Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vivian and The Lemon Loaf

Brace yourself, this turned out to be a really long post. I apologize in advance for the wordiness and endless pictures and……

Well, you will see.

We haven’t had a recipe in a long time. Goodness I have been falling down on the job haven’t I. I hang my head in shame.

But first the story. Come on! you had to know there was a story behind the recipe. How long have you been hanging around here?

So, when HHBL and I first moved back to The Frozen Northeast Ohio (26.5 years ago) we went to a very small church in a town north of us. And at the church there was a woman named Vivian. Vivian was the perfect example of why you never judge a book by it’s cover. Oh yes.

Vivian wasn’t lovely on the outside. Far from it. She was square of shape, gray of hair and gruff of voice. But inside. Oh inside she was a gooey sweet marshmallow of a woman. If you needed anything Vivian was there for you. She was a nurse. She never married but her dogs and cats were her children. She had six dogs who had the run of the house and the bed and the outside. She had a dog door installed so that they could go in and out any time they wanted, rain or shine, winter or summer. Vivian always said that it was so that the dogs stopped bothering her but really it was because she loved them so. She had her front yard fenced in and the grass was very rarely mowed so when you pulled up to her house you might not see the dogs until they burst from the underbrush with barking enthusiasm. Dogs bring fleas inside. Vivian’s solution to that was just to have the house fumigated once a year.

And then there were the cats who didn’t go outside. But Vivian loved them and wanted them to have the “outside experience” so she had a cage installed in one window so that the cats could “sit” outside and get away from the dogs..

And then there was the family of raccoons that she allowed to live in the back of her old, and nonfunctional station wagon. In the garage.

Vivian loved to bake. Cookies. Cake. Breads. And when she was done she would let all the dogs lick the bowls clean. We just hoped and prayed that she washed the pans afterwards. It wasn’t unheard of to get a dog hair in the bread.

This recipe comes from Vivian. I miss her greatly even though she has been gone for many years. Pancreatic cancer overcame her outsized personality a mere two months after diagnosis in 1998. I should tell you that it makes three loaves so you can eat one right away, share one and put one in the freezer for next week. Vivian would probably tell you just to enjoy yourself and eat all three loaves. She would just make you more.


You are going to need eggs. Lots of eggs.


And then there is the butter. Lots of butter. A whole POUND of butter. Vivian believed in butter.


And sugar! A whole mountain of sugar for the loaf and then a small hill of sugar for the glaze.


And an entire continent of flour. No one said that I was a neat baker. A bit of flour must be spilt at times. This is also the reason why you turn your mixer on LOW when you start out.


And then there are the lemons. 6 of them to be exact. Both zest and juice will be used. Vivian always said that you needed to boil the whole lemons for 5 minutes to release all the juice. Ummmm. I don’t do this. I am lazy. But you knew that.


First I zest the lemon rind and set that aside. Then I just mash down on the lemons and roll them around on the counter. Release the juice that way. And then I cut them in half and use a fork and twist motion.


It is sometimes hard on the fork.


They gave their lives for my pleasure. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


Oh be still my palpitating heart. Sugar and butter and lemon OH MY!


And after everything is expertly mixed I can tell you that it isn’t the dog who gets to lick the bowl clean.


Oh Alpha Male you are so cruel to me.

And after the loaves are all baked to perfection they are removed from the oven and holes are poked in them. You pour the lemon/sugar syrup you have made (directions in recipe below) over the loaves and let it sink in. And absorb. And meld.

Oh heavens.


But this is what happens if you do not grease the bottom of the pan well enough AND take the loaf out of the pan when it is too warm. We will eat this one……soon.



Now to go and make more coffee and dig in.

Link to recipe >>>> Lemon Loaf <<<< Link to recipe


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