Coconut Pecan Oatmeal Cake
I lost a dear friend the other day. She was a kind of tragic character but I loved her anyway. In the five years since I met her we weathered her acrimonious divorce, jobs she didn’t like, kid problems, a couple of stupid boyfriends and one pretty good one. She helped me by listening to my constant ranting when my daughter was having trouble with some girls at school. She tasted my Pillsbury Bake-Off entries even when they consisted of deep fried crescent dough which no doubt clashed with the flavor of her martini and caused her to spend an extra hour on the treadmill. We laughed so hard we cried and spoke for hours on the phone about nothing at all. She didn’t even laugh too loudly when I backed into my daughter’s car on prom night. My life will be much lonelier without her.
Kim was a real dish, and you know I’m not talking about the kind you eat. More than one of my daughter’s 17 year old male friends fell in love with her at first sight. I, on the other hand, look like the typical mom but was never threatened by her hotness. She was my friend and she was everything I was not. I was her friend too and everything that she wasn’t. She was a pretty good cook. She really loved to give it a try when she was in the mood and did alright, but her love for instant mashed potatoes was a dead giveaway that she was less than passionate about cooking. The first time my son ate reconstituted potato flakes was at her house. He had no idea that there existed a seedy potato underbelly but thanks to her, he began to appreciate the peeling, boiling and mashing that went into the fluffy white mounds on his plate. She said her crock pot Taco Soup was her specialty but somehow I never got around to tasting it and now never will.
I, along with many others, will say farewell to her tomorrow. I’m not sure if there will be a funeral luncheon or not. In south Texas where I grew up this after party is absolutely obligatory. It is a time when the living exchange pleasantries, have pot luck and try to get their mind off of their grief. I have shamelessly tracked down some of my best homespun recipes at these gatherings as a way to get my mind of the task at hand. No matter the magnitude of our grief, the sun will rise tomorrow; new friends will be made and most certainly lost. Such is life, but with every day that we are able to enjoy it, we should embrace each other and take a big bite out of life and enjoy.
My favorite funeral luncheon recipe is the one that I share here today. Many years ago my mother’s stepmother made this cake for the funeral of one of her friends. My mother loved it and made it for years before we lost her too. It was a while before I could make my mom’s recipes without tearing up but now whenever I think of her I smile and am comforted. I think I’ll go and cut myself a piece because boy, do I ever need a bit of comfort today.