Kathy Fields is my brother’s mother-in-law and one of the most generous people I know. I first met her when my family moved to Georgia nine years ago. It was Thanksgiving, and she figured (rightly so) that we didn’t know a soul down here, so she invited us to her home for turkey dinner with my brother Terry and his wife (Kathy’s daughter, Kris). We’ve been going back every year since.
Kathy is married to Tony. Several years ago, when Tony’s mother reached that inevitable age when she could no longer live on her own, Tony and Kathy invited her to live in their home. Bertha (really, could there be a more perfect name?) lived with Tony and Kathy a few years and I was lucky enough to spend some Thanksgivings with her.
Bertha grew up on a chicken farm. At any given time there were any where between 300 and 400 chickens around. One day, when Bertha was living with Kathy, Kathy asked her, “Would you like to get an ice cream?” And Bertha said, “I’d rather get a chicken.” So they got a chicken.
Kathy’s first chicken was a White Leghorn. She just got the one, and it roamed around her yard and would lay maybe one egg a day. The neighborhood kids would come and feed it and hold it. Unfortunately, Kathy’s dog found it just as intriguing and that was the end of the chicken.
A little over a year ago, Kathy brought chickens back into her life. My brother and his wife had a daughter, and she thought it would be a fun way to spend some time together. Their names are Princess Lady Gaga Sunshine, Chelsea, Princess Paula Dean, Blackie and Princess Buttercup. Clearly, there’s a lot of royalty in the family.
Kathy told me having chickens is like growing tomatoes. You can’t keep up with the harvest. She and Tony eat eggs every day, and still there are extras. So, she invited me and my family over for a ride on the lake and some lunch. I couldn’t wait to see what she was going to make with the eggs.
When we arrived at her house, there was a beautiful lemon bundt cake, a key lime pie AND a coconut cake. Talk about generous. Kathy said this was the ideal combination of desserts to make because the lemon cake used 4 eggs, the key lime pie 3 eggs yolks and the coconut cake 3 whites. Might I mention that she also made us some low country boil as an entrée? After an afternoon on the lake, it was a fantastic feast!
When my daughter was in elementary school, she had to write an essay on someone she admired. My daughter chose Kathy. One of my favorite lines in the piece was, “I like Kathy because she’s always up for it.” This is so true. Kathy is a fine example of a woman moving into the next phase of her life with grace and humor. She hasn’t given up on herself and continues to create fun memories for her family. I feel lucky to have her in my life.
I can’t end this post without mentioning that my husband and I are mildly obsessed with the imitation Andy Samberg does of Mark Wahlberg talking to farm animals. It never gets old to us, and having all these chickens in our lives (Mike’s sister also has chickens) has given us unlimited opportunities to pay homage. Every visit to Kathy’s or Lorie’s results in a non-stop back and forth of “Hey chicken. How’s it hangin’? I produce Entourage. You heard of that, right?” And of course, “Say hello to your mother for me!” BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The best! I’m laughing as I type!!!
Lemon Bundt Cake
This recipe is from Barefoot Contessa’s Parties!
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour your favorite bundt cake pan.
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cake is done, allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Remove it from the pan and set it on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over it. Allow the cake to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides. Yummy!