Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Julia's Exploration Three: Food as culture

One of my favorite foods is my mother’s version of the German chocolate cake. She creates her special cake about twice a year for birthdays in my family. While this cake is incredibly delicious it takes a lot of preparation and a few hours of time for to make. This cake is a round three tiered cake, with each cake layer being German chocolate, and in between each layer is coconut-pecan filling. Though traditionally these cakes don’t have icing on the outside, this is what makes my mother’s cake a little different; she makes extra icing and coats the entire exterior of the cake.
While this cake can be rather complicated and tedious to create, after some practice it can be easily made. After melting chocolate, mixing sugar,  adding buttermilk, and combining various other ingredients extra care needs to be made when folding in the egg whites. This is to make they are added gently to the mixture and doesn't cause them it to be too soft. After the batter is mixed and placed in the oven the icing can be started. The icing is fairly simple, consisting mostly of sugars, coconut, and pecans. Though it is simple, the icing is quite delicate and needs to be watched carefully while cooking. After all this you will have a great tasting cake and many happy guests.  

One of my traditions is eating a peppermint pig for Christmas Eve with my grandparents. While this candy is rather simple, being molded peppermint, it's a fun family treat during the holidays. In Victorian tradition the pig was a symbol of happiness, prosperity, and health, this carries on with the peppermint pig. In the city of it's origins, Saratoga Springs, New York, the peppermint pig was brought to the church where everyone would take a turn tapping the pig with a small hammer for a piece of peppermint. All the while people would be telling stories of sweet memories and also their hopes for the future. My family does much the same thing, we each take turns tapping the pig and telling stories, 
laughing all the while, it's because of the peppermint pig fun that I have come to love this traditional food. 


  1. I have never heard of a peppermint pig, that is very interesting! I now want to go try one. I think it is very interesting that you have such a meaningful purpose behind a seemingly simple peppermint pig. (:

  2. That is such a cool tradition! My family does something similar where we go around telling stories and I love it.

  3. That German cake looks soo good! it probably makes birthdays that much more special! I also have never heard of the peppermint pig but I think thats a really cool tradition