It was a most unexpected find,

When I least expected it,

Years after my mother had passed away,

And I was searching, one day,

For a recipe of hers,

In her Ida Bailey Allen cookbook,

the only cookbook she ever owned

And from which, I, in turn,

Learned to bake Hermits and Old-Fashioned

Oatmeal cookies and brownies, and Peanut butter cookies,

When I discovered scribbled notes on the margin

On a page in a book–this book

Mommy’s Ida Bailey Cookbook–

My mother’s distinctive handwriting,

I recognized it immediately and a warm flush enveloped me–

It was alongside a recipe called Hungry Man’s cake

The page itself was stained and scorched

from being too close to the stove,

but on the margin, she had written

“Pete’s Favorite”

and I was like a hungry man myself,

leafing through the book, page by page,

Hoping to find more  scribbled notes,

but, more to the point,

What I wondered was,

Why didn’t I ever know that it was

Daddy’s favorite   cake?

Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted 2009/updated May, 2018

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