Topic: "Caramel or Carmel?"(3)
The old Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, now a center for commuter trains to the Pennsylvania suburbs, now includes a Farmer's Market. Amish, from the counties around Lancaster, bring produce, handmade items, and baked goods directly to the consumer. Frodo, in earlier days, would spent countless lunch hour diversions from Mount Doom looking, talking, listening, smelling, and tasting. One day, while lusting after the baked goods, with a special emphasis on peanut butter cookies, he noted a familiar product; that which he had always known as a "Red Velvet Cake." Frodo entered into a discussion with a young lady half his age who convincingly argued that this was an Amish creation. Frodo had never really thought about it, he always just assumed it was something Bilbo had discovered in a cookbook.
Frodo previously discussed "buttermilk drops," and his introduction to that delicacy in the City of Orleans. His all-time favorite culinary creation however, is mentioned in his bio, and has been the subject of but a single query in these many postings. Frodo's curiosity about a southern writer, who happens to have grandchildren, was piqued when she mentioned that she, too, loves "caramel cake."
Caramel cake was first presented to Frodo by his Father's last surviving sister, the grand Alma, who spread a sugary, ready-to-die-for caramel covering over a white cake in a pan. The pan was probably a foot-and-a-half long, about a foot wide, and maybe three inches deep. She lived most of her life in West Virginia, and today exists in a facility designed for those without memory. She always made a caramel cake for Frodo's birthday.
After Frodo moved far away, Bilbo took over the assignment of caramel cake for Frodo, and Frodo swears that it was almost as good as that created by the grand Alma. Now Bilbo fixes things for Bilbo, and special treats for others occur only occasionally. Sam has all the talent and creative skill of the grand Alma, and the caramel cake which sporadically appears is no doubt touched by the Hand of God.
Sigh. Long time until the old birthday rolls around again. Frodo wonders if that lady in Mississippi would maybe like to split a caramel cake with her new-found friend?