Eat the Cake You Have

Recently I attended the ACT Theater production of Grey Gardens with my dear friend, ASB. We have been attending the theater together for almost 8 years now (whoa!) and always aim to watch some classic Broadway, some new releases and a few more obscure. This year, obscure was Grey Gardens. It was a nice production, in a theater in the round, with a minimal stage and talented actors. I am not going to review the play much further but will probably try to catch the documentary on the real Grey Gardens (hint: Jackie O and JFK) to compare and contrast. It is not the story so much that stayed with me, but one song and a particular line. The song – “Jerry Likes My Corn”

[Edith to Jerry, excerpt]

I boil it on the hot plate
Till all the juice is gone
Bless his soul
He knows which side my corn is buttered on …

Everyone deserves someone who knows how to butter your corn! IMHO

The line: “eat the cake you have”. Not to say we should not strive and dream but reminds us all to slow down and enjoy the now, current life we have too. This is something that I always benefit from hearing, as it is so easy to get wrapped up in tomorrow, next week or even the dreaded…. Yesterday…..

With this musing, I now leave you with inspired creations. I also needed a reason after all to blog about a corn song.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with basil garlic butter

  • Heat grill to medium, too hot, it will burn and flame.
  • Peel back the husks, but don’t remove them, just enough to remove all the silk
  • Put the husks back in place and soak the cobs for 20-30 minutes.
  • Once ready put on the grill about 10 minutes per side.
  • Keep a spray bottle of water of handy if it is burning to quick or flaming
  • Let the cooked cobs cool for a second or where an ovenmit before husking before serving. It will be hot!

Basil Garlic Butter

  • Soften 4 T butter, unsalted or salted (just know which)
  • Add chopped basil, either fresh or freeze dried, about 1 T [I think cilantro would be delightful too]
  • Add about 1sp minced garlic
  • Mix, taste and add salt if needed
  • I am storing the rest in the fridge for other delights (pasta? Bread?)

Enjoy! We made a simple grilled dinner with chicken sausage, duck egg, grilled zucchini, grilled pepper and grilled corn on the cob. And grilled pineapple with coconut ice cream for dessert!

Mexican Wedding Cakes – a favorite of my theater buddy ASB, from the tried and true Joy of Cooking. Granted not a true “cake” but still supports the theme and there is almost a wedding in Grey Gardens.

About forty – sixty 1 ¼ inch cookies, easy to halve or double


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (recommend toasting, see below)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, for rolling


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease or line cookies sheets.
  • Beat first 4 ingredients (butter, sugar, salt, vanilla) in a large bowl until well blended
  • Stir in chopped nuts
  • Stir in flour until blended
  • Once mixed, shape in 1 inch balls and arrange about 1 ¼ inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake, one sheet at a time, until cookies are lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Let stand briefly. Then remove to a rack and cool. Roll the cookies in sugar

These just melt in your mouth. I did few modifications to part of my batch. To half the dough I added coconut flakes (turned out ok, made them extra crumbly) and for another part, I added some cinnamon to the powdered sugar for a ‘Mexican’ kick. The cinnamon is perfect! I added about a teaspoon or so. Lastly, use all purpose gluten free flour. no problemo. I am not sure why they are called Mexican, since nothing in the original recipe screams Ye Old Mexico, other than maybe vanilla. These cookies are sometimes called Russian Tea cakes but this name seems less common (based on unscientific survey of all my cookbooks, none referred to Russians. Sign of political times?). The main difference is traditionally the Russian version is made with walnuts. This cookie is also found in reference to many other countries under the names Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop, Viennese Sugar Ball, Sand Tarts, and Snowballs. Basically, pick your favorite country or match to a party theme, use the nuts you have (don’t fret) and enjoy. A last word of caution, neither inhale deeply or nor sneeze directly when eating these cookies due to the generous dusting of sugar.

Toasted Nuts – easy and really brings out flavor and adds some new dimensions too

  • Heat oven to 325 F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil
  • Add nuts in a single layer
  • Toast for 5-7 minutes. Don’t burn!

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