Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mrs. Baum's Apple Cake

More than 20 years ago, when I was pregnant with Graham and eager for delivery, another friend who was pregnant with her late-arriving daughter called me with news. "I heard that eating hot and spicy Thai food will bring on labor," she said. Suffice it to say, we were soon in the car and heading out to meet them for dinner.

Before midnight, her water broke and their daughter soon followed. I went into labor that day and Graham arrived early the next morning.

I have shared this story with many women who, while excited to finally meet their baby, looked miserable at the prospect of having to carry it for even one more day. I told my next-door neighbor about the hot-and-spicy Thai trick a few years ago when she was a few days past due. Her mother excitedly shared the news the next day that it had worked. It also worked for with her next arrival.

I feel sure there are other things at play here, but the scientific weight of my theory led me to share this tip with another new neighbor a week or so ago. They were rounding the corner for home after walking their dog and, with hand on heavy belly, she declared they were going out for dinner. As soon as possible.

Days went by and we saw no banners or balloons. Tim heard today that their son had indeed joined the family, so I decided this time to offer something I'm certain works: Mrs. Baum's Apple Cake, from Anita Pritchard's Back-to-Basics American Cooking (Putnam, 1983). As you can see from years of splotches, it's something I've made many times. It's easy, delicious and often can be made from just pantry ingredients, which was the case today.

Once cooled, Tim delivered it and learned that little William Carter arrived last Saturday -- which, come to think of it, might have been right around the time they went out for Thai dinner...

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