very family has what I call “special stu;”—those beloved
foods whose mere mention conjures up wildly vivid
memories, complete with heavenly aromas. Homemade
cinnamon rolls on a winter morning. Spaghetti sauce
simmering on the stove. Mom’s fresh-baked chocolate chip
cookies. Uncle John’s famous barbecued chicken. You get the idea.
Admit it: You are probably, at this moment, making a mental list
of your own family’s special stu;.
We have an abundance of specialness in the Cassidy clan. But
I believe my sisters and brother would agree with me that the most
hallowed of “stu;” was what we called Gaga’s Three-Holer, Gaga being
my grandmother and the “three-holer” being just about the moistest
devil’s food cake on earth. It was so moist that it could be enjoyed
easily without frosting (quite something for four avid frosting lovers).
Almost as good as eating it was standing on a kitchen chair and helping
her make it: sifting the flour, sugar and cocoa not once but three times;
carefully carving just the right size holes in the dry ingredients for
the vinegar, oil and vanilla; pouring in the water (no measure, simply
“to cover all”). Then sitting in agonizing wait for it to bake and cool.
A simple and simply made treat, it was, and remains, the birthday
cake of choice for all of us Cassidys. Even our children, for whom
Gaga is a distant memory or a mostly benevolent ancestor, know
what a three-holer is. (Although I’m pretty sure that at the top of
their special stu; list is something fondly known as “squirrel soup”—
but I’ll save that story for another day.)
Just writing this has started such a flood of memories for me!
And really, that’s what makes food so special—how it nurtures
our spirits as profoundly as it nourishes our bodies—and why the
magazine in your hands is the largest food magazine in the whole
world. Because it is, in the end, a collection of your special stu;—
breakfasts and dinners, snacks and desserts, foods that have nourished
and nurtured and created memories for your families in the same way
Gaga’s Three-Holer did for mine.
Enjoy this issue. Below, I’ve shared a few of my favorite examples
of your special stu; ;
CATHERINE CASSIDY Editor in Chief
What’s a special
ingredient you use to add
oomph to everyday foods?
I like to double the amount of
garlic called for in a recipe—we’re
big garlic eaters! Reader Kathy Lowe
of Des Moines, Iowa, likes to use picante
sauce in place of ketchup to add zip to
her meat loaf. To give her instant pudding
a mousse-like texture, Sallie Ward of
Menomonie, Wisconsin, stirs in sour
cream. And I love how Maija Bowens
of Millersburg, Indiana, sneaks extra
vitamins in her whipped potatoes:
She adds infant rice cereal!
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO:
put “Catherine” on the subject line
Go Bananas Whoopie
Pies, page 27
Cocktail, page 20
Rustic Fig, Onion and
Pear Tart, page 67