After a few—who am I kidding—MANY days in the intense heat, my dreams have started to turn polar.
While I’m in a REM stupor, I dream of Popsicles, penguins, snow and ice skating (which I suck at in real life, by the way). I’ll wake up in the mornings only to be immediately angered by the sticky hot sun sliding through the blinds on my bedroom window. You know how people get depressed during the winter because they’re stuck inside a dark, gloomy house all day and night? Something called seasonal depression? Well, news photographers get that all right…only during the summer.
I start my day by dreading going into work. It’s 99 degrees with high humidity during the afternoons (I start work at TWO PM!) so you’re guaranteed to be sweating your buns off in “feels like” 106 degree weather. And unfortunately for us, half the damn time our story is OUTSIDE. Fire? You’ll be standing outside for a long time next to a sweltering inferno that is melting a house to a pile of ash. Shooting? That’s an automatic two hours with the sun’s rays belting down upon so intensely it’s like you did something wrong and the sun is paying you back for it. Suspicious package? All heat, no reward. Almost guaranteed to be a lunch box, tool box, or a cardboard box of clothing…so you just wasted three hours watching your life melt away for absolutely no story. (PS: I’ve covered all of those items during a ‘suspicious package’ call)
So with all of this seasonal-summer-photog-depression, when you think food, you’re thinking something…cool. A salad, a sandwich, a taco, a burger, and gallons upon gallons of ice cream.
Or maybe some fruit. Mangoes, coconuts, kiwis, berries, citrusy fruits…I would say melons, but I LOATHE melons. All of ’em: watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. They all suck.
So I stumbled upon this recipe the other day in an old Oklahoma Centennial cookbook, and the way this recipe reads it sounds like an old one. Shortening? Who’s got time for shortening anymore? Anyway, the main ingredients made me think of a better time—spring, to be exact—when life was a lot, well, cooler. Pears & honey just sound so delightful; every time I see this recipe I think of hummingbirds and peonies and soft white calla lilies and puffy clouds. It’s magically, really.
…this recipe is magical, too. And I’m a crappy baker, so you know it’s good when I can make a delicious cake.
- 2 1/2 cans (or 3 cups) halved Bartlett pears, diced
- 10 TBS. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups chopped dates
- Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add honey & blend well.
- Soft together flour, salt, soda & spices.
- Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. With hand mixer, blend at low speed until moistened, then beat approximately 3 minutes at medium speed. Stir in pears and dates.
- Pour into a greased and floured tube pan.
- Bake 60-65 minutes at 350 degrees or until top springs back when touched lightly. Cool in pan for 30 minutes and then remove to a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar or make vanilla icing (2/3 cup powdered sugar, 4 tsp. milk & 1 tsp vanilla extract, mixed well with spoon) and drizzle on top.
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