Thursday, July 11, 2013

E.B. White

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
by E.B. White essayist , poet, literary stylist and author

Elwyn Brooks "E. B." White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985) was an American writer. He was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine and a co-author of the English language style guide, The Elements of Style, which is commonly known as "Strunk & White". He also wrote books for children including: Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little
and The Trumpet of the SwanCharlotte's Web was voted the top children's novel in a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers.

White married Katharine Angell, an editor at the New Yorker magazine. They moved to a farmhouse in rural Maine. White kept writing for The New Yorker, but he also wrote about his experience with rural life. He especially liked to write about the animals he kept on his farm.
E.B. White had 1 son and 18 nephews and nieces. They were always asking him to tell stories. He wasn't very good at thinking up stories on the spot, so he started writing a children's book so that he would always have a story on hand. 
His writing style was wry, thoughtful, understated and informed. The characters White created in his books are ones you heard as a child and still remember today.

Perhaps a little known fact is E.B. White also wrote poems.  I enjoyed this poem because it made me think about Wilbur the pig and his friendship with the barn spider Charlotte from the novel Charlotte's Web.
The Spider Web
E.B. White
The spider, dropping down from twig, 
Unfolds a plan of her devising, 
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space, 
In cool descent and loyal hearted, 
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do 
In spider’s web a truth discerning, 
Attach one silken thread to you 
For my returning. 

In honor of E.B. White's birthday I thought a Texas style sheet cake would be fitting. He seemed like a man with a very large heart who loved animals and writing for children. 
Texas Sheet (Sheath) Cake aka: Mexican Chocolate Cake
·         1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
·         1 cup freshly brewed coffee
·         1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
·         2 cups flour
·         2 cups white sugar
·         1 tsp. baking soda
·         2 eggs beaten
·         ½ cup buttermilk
·         1 tsp. ground cinnamon
·         1 tsp. vanilla
·         ¼ tsp. salt
·         ½ cup oil
·         optional 1/8 cup Kahlua
·         ¼ cup butter
·         3 TB. unsweetened cocoa
·         9 TB. milk
·         2-1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
·         1 cup chopped pecans
·         Melt butter in saucepan, add cocoa and water or coffee
·         Bring to a boil and set this mixture aside
·         In a bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, soda and pour into hot cocoa mixture stirring with a wooden spoon to mix well
·         Beat eggs and add in buttermilk, oil cinnamon, vanilla, optional Kahlua and beat well and pour in chocolate mixture and beat all ingredients
·         Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan or a jelly roll pan with sides
·         Bake @ 375 check at 25 minutes for a 13 x 9 pan or 375 for 20 minutes in jelly roll with sides -check center for doneness with large toothpick
·         Cool cake 15 minutes before pouring on freshly made icing  
·         Melt butter in saucepan medium low heat and add cocoa and milk, whisking to blend well
·         Bring to a boil
·         Place powdered sugar in mixing bowl and add hot chocolate mixture and beat well to remove lumps optional to add 2 TB. Kahlua and may have to add a little more milk for right consistency
·         Pour icing over cake and sprinkle nuts immediately on (it is a generous amount) so you might think about not using all but any left over icing tastes great right out of the bowl.  J

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