Dirt Cake

1. Q. I loved the story you did on television when you made the news person eat what he thought was potting soil but what instead was what you referred to as dirt cake. It looked like dirt. Is it really good and can I have the recipe?

A. Dirt cake doesn't sound too delightful but I will guarantee that it is. I just wanted the opportunity to say that I made a news person "eat dirt" on TV. Here is the recipe; try the "surprise" on some friends.

DIRT CAKE

FIRST LAYER:
ONE AND ONE-FOURTH POUNDS CRUSHED OREO COOKIES (RESERVE TWO FOR FLOWER POT HOLES)

SECOND LAYER:
TWO BOXES - SMALL INSTANT VANILLA PUDDING
TWO CUPS MILK
LET SET UP
NOW FOLD IN NINE OUNCE CONTAINER WHIPPED TOPPING

THIRD LAYER:
ONE EIGHT OUNCE PACKAGE CREAM CHEESE
ONE-HALF STICK MARGARINE
ONE CUP POWDERED SUGAR

WASH TWO 6-INCH CLAY FLOWER POTS. SCALD TO STERILIZE. PUT THE RESERVED COOKIES IN THE HOLE IN THE POT. LAYER THE THREE LAYERS, ENDING WITH CRUSHED COOKIES. REFRIGERATE CAKE.

TO SERVE: WRAP POT IN COLORED PAPER AND PLACE PLASTIC FLOWERS IN POT. USE AS A CENTERPIECE THEN SERVE. DOUBLE RECIPE WILL FILL 8" POT AND 6" POT.

As an added BONUS I will give you loyal eaters some wonderful salt-cured country ham recipes. I gave the source for salt-cured country ham slices. I indicated that people who don't like black-eyed peas, think bar-b-que is beef, won't eat a possum on a bet, imagine that squirrel stew should be cause for an animal rights march, and don't even know what poke salad is should not even consider ordering this "heavenly cuisine". My food "find" is Tripp Country Hams, 207 South Washington Street, Brownsville, Tennessee 38012-3090 (Telephone: 901-772-2130). The Tripp family, thinking that some western yankees may be ordering some ham, sent some recipes:

FRIED COUNTRY HAM: DO NOT trim fat off of slice before frying -- it will fry itself. You can make a few slices on the outer edge to insure that the slice lays flat during cooking. Add no shortening. Put slices in medium hot, heavy skillet, turning several times while frying. WARNING: Do not over fry, as slices will become hard and dry. Actually just heat thoroughly.

SLOW FRIED COUNTRY HAM: Put slice in a iron skillet, add just a little water and cook it real slow on low for about 10 minutes; turning often. What's left is the red-eye gravy fixin's. (Note: if you think red-eye gravy is what you use to cure a hangover, DON'T BE ORDERING ANY OF THIS PRECIOUS COMMODITY!)

RED-EYE GRAVY -- after country ham is fried: Remove ham to a heated platter. Pour one-half to three-fourths cup of water into the pan. (Also can add two tablespoons brewed coffee to water, if desired.) Increase the heat to moderate and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until gravy is reddish. This is the red-eye gravy. Pour it over biscuits and the ham.



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