Cooking with Myra: There's no such thing as chance
March 29, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 28, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.
Lavender Pound Cake
2 cups butter (4 sticks)
31/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
12 large eggs, separated
21/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. sweet sherry
1 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Combine the flour and baking powder, and gradually add butter; beating until mix is a smooth paste. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and light. Add sherry and lavender, then beat in butter and flour mixture. In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form a stiff peak, but are not dry. Quickly fold the whites into the flour mixture. Gently incorporate whites, so that batter will be lighter. Turn batter into a well-greased Bundt pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a straw inserted near the center comes out clean.
Recipe will make four baby cakes. These are made in mini-Bundt pans.
Combine powdered sugar and milk for an optional glaze. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, to powdered sugar until the correct consistency is reached. Mixture should be creamy.
Yarn Shop of Victoria
104 Kelly Drive, Victoria, TX, 77904
There is no such thing as chance, and what seems to us mere accident, springs from the deepest source of destiny.
- Friedrich Schiller
Most of our days are filled with ordinary occurrences of going to work, cooking, or taking care of children.
But sometimes, the veil is removed and we see how all our lives are intertwined and form a meaningful whole.
About a month ago, a friend called me and told me Victoria was getting a new yarn store. I was elated to hear the news because I really like to knit.
I inquired whether she knew "the who, where and when" of the shop, but she didn't, only that she knew it was going to happen. For the next couple of weeks, when talking to my knitting friends, I would ask about the shop, but no one seemed to have heard anything. I kept my hopes up and read the newspaper to see if I could spot any grand opening advertisements and none appeared.
Several weeks later, while I was recovering from "scratch and dent" surgery, my friend, Janet, suggested I needed an outing. She picked me up and we made a tour of several plant nurseries. Shopping for flowers always brightens my spirit. We went in search of new spring geraniums.
We pulled into a parking place at our first stop and started the flower quest. After purchasing several plants and a new pot, Janet carried the purchase to the truck, but was struggling to lift the pot. A young guy rushed to her aid.
I was already in the truck with seatbelt on, and since I was post-surgical, I could not do any heavy lifting anyway.
Always on the lookout for someone to help me in the flowerbeds, I asked Janet to inquire if he might be interested in spreading some mulch. He was, after all, in a truck with a trailer.
He smiled a broad smile and said that he and his wife were getting ready to open a new yarn shop. I could not believe it.
Now, I might add that I had mentioned to Janet on the way to the nursery that I had still not uncovered the knitting shop mystery, but hoped the rumor was true. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to wait and now, low and behold, here was Justin, the new owner, standing before me.
He probably thought I was kind of crazy since I was smiling from ear to ear and saying, "I cannot believe I found you."
The fact was that somehow Justin and I happened to be in the same place at the same instant in Victoria, Texas, U.S.A. Surely this was some sort of cosmic intersection of fate. Or maybe just he and I happened to be at the nursery at the same time.
We exchanged phone numbers, and I promised to call his wife and stop by their new location. Several days later, I pulled up to the shop and out of the door spilled their three children, Faith, Brenna and Wyatt.
His wife, Mary, greeted me and we talked about the yarns she would be carrying and her love of knitting. She showed me her current project, and I asked her how she got into knitting.
She was self-taught and had learned to knit a project at a time, getting better each time she picked up the needles.
Their son, Wyatt, had been sick and had to be hospitalized at Texas Children's in Houston. Mary and Justin were living there at the time. While at the hospital, she spent hours at Wyatt's bedside and while roaming the halls, she decided to knit baby hats for the preemie infants.
From the humble hat beginning, she progressed to socks and then shawls and sweaters.
Mary also completed a knitting commission of hats for a professional baseball team. I don't watch much baseball on TV, but if you happen to see a professional team wearing knitted hats, she made those.
About a year ago, she and Justin decided to move from Houston to Victoria to be near family and her dream of opening a yarn shop became a reality.
While we talked, Justin told me his mother's name was Sharon, and he reminded me that years ago, I had the opportunity to visit with her when she was diagnosed with cancer. Another coincidence?
I walked from one room to another, stroking the beautiful yarns, all so different in color, texture and weight. Beautiful spring colors and rich hues of wool lined the shelves. I wanted to touch them all.
I promised to come back when the rest of the shop was put together, so I could see all the yarn and bring my friend, Judy, (one of my knitting mentors), and Janet, (one foot in the knitting world and the other in needlepoint kingdom).
When we returned later to the shop, I brought a lavender pound cake for Mary and Justin and a baby cake version for the kids. The shop has taken shape with yarn lining most of the walls and knitting needles neatly hung, waiting for willing hands to take hold and create a masterpiece.
I talked with Mary about her plans for beginner lessons and a knit night. She and Justin hope to gauge the interest and accommodate their customers. There is an upstairs room just waiting for a table filled with friends knitting and talking (and maybe eating).
An online shop should also be a reality by summer.
For now, Justin and Mary look forward to making friends at the shop and selling a lot of beautiful yarn. I cannot wait for the shop to open. I plan to go by and watch their dream unfold.
The soft opening, an appropriate term for a place where everything is soft, will be April 5, giving Mary and Justin time to work out the kinks.
There are few hobbies that can calm your mind and your nerves like knitting. The rhythm that naturally comes to my fingers as they repeat the stitches allows my mind to settle, and before I realize it, I have completed half of a scarf.
I am unsure of how things work together in our world, but know it is not random. There is probably a reason, yet to be revealed, that I have made friends with Mary and Justin, but I know I will have a wonderful time in their shop.
Here's to adding some texture and color in all of our lives and making something special.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email email@example.com.