Saturday, September 19, 2009

Almond Paste Coffee Cake

One of my all time favorites.

I used to get it from the Holland Pastry Shop in Broad Ripple, part of Indianapolis and once a small village just north of the city. Now, it's a yuppie haven but still part of home to me.

The bakery was started by Dutch Jewish immigrants who escaped from Nazi occupation. Everything was homemade, nothing was frozen and shipped in. There was always someone baking or putting something together in the back, which was visible from the customer area.

The atmosphere was friendly, 'homey' and the smells! It was like being in my Greatgrandmother's and Mom's kitchens on steroids lol. The memory is like that of a hug when coming home.

It's gone now. Like so many heartwarming things from the past, it's just a wispy memory.

Don't know the particulars, so my guess is that like so many immigrant clans, the kids didn't go into the family business. They probably went onto other lines of work. But their parents made it possible by surviving, working hard and sacrificing to have a better life.

The nazis/commies couldn't kill it. In spite of so much extermination this group and many others not just survived, but overcame and truimphed.

They came to America with dreams and hope. Real hope that they would succeed.

By the sweat of their brows, with a generous portion of love thrown in, they gave so others might benefit.

We, of course, can do no less.

Are we not all the kids of immigrants (Except for many who were here to greet them. My Mom used to say one half of her family came over by boat and the other half were on the shore already -s-.)?

We certainly bear the heritage given to us no matter where we originally came from.

We may not do the same things our forebears did. Except for one important detail. Preserving Freedom.

Last time I went to where the Holland Pastry Shop was, my son was in a stroller. It's becoming a long stretch of time, that!

We were met by a cold fish kind of guy, who eyed us like we were specimens and not customers. The place had a darkly lit quality, cold and unwelcoming. The baked goods were seemingly mass cookie cutter stuff, with no particular flavor, like a cardboard cutout.

We left and never returned.

You may not be able to go home again. Or, if you do, it might be something that is a shabby substitute.

Perhaps, however, if we try we CAN go home again.

The efforts of our parents and ancestors will yield something stronger than any one of us.

Something we have to keep remaking, lest the flavor is gone forever.

Something Light instead of a cold dark facsimile.

Something Restored and real.

5 comments:

Dutchman6 said...

Great one, Mike. Thanks.

Mike Vanderboegh
III

Anonymous said...

Well said Mike. Good read.

Renegade
III

j3maccabee said...

A lot of depth for reflection here. Well said. Subtle and strong.

Charlie said...

To paraphrase Cinderella, I fear too many Americans won't know what they've got till it's gone.

Anonymous said...

powerful stuff. Much appreciated.