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The Best: The best pineapple upside down cake

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By Mary Alice Holt

I featured Mary Beason of Elizabethtown in a food column 21 years ago, and her recipes have always been some of my favorite ones.

Mrs. Beason died in 2007, at the age of 88, but she left quite a legacy. For many years, she and her late husband, Hobart Beason, ran Beason’s Catering Service, cooking for individuals as well as for business parties. Two of their most famous clients were Naomi and Wynonna Judd. When I was interviewing Mrs. Beason in 1991, she said that two years previously she and Hobart had prepared a meal for the Judds and two bus loads of their cameramen and crew.

Mrs. Beason also was active in the county 4-H program for years, teaching cooking to generations of 4-H youth. The warm, loving woman called everyone “Sugar” or “Baby,” and she truly loved nurturing folks with her wonderful cooking.

She said she was an old-fashioned cook who grew up cooking on a coal stove. At the time of my original article in 1991, she still thought the best way to get just the right flavor in most foods was to use lard, real butter, real vanilla extract and cast iron skillets.

Over the years, I have made both of these recipes many times. I don’t eat salmon, but my husband loves it. So whenever I’ve made mashed potatoes for another meal, I’ll go on and save some for the Salmon Patties. I usually just halve the recipe, and I still get four patties out of it.

The Skillet Cake is really a pineapple upside-down cake, but it’s the best one I’ve ever tasted. It’s plain, and you can really taste the real butter in it. I love it! So make it and enjoy it, Sugar, and remember Mary Beason while you’re eating it. What a woman!

Skillet Cake
Cake mixture:
1/3 cup pure butter
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Topping:
1 small can sliced pineapple with juice
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Mix the cake mixture ingredients together well.
Drain the pineapple juice into a cast iron skillet. Add the brown sugar and butter. Let it boil to a medium syrup (not too stiff or thin). Cut the pineapple rings in half and arrange on top of syrup in skillet (or do like I did in the picture and leave the pineapple rings whole). Put a maraschino cherry in the middle. Carefully put the cake batter on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Salmon Patties
1 15½-ounce can of salmon
¾ cup “real” mashed potatoes
2 eggs
3 tablespoons minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cracker crumbs
Hot oil

Stir and mix first five ingredients thoroughly. Add the cup of cracker crumbs. Form into patties, round log shapes or other croquette shapes. Let set a couple of hours. Fry in hot oil. For a different taste, add celery and serve with a mushroom sauce.

Mary Alice Holt can be reached at 505-1751 or at maholt@thenewsenterprise.com.