"Prune cake?" I uttered incredulously. I mimed gagging.
"No, no, it's great," insisted Darcy.
Apparently prune cake was a specialty in Darcy's household and both she and her sister Allison eagerly waited for their mom to bake it for them. One of the main ingredients was a jar of baby food prune puree. The thought of it rendered me speechless with horror.
The one and only time I ever ate this fabled prune cake was due to an inability to extricate myself gracefully from their house and leave before the cake was served. In self defense (and to mask the taste), I piled on what amounted to a pint of vanilla ice cream on my tiny slice of prune cake.
"A la mode?" asked their dad slyly, noting the generous mound of ice cream.
"A la couture," I retorted, aware of my lack of subtlety.
When Souris came through Georgia on her cross country trip from Boston to California, she stopped and stayed with me for an evening. When she departed, she left a jar of Gerber's chicken noodle baby food in my fridge. Apparently there's a predilection for baby food in my family because just recently, when I sent her out to pick up baby food for Puggle, Hani returned with a jar of pasta primavera baby food for our brother.
Puggle began solids (purees really) at 6 months.
He had carrots. And he was deliriously thrilled, squealing with wild delight at the new food -- the texture, the taste -- he simply couldn't get enough. In fact, he loves carrots so much I'm afraid he's going to turn orange from the beta carotene.
"It's good for his eyes," says Sunil.
And he has such lovely eyes, wavering between my brown and his father's hazel hue.
At first, I thought I would be making his food - fresh, home-made puree, the way my mom did for us. But so far, Pug's foray into solid foods has been Earth's Best and Gerber Organics.
There's a part of me that feels guilty: I think I should be making his food - God knows I have been his sole provider since day 1 so why am I buying processed stuff? I mean, I am dedicated enough to his organic well being that I took a breast pump with me to Ireland and froze, saved and brought back milk for him. I carried that backpack to Dublin ("You know, I really feel sorry for any would be thief who steals my backpack. All he's going to get is breastmilk.") , and into the oldest bar in the world, where I pumped milk in the women's bathroom. And I willingly endured the rage of fellow passengers when I took over the airplane bathroom to do the same. So surely I should make my own purees for him?
Approaching ten months old, Puggle has six baby teeth with two more coming in. He loves the new foods I've been giving him. He loves French Kiss melons. He's okay with Cheerios. He prefers Baby Mum Mum rice crackers - he likes to snap and crunch the small pieces between his teeth. He loves avocados. He didn't like pureed peas. I tried them. I didn't like them either.
He's a social baby. He enjoys eating at the dinner table with conversation going. He isn't happy when we feed him by himself. He likes a party.
He loves prunes. He does. I wonder to myself what he would think of prune cake?
This is not Darcy's family recipe but a similar version. If you make this, tell me how it comes out. The thought of it still leaves me horrified.
2 cups all purpose flour
3 t baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup of canola oil
1 small jar of pureed prunes or baby food prunes
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1 T Vanilla
1 t salt
Preheat oven to 325.
Beat oil and eggs together until incorporated. Add vanilla and prunes. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients into wet ingredients and beat until well mixed, about 2 minutes. Beat into oil all ingredients together for 3 minutes. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.