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Let’s Cook: Congratulation graduates

Graduations across America this year will not be as planned due to COVID-19. Whenever I hear Pomp and Circumstance, I know that a ceremony of grandeur is likely to follow. This musical number is almost exclusively connected to graduation ceremonies from high school or colleges and universities. What do you feel when you hear Pomp and Circumstance being played? Personally, it always brings forth a great sense of pride and joy knowing that another class has completed this important milestone in life.

Who knows if band members can be socially distanced to play at graduations? Perhaps Pomp and Circumstance will be prerecorded so that those in attendance can enjoy this traditional graduation music. Schools and administrations are working diligently to create graduation ceremonies that reflect the pride and honor that is such an important part of graduation day. It is difficult to think that many graduations will have restricted guests as this is traditionally a day for mass gatherings of family and friends. Many guests do not remember the commencement speaker’s address, but they do, however, remember several things from the receptions: the tastiness of the potato salad, the flavorful and beautiful cake, and the enjoyment of visiting with friends, family, and the guest of honor. Always of interest to me has been the design of the glass snack tray (the green way to serve) and the punch bowl. Don’t kid yourself–there are a lot of snack trays are still hanging around and would love to be featured at a graduation party.

Part of graduation involves passing on common-sense advice for the future, quotes that inspire, and even a reflection on one’s own class motto. This part of graduation can continue because it can be shared in a card, phone conversation, on even a letter. You may have to forego the homemade potato salad with cooked dressing but sharing bits of wisdom can continue and social distancing will not be a concern.

To the 2020 graduates here are Twelve Reminders by Marshall Field that you can use for a lifetime.

The value of time.

The success of perseverance.

The pleasure of working.

The dignity of simplicity.

The worth of character.

The power of kindness.

The influence of example.

The obligation of duty.

The wisdom of economy.

The virtue of patience.

The improvement of talent.

The joy of originating.

You will (and/or maybe already have) discovered that there is a beautiful pattern to be woven in life when we engage our gifts and talents with others to make this world a better place. As we step forward, the weaving of laughter, respect of others, faith, and love of learning brings forth a pattern to be admired for a lifetime.

Congratulations to all 2020 graduates. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “Follow your bliss. Find where it is and don’t be afraid to follow it.”

Busy Day Bundt Cake

Here is a dessert recipe that is easy to make with a cake mix. When the duties of springtime limit time in the kitchen, this is a go-to recipe. It features stabilized whipped cream that will hold up for 4 to 5 days without separating.

1 package of yellow cake mix

1/2 cup of cream of coconut

1/2 cup of pineapple juice

4 eggs

1/3 cup of oil

1/2 cup of crushed pineapple, well drained

Strawberries, kiwi for garnish

1 1/2 cups stabilized whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or a 9×13-inch cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, eggs and oil. Blend well, then fold in crushed pineapple. Place in prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes; cake is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cook on a wire rack. If using a Bundt pan allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Orange Icing

1 cup of powder sugar

Enough fresh squeezed orange juice to make an drizzle plus 1 tablespoon of orange rind. Blend and drizzle over cake.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

3 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup powered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine gelatin with water; let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and stir constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, but do not allow to thicken.

In a large mixing bowl, whip cream, sugar and vanilla until slightly thick. On low speed, gradually add gelatin, then beat on high until cream is thick and peaks hold their shape. This will keep without separating for 4 to 5 days.

When serving with Bundt Cake a small amount of crushed pineapple can be added to whipped cream, if desired.

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