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Friendship Cake

A Novel

Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
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“I would welcome a friendship with Lynne Hinton. I would welcome an invitation to sit down at her table, but mostly I would welcome her next book.”
—Maya Angelou


Lynne Hinton’s beloved bestselling classic, Friendship Cake, is a beautiful, poignant, and funny novel of five small-town women friends that offers inspiring life lessons in faith, love, strength, survival, and community—as well as a host of delicious Southern recipes! A heartwarming delight reminiscent of Jan Karon’s New York Times bestselling Mitford books, Friendship Cake, in the words of Rita Mae Brown (Rubyfruit Jungle), “will give you plenty to chew over. Delicious!”

HarperCollins; May 2009
240 pages; ISBN 9780061944574
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Friendship Cake
Author: Lynne Hinton

Chapter One

The Cookbook Committee of the Hope Springs

Community Church is currently receiving

recipes for their upcoming Women's Guild Cookbook.

Anyone with recipes please contact one of the

following women: Margaret Peele, Louise Fisher,

Beatrice Newgarden, or Jessie Jenkins.

I here. That was short, to the point, and easy to type.Surely, Rev. Stewart wouldn't have a problem printing that in the bulletin. one could never be sure. She likes her announcements worded a certain way. At least four people I know of, personally, have seen their flower memorials and their thank-you notes shortened or added to by this woman pastor who thinks she has a flair for words.

Truth be told, no one really complains about what she does with the announcements, it just seems like a lot of work for a girl who appears not to have any extra time. After all, no one really cares if the flowers are "lovingly placed in memory" or simply "put at the altar." They just want to make sure their mama's name is spelled right and that each of the seven children is listed in correct birth order. Names and dates. That's what matters.

Sometimes I'm not sure the young pastor has a good hold on what really matters; but she tries hard and most of the people are warm to her, so I don't plan to rock her boat by saying such a thing to her. Besides, she's young, she'll learn. We all do.

This cookbook was not my idea. Since the Women's Guild is dying out, we're running out of money. It was Peggy Du Vaughn's notion that we needed to raise some money. And then I think it was Beatrice Newgarden, who has nothing better to do than volunteer at the funeral parlor, who agreed we should have a project. Great, I think, a project. Another project. And before I have a chance to write it down in my secretary's notes, it's a cookbook, and I'm in charge.

As far as cooking goes, I'm considered only fair by the women in this community. out here, everybody grows their own vegetables, has their own livestock, kills, milks, and cans. So every recipe begins with something like "Strip all the feathers from the bird" or "Make sure the roots and stems are cut." The standards are a little higher than say, Greensboro, where I took my sweet potato casserole to a women's meeting; and having set it down next to all the KFC boxes and the Winn-Dixie potato salad, was treated like I was Cordelia Kelly from Channel 2's cooking show.

Here, in the county, women grew up learning to cook before they were tall enough to reach the stove. It was the mother's and the grandmother's responsibility to make sure all the girls in the family could make a meal out of one strip of meat and a cup of beans. So we learned to cook. And we learned to be creative. We learned how to stretch dough across two weeks at three squares a day. We learned how to make soup from bones and old potatoes. And we learned to knead our sorrows and our dreams into loaves of bread and our worthiness into cherry pies and fatty pork chops.

When my mama died and I was ten, I lost interest in what the female gender does in the kitchen. My older sisters cooked and cleaned while I worked in the fields, on the tractor, and behind the woodshed. I did anything that kept me from standing in my mama's prints that were worn into the boards in front of the sink or cast in iron in the handles of skillets. Those days folks didn't know what to do with a grieving child, so they just let me do the work of men and left me to myself.

My daddy was solemn, not much with words or girt children. But because I looked the most like my mother and because I stayed as close to him as the film of dirt that crept from the fields into wrinkles and under nails, he paid me the most attention. I pretended for a very long time that my sisters and brothers didn't notice, but after he died I sensed the resentment and the stones of sibling rivalry as they pelted me with their grief-stricken stares.

I was, after all, the only one he would let shave him or feed him teaspoonsful of honey. His last five years he lived with each daughter and son, but everyone knew that he was saving my house for last. Like getting ready for retirement, Daddy mapped out his final six months with great care. When he left Woodrow's to enter the hospital for the eighth time, he sent his belongings to me, and, leaving the cancer unit, Daddy came home to 516 Hawthorne Lane to die.

Surely he knew that I was the only one who would pick him up and set him behind the wheel of the tractor, wait until the vomiting stopped, and then steer him across the pasture while he worked the pedals. I was the only one who would pad down the dirt and make a hard path so that I could push his wheelchair through the soybean field. I was the only child of his who would not mind hearing his stories over and over, help him reorder his memories, or who would sit with him through thunderstorms...

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