15 April, 2006

Poke Cake: The Ode

Jason and Mel don't know what Poke Cake is. I'm sad for them both, and for the rest of you who have missed out. Last night after I got Jason's comment, I started to write a comment response and went looking for the recipe.

I stumbled across some girl's LiveJournal post. There were many words detailing this young lady's hatred of America as a cultural wasteland--all because we eat poke cake.

Obviously America does have world class chefs and a perfectly credible national cuisine (of sorts), but I fear that Poke Cake has reinforced some of my worst prejudices concerning vast swathes of the population there. I am currently visualising Homer Simpson munching messily away at a slice inbetween glugs of Duff beer...


How sad. She has written off a truly refreshing delight simply because it seems beneath her refined taste. (Is now the time for me to make mention of the fact that her LiveJournal Avatar is a Unicorn?) So I must defend Poke Cake.

Poke Cake is the stuff of the Midwest.
If you've never been part of church in Midwestern America you may not have developed a taste for the particular dishes that are our unique brand of comfort food. Forget all that "Mom, Baseball, Apple Pie" nonsense. America tasts like Green Beans swimming in Cream of Mushroom soup and crunchy fried onions from a can. It tastes like hot dogs cut up in baked beans, all slightly burned from sitting in the crock pot through Sunday School and the main service. It tastes like the overripe bananas that get baked into breads. It tastes like deviled eggs and "ham" (really bologna) salad on white bread. And Poke Cake is the taste of dessert.

It's just white cake in a 9x13 pan, with holes poked in it. You then pour Jell-o® over the top, refrigerate it and serve it with whipped cream. It's light, fresh, fruity and bad for all of you except your spirit. It tastes like spring. It tastes like Fellowship Hall and paper plates and McDonald's Orange Drink.

I love good food. Sure, it's not Bananas foster or Creme Brulee. But Poke Cake'll make you feel as though you've been fed not by a chef trying to impress you but by a nice lady who loves you.

9 Comments:

At 3:42 PM, April 15, 2006, Anonymous Sis said...

Wow! We must be related! I just finished making a poke cake for Easter Dinner. It WAS made with love! I even decorated it with coconut died green and pastel M&M's made to resemble colored eggs in a bed of grass. Very old-fashioned, very Midwest, and very yummy! Anyone who can't appreciate a good poke cake, is missing out on a lot.

 
At 4:45 PM, April 15, 2006, Blogger Rachel said...

I never could get into the poke cake. Something about the texture really bothers me.

 
At 10:54 PM, April 15, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

First of all, I love you my sister, but you have gilded the lily.

And Rachel, Poke Cake, like revenge, is best served cold. When it's cold, it's cool and refreshing. When it warms up to room temp it gets sorta gummy and ick.

 
At 12:02 AM, April 16, 2006, Blogger Aunt Lydia said...

Excellent post. Simple home-cooked food and the love that goes in it is underappreciated.
Poke cake is not exclusively a Midwestern phenomenon, but Jason is not from the South or Midwest, so such things may be lost on him. Poke cake is a celebration of all things good, chief among those being sugar. In small towns like where I grew up, there are no gourmet grocery stores - you have to make do with what is available, thus the birth of the poke cake. It is elegant in its simplicity.

 
At 4:27 PM, April 16, 2006, Blogger melusina said...

We never had the Poke cake, and I am kind of surprised, as I am all too familiar with the green beans/cream of mushroom soup casserole and beans and dogs and etc.

I might have to make a Poke cake, although we don't have Jell-O brand gelatin here. I'm sure it works with any kind though.

 
At 5:58 PM, April 16, 2006, Anonymous Muffy said...

whoa man...I'm drooling! Poke cake sounds delicious! I've never had any either.

 
At 7:13 PM, April 16, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I'm sure it works with any kind though.

As a life long cheapskate I can testify that it works just fine with any brand of Fruit-Flavoured Gelatin Dessert.

 
At 9:23 AM, April 17, 2006, Blogger Lesley said...

Poke Cake? Never heard of it. I guess it never made it down south. Poke sallet (polk salad), yes (though I don't eat it). No offense, but I'll pass on this cake, but that's mostly because I don't eat Jell-o (it's not vegetarian). I'll stick with Dump Cake. Now that's good stuff.

 
At 9:06 AM, April 18, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

I've never heard it called Poke Cake. We just called it Jello Cake. But it IS good :)

 

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