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Integrity and the Hummingbird Cake

Updated: Jul 5


I am too nice. I know it. Everyone who knows me knows it. As far as bad qualities go, this certainly isn't the worst, but it does leave me with poor boundaries and angst sometimes. I am also a firm believer in integrity. I don't believe in taking the easy way out, nor do I want to put my name on something that I haven't tried, tested, and testified to its veracity.

In one of my perusals, I found a recipe for a hummingbird cake. I have had it before and remember it being delicious and moist, perfectly sweet and topped with creamy frosting. I was excited to get the ingredients and prepare this lovely cake. There were a few cautionary things that I noticed on the recipe. One was the incredibly large amount of oil it called for. The other was the unbelievably long baking time. I went for it, though. I ended up pulling the cake out sooner than it called for. It was still overcooked and dry. The frosting helped, but it didn't completely save the cake.

I can't help but wonder what went wrong. Was it a misprint in the cookbook? It wouldn't be the first time there was a misprint. Maybe it should have included more information, like use this type of cake pan, or an explanation for the amount of oil. I was talking with my mother-in-law about my failure in the endeavor and she made a couple of observations that resonated with me. First, church cookbooks are compiled by members who submit their specialties, not by editors who test them extensively for accuracy and validity. Second, it may have been printed correctly, and always been too dry with a heck of a lot of oil. This sweet lady may have schlepped her hummingbird cake to dinner on the grounds, baby showers, funerals, and the like, and no one had the heart to tell her that it wasn't very good.

There are a couple of lessons here. One, being too nice is not always a good thing. Sometimes it pays to at least ask the nice lady if those are the correct directions and ingredients on her cake recipe. Two, I vow to only post recipes and food that I have tried or explicitly say that I didn't. Integrity is important.

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