished tin that held my Grandma’s sponge cake when she came to visit us, I love this tin and wouldn’t give it up for the world.   Both the tin and recipe box are some of my absolute treasures, you see I lost my Grandmother Ida in 1990 and my Mother Ruth  in 1991.  These memories of enjoying food together are the ones that are the strongest and the truest for me.  When I bake or cook a dish that we used to share together, it makes me feel closer to both of them.

A bit more about Wendy & Sunchowder’s Emporia:

Wendy’s products can be found nationwide.  She owns Sunchowder’s Emporia and is an Artisan Jam, Chutney and Pickle producer.  She lives in Florida and produces tropical and seasonal products.  Her jams are all made in small batches using  French Copper Pots.   She does not use commercial pectin, corn syrup, colors, additives or preservatives in any of her products.   She loves to preserve the harvest and takes pride in being part of the revival
of canning in America.    You can  find out more about Wendy and also find her products at www.sunchowdersemporia.com.

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Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

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