by Liz Dierbeck
Chris and I have been hosting a weekly “south side” small group at our home, complete with potluck (how very Methodist!). No matter who ended up bringing what, we always seemed to have enough food to go around, and each meal was delicious. After breaking bread together, we put salt in our mouths, and discussed a section of the Bible, ranging from Ephesians to other books attributed to Paul. This past week, I turned our CSA bounty into our portion of the weekly feast: fresh salad from the two types of lettuce we received in our box, topped with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella; and pound cake with strawberry topping (presto: shortcake!).
As I am not a terribly adventurous cook, for dessert I looked at a number of shortcake recipes on Allrecipes.com, my go-to source. The cake, blessedly, was from a boxed mix; I baked it in two 9×9 pans so they’d be flat (rather than a loaf). There seemed to be enough leeway among the recipes that I could trust my eyes and sort of wing it with the sauce. I washed the entire quart of strawberries, lopped off the tops, and sliced them up, even the few pinkish-white ones. I combined these with 1/3 cup of white sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, then stirred the mix in a saucepan until it was bubbling gently. It looked a little runny, so I added in a few shakes of cornstarch (I’m guessing 2-3 tsp all together) and it thickened up just right. I chilled the mixture, and when it was all ready to serve, I combined the cakes with Cool Whip in the middle (thanks, Ronna!) and poured the mixture over the top.
We didn’t plan out exactly how our small group would go; we didn’t measure our progress in any way other than our growing understanding of each other, and more experience with the New Testament. In the end, it all came out right, even when we made up the “recipe” as we went along.