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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

No Strings. No Conditions.

February 19, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was one of those shows where I didn't want to miss a thing, so I waited until the Powdermilk Biscuit song to run and get the laundry, and halfway through, when Mr. Keillor reads the messages from audience members, is when I ran the hand mixer. It was coffeecake I was mixing up, a recipe from my childhood. My best friend Jodie's mother made it on Saturday mornings after we'd spent the night out on the pond chucking frog eggs at each other, and roasting marshmallows out behind the house, and giggling in our sleeping bags up on the floor in Jodie's room. The coffeecake was light and sweet and laced with cinnamon, and I always felt so good after a slice or two and a glass of juice. I was only in third grade, and somehow had it in me to ask for the recipe not too long before Jodie moved away. I've made it regularly ever since, and think of Jodie every time, and wonder where she is, and what she's done with her life, and whether she ever thinks of me.

I haven't had many of them in my life so I'm no expert, but it seems to me having a best friend is different for everyone. Some people keep the same best friend all their lives, and sometimes I envy that. Imagine someone knowing your history that way, and you knowing his or hers. I guess that's partly what siblings do, but you can't choose your siblings, and I know people who weren't as fortunate as I was in that department. Anyway, there are people who claim to have several best friends, and those who say it's possible to have only one at a time. Some say they married their best friend, while others claim a marriage and a best friendship are entirely different. And I have met people along the way who claim they've never really had a best friend.

Well, that's pretty sad. Because there's not much in the world like having someone love you no matter what. Despite how clumsy you are, and how you can't seem to shut your mouth for a minute during a movie, and how you buy them chocolate and end up eating half of it. These people, few and far between, just love you, and go on loving you. You forget your checkbook and they float you some cash. You show up late for lunch and they're waiting with a smile. You monopolize conversations, you get the wrong size sweater, you forget about aversions to licorice and to spicy foods, and they love you. Through all your whining and second-guessing and decision-making. Despite your passive aggressive and egocentric and sinful ways. You can be a perfectionist, and go to jail, even, or file for bankruptcy, and this one person, this best friend, loves you. No strings. No conditions. No expiration dates. Just love, until the cows come home, and ever after.

Comfort Food Season will be over soon with spring on its way, and this is one recipe you don't want to store away until fall. It's light and cinnamony, and you can put it together in the evening and bake it in the morning and everyone will wonder just how you do it.

Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffeecake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar

Cream butter, shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs.
Combine flour, soda, and salt. Add to mixture, alternating with sour cream and vanilla. Pour 1/2 batter in greased
9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 topping. Drop remaining batter on by spoonful, spreading slightly. Sprinkle with remaining topping.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

Optional: add 1 cup chopped pecans
to topping.

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