I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

There is a rule when writing an obituary, or any news story really, not to raise more questions than you have answers for. I apologize for breaking it yesterday. (Albeit in a pretty benign way…but still.)

To answer your questions:

My favorite Christmas story is actually a long prose poem by Dylan Thomas and my copy is beautifully illustrated. The best line is when after the house catches on fire, and the fire brigade arrives and puts it out (with the help of little boys with snowballs) and three of the firemen are standing in the steaming, smokey parlor among the cinders and melting snowballs, Miss Prothero, an elderly aunt who says the “right thing always” asks them “Would you like anything to read?”

Also, I should have included Grandma Smith’s recipe in the tale about the fallen coffee cakes as well. It’s fairly simple. The trick is using spring form pans with a hole in the middle.

…And making sure the butter, eggs and sour cream are room temperature before you begin.

Here is the recipe for one cake (it’s easy to double though. Well, easy if you pay attention. Or to paraphrase Thomas, easy for little star bakers.)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

(Combine those in a smaller bowl and set aside)

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks of butter

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon  vanilla (optional.. .I sometimes forget, and it still tastes fine.)

2 eggs

Topping: brown sugar, cinnamon, chocolate milk or hot cocoa powder

In a large bowl ( I use the big KitchenAid mixer as the dough can be a little stiff, and lock the arm or the bowl could go flying. Don’t ask me how I know this.) — Beat the butter ’til fluffy, add the sugar and cream them together, then add the eggs one a time and beat a little more, add the vanilla, and stir in the sourcream. When that’s all combined shake in the flour mixture and stir it up, slowly.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the topping. I use about a half a cup of brown sugar (or more? I don’t really measure this part) with a teaspoon (or a little more?) of cinnamon  and a tablespoon of chocolate milk mix or dried hot cocoa mix. ( I use the chocolate Ovaltine because that’s what’s in my cupboard.)

Assemble the cake:

Drop blobs of the wet batter in the well-buttered pan, shake some of the sugar topping on it (there can be gaps, the blobs will rise and fill the ring) then drop  a few more sticky blobs on top of the other ones, a little staggered, until the dough is all gone. (Again, it will be lumpy with some gaps, but they will bake out) and then sprinkle more topping on the top.

Bake on a pizza pan (in case the pan is not super tight, mine are warped a bit) at 350 for about 50 minutes, and if it is not done bake a little longer. Cool on a rack for a while, then pop the spring on the side of the pan, lift it off gently, and turn the base upside down to drop the cake out of the ring onto a plate and then (using two plates) flip it right side up so the sugar topping is… on the top. Let it cool completely before you wrap it up and give it away.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the lynx that tried to eat the chickens on Boxing Day. (He was not successful but it was exciting.) But now I have to go outside while there is actual sunshine. We have two more minutes of daylight today than we did yesterday, and what bright winter light it is. (Chip calls this “Hollywood snow”.)