Pecans are one ingredient that very directly show my Halfway Southern roots. One half pronounces it pecahhn, and the other, peehcan.
One story that this pronunciation phenomenon reminds me of is a visit from my Southern grandparents. My childhood best friend and I were playing in the driveway, kicking around some leaves and generally making a ruckus, when my grandmother comes out to call us inside.
My friend responds, "Why do you talk funny?"
Without breaking step, my grandmother quickly quipped back, "Hmm... Why do YOU talk funny?"
Let's just say my friend, with us being five or six years old at the time, quickly dropped the subject and ran inside, as asked. The power of the Southern accent, personified, was simply too much to talk back to.
In honor of the pecan, however you pronounce it, I decided to make a big ol' pound cake this week, in advance of all the family gatherings I have to look forward to.
This is a Southern Living recipe, a bible in the kitchens of my New England side of the family. The only thing I ever had go wrong, coming from a Southern Living cookbook was a lasagna. But I guess I was probably looking in the wrong place for an authentic lasagna recipe, so that one's on me. The rest, from pound cakes to baked mac and cheese, have all been success stories.
This recipe will set you back at least two hours, so set aside a bit of time on this one. The batter itself comes together quite quickly, but my cake was temperamental toward the end of baking, still showing an over-doughy interior an hour and thirty minutes into baking. Definitely add some tinfoil to cover the top of the cake, after an hour into the baking time, too. This will keep the top from getting too far past golden.
The pound cake is the most Southern of all desserts, in my opinion. Much like the Southern accent, it's sweet, but powerful.