This week’s calendar entry finds my grandfather casting his eyes across the country, while my grandma keeps hers focused across the street.
My grandma, the soul of practicality, is reminding herself to bake a cake for church on Sunday, two days later. (My grandparents and great-grandma went to a church across the street from their house.)
If I wanted to make a cake in her style, I imagine something basic from Joy of Cooking would probably do it. No seven layers of red velvet need apply.
I remember her more for her pies — blueberry, in particular — than her cakes. But February in Connecticut isn’t blueberry season. So, cake it was. Probably a sheet cake of some sort, with a modest coating of frosting.
I do have one of her cake recipes in my collection, for a chocolate zucchini cake. I don’t believe I’ve ever made it. I’m too slack to transcribe it, but anyone who wants to click the following pictures to their full size can probably read it.
The church whose congregants once enjoyed my grandma’s sheet cake is still there, though it seems to have a slim grasp on its history. They’re welcome to mention my grandma’s cake if they want.
Meanwhile, my grandpa is recording, in some detail, the gas rationing plan that took effect that day in a state where he did not live and certainly wasn’t going to drive through any time soon.
Perhaps he saw the rationing plan (or perhaps it was presented by the media) as a model that other states would eventually adopt. Maybe that’s why he paid so much attention to it.
Or, maybe he was just genuinely struck by the idea of rationing a product he’d always taken for granted.
(Not necessarily true: He’d lived through World War II, when any number of things were rationed. So the idea of rationing, in and of itself, would not have been foreign to him. Maybe he was caught by the idea that it needed to happen in peacetime.)
As best I can determine, Connecticut never put gas rationing in place during the 1973-74 energy crisis.
So my grandpa never had to remember whether his license plate was odd or even — though, knowing him, I bet he could have rattled it off anyway.
The New York Times archives say Connecticut, along with New York and New Jersey, did adopt odd-even rationing in the early summer of 1979. We don’t have my grandfather’s calendar for that year, though I imagine he took plentiful notes of the restrictions, their start and their finish.
Rationing also came to the Nutmeg State two years ago, long after my grandpa’s passing, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It will probably come again someday. Maybe I’ll blog about it then, upholding my grandfather’s tradition of marking things that have nothing to do with my daily life.