Black Oil Cake

I don’t think any act of kindness, random or not, goes unnoticed by the world. You may not know what your simple act does for someone, but I believe that all kinds of acts have a positive domino effect.

When I moved to Kansas City to start at KU Med, I was so excited to get my first apartment. Mine, on my own, by myself, no roommates, whoa. However, I had nothing, and I mean nothing. So my beloved Aunt Joan Clark and her best buddy Henrietta Gray went to work. This was before the days of cheap Chinese imports, Pier One, Ikea, etc., so hand-me-downs were in order.

Those two women must have hit everyone up in Savannah, Avenue City, Helena and Cosby. Donations for my first digs included mismatched water glasses, pots, pans and so on. I thought everything was wonderful. (This was before eclectic was fashionable.) I didn’t care about the jumble of stuff, it was beautiful in my eyes, and so were they.

My much-loved aunt is no longer with us. Henrietta, aka Henry, is still here and I hope she reads this article. Your act of kindness will always be remembered. AND your cake … (of course I have a food-related memory).

Black Oil Cake

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 egg yolks

Beat together.

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together and add to oil mixture.

Add one cup boiling water and 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake about one hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.


3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

Combine, stirring. and cook until thick, then cool.

Cream together:

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Then blend into cooked and cooled mixture. Frost cooled cake.

When I was really feeling under the weather, one of my best friends made me soup. Since she was Italian, this is her version of restorative soup.

Foodie Act of Kindness

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup diced ripe tomatoes (either canned or fresh diced)

4 eggs

Herbs of choice: 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons mix of chopped mint and parsley or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano

Lightly sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant, do not brown. Add chicken broth, cool over high heat two minutes, then add tomatoes, lower heat to simmer.

Crack each egg into small bowl, slide into simmering soup. Sprinkle with herbs. Cover and cook until eggs reach desired doneness, firm on the outside, soft and running within. This should take about three minutes.

Remove each poached egg to a bowl, ladle hot soup over it. Sprinkle with cheese if desired; she used grated pecorino, I use parmesan to taste. The amount of soup will be small. Serve immediately.