Busting out my DVD of Christmas on Sesame Street and preparing to make the annual sausage cake. Yes, there’s really sausage in it.Aw, Mr. Hooper! This is making me cry already. Not good. BTW, Big Bird ice skates about as well as I do.
Now, sausage cake is a regular Christmas tradition (whether I’m dieting or not), but I hadn’t seen Christmas Eve on Sesame Street in years and years. So, when I decided to combine the two into a new yuletide tradition, I hadn’t counted on the fact that Sesame Street would make me bawl.
I’m not sure why this happens. Maybe my 32-year-old heart just can’t handle remembering what it felt like to be a wondering little four-year-old. When something hits me just right, though, like this DVD bringing back those memories of curling up with Mom and Memaw, watching my favorite Christmas specials by the flicker of pillar candles — I just lose it. I used to be such a rock, too.
Anyway, between wondering whether kids these days know that there really was a Mr. Hooper, and realizing that David really was pretty cute, and signing (and singing) along with Keep Christmas With You, I actually did manage to make some sausage cake.
I mentioned yesterday on Facebook that I’d be making sausage cake soon. Some of the responses:
Barb: sausage cake?
Me: it’s a family tradition! it’s like a spice cake, with raisins and cinnamon, but with sausage and chuck in the mix. supposed to be an old welsh recipe.
Manh: sausage cake?, i was thinkin’ the same thing
Barb: Hmmm, sounds interesting but I think I’ll pass…
Jess: I don’t know about sausage cake… is it greasy or do you brown and rinse the meat prior to adding to the cake?
As I’ve mentioned before, the sausage cake is a Cook family holiday tradition. Since I’m sworn to secrecy about the recipe, I can’t share with you all the gory details, but there are some parts of the baking that really hark back to my childhood, like mixing the ingredients with my hands (see above). It looks gross, but it’s the perfect job for little hands, and it brings back great, giggly memories.
There are other parts that my mom used to do that make me feel grown-up now, like making the brown sugar topping. It’s kind of a candymaking sort of affair, and it takes a strong arm to beat the syrup as it cools. It’s also a challenge to pour the topping on the cakes before it hardens. I remember watching Mom making this when I was a child, standing nearby and smelling the spices and listening to the sound of the brown sugar syrup as it crackled and cooled.
I wonder if any of my more distant cousins on Grandpa Cook’s side of the family make this recipe every year? I wonder if they have memories of it like I do? Wouldn’t it be neat if I met or wrote to my cousins someday, and we had this in common?
I wonder how far back this recipe goes…?