Hospitality lives on and on

August 20, 2015


This past week, I delivered not one, but two 7-Up Cakes to friends who were suffering from one kind of affliction or the other. Now, in and of themselves, 7-Up Cakes have no proven healing qualities nor have they ever claimed to cure a single thing, but we all know that like the salt water of the Gulf, the gift of food from a friend is good for what ails you.

The first cake went to Cousin Rosie Belle in Robertsdale who had a serious hitch in her get-along resulting from an accident involving her treadmill. It seems that while she was trotting along, she propped up her ipad and was watching an old Youtube video of Andrae’ Crouch’s funeral service, when the Spirit took hold of her and she lifted her hands in praise and/or worship, lost her balance, and nearly slung herself through the wall. Rosie Belle thought she was a goner as she laid there on the floor of the spare bedroom because just before she lost consciousness, she heard, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, we’re going to see the King!”

The next cake went to a friend, who during last week’s big storm, was injured in a lightening strike. She wasn’t actually struck by lightening, but when a pine tree in her own backyard was suddenly zapped, it scared the beejibbers out of her and she dropped a large can of pineapple on her bare foot. “I usually prefer the fresh pineapple” she explained, “but you know what everybody’s sayin’ about putting the real thing in your shopping cart at Publix these days. I can’t risk someone thinking I’m that kind of woman, so I’ve been buying the canned Dole.” Well, the canned fruit nearly took her toe clear off, but at least she’s not being “discussed.”

Taking food to friends is a soothing form of kindness and love. Years ago when I was both ill with The Virus and down with The Sadness, my friend Shirley showed up at my house with a little tin of homemade cheese straws.  First of all, the warmhearted gesture alone was enough to lift my spirits, but having Shirley remember I specifically loved her cheese straws more than any cake, cookie or pie, made it even better. Her sweet efforts and savory snack healed my broken spirits in no time flat.

My lovely friend Shirley, who stretched my name into six slow syllables, passed away a few weeks ago, and now I’ll never have her amazingly perfect cheese straws again. But what I do have from Shirley is the example of how to get out and share the gift of hospitality with others. Shirley not only brought me a delicious cheesy snack, but she also delivered the excellent lesson of what it means to be a thoughtful friend.

As I packed the 7-Up Cakes in boxes to take to my cousin who was all stove-up and my friend with her foot banged to pieces (but her virtue still intact), I thought of Shirley and how she would be so happy to know that her example of caring for others will live on and continue in all those who knew her.

And she’d be totally baffled by the pineapple reference, which would make me love her even more.

7-up Cake


3 sticks softened butter (1 1/2 cup)

3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 7-up


1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice (or lime)

1 to 2 tablespoons 7-Up


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt cake pan or tube cake pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Add small portions of flour, alternating with 7-up until it’s all incorporated. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick can be removed clean. Let cake cool for 20 minutes before removing to a rack. After completely cool, Mix glaze ingredients together, adding small amounts of 7-Up until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle glaze over top and enjoy!

  • Arlene Cocke says:

    Ms. Leslie, thank you for reminding me,driving around the downtown area is not my favorite thing to do, but when necessary, I will stop talking to myself and uttering words I have never heard before. Goodness, I forgot I am a SENIOR, and am grateful for so many holding doors for me or offering to help put a piece of furniture on my truck. I have a few friends that have left me missing them forever, but still have a few, still around, I am enjoying every minute with them. Kindness is contagious!
    Besides, I have always been built for comfort not for speed!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Yes, kindness is why we don’t harshly honk at slow drivers around here. We know (or need to remember) we’re all connected in some way. Thanks Arlene.

  • Leslie Anne says:

    Food is one way she’ll be remembered, but thankfully for us, there are also many other ways as well.

    Thanks for the comment, and happy weekend!

  • I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. But her legacy lives on in the form of kind gestures and yummy treats! Surely food for the soul!

  • Leslie Anne… this cake looks delish. Such a wonderful tribute to a great lady. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you Miss Katie! You have fun too!

  • I’m so sorry about your friend Shirley. Hope your cousin heals quickly. 🙂


    btw…cant figure out why your posts aren’t showing up as current in my blog roll…I need a teenager to consult on this stat!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks so much Nancy.

      The blog issue happens with some of my blog-friends who have Blogger platforms. Don’t know why, but it’s stuck on an old story from last year. It makes me look like I’ve gone and croaked!

  • Great post. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of your friends’ afflictions and I’m sure your delicious cake was just the RX they needed!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      They’re more accident prone than I am, bless their hearts!

  • So sorry for the loss of your friend, but I must let you know that I love your blog. I live in the west but before I retired I traveled in the south a lot for my job. Everyone I met was gracious and friendly and I always looked forward to my next trip there. Your posts make me laugh out loud and I know that your lucky friends must adore you.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      You are very kind to say such nice things, and although I do adore my friends, I probably get on their ever-lovin’ nerves sometimes. (but then I take them a cake and all is forgiven!). Glad you got to spend some happy days in the South. I know you love the beauty of being out west now. Enjoy your humid-free days, and thanks so very much for reading!

  • Becky Carl says:

    Leslie Anne, you make me laugh out loud; you are a true southern sweetheart! I wish I could meet you so I can figure out how to get one of those 7-up cakes from you – ha!! But I don’t want to have to drop a can of pineapple on my toe to get it!! Sweet tribute to your friend.


    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, Becky, I wish all my readers were right here in Fairhope so I could run cakes over to them every day! Thanks so much for sending your kind comments to me. I truly, truly, really do appreciate them!

  • R. Ron Meszaros says:

    I do feel a nasty and downright evil chill coming on from this mornings terrible rain storm. When can I expect you with a 7up cake?

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Poor baby. I’ll be right over, but you get devil’s food cake instead.

  • Leslie Anne says:

    That girl is always hurting herself in the oddest of ways!

  • I am sitting here enjoying the cakes…virtually of course. A lot less calories that way, you know! But, my favorite commnet ~ “my cousin who was all stove up”!!! Not many folks hear that saying anymore. I love it! Almost as much as the story of how she got stove up!

  • I love this post. I think taking home made food to someone who is down is such a thoughtful thing but unfortunately seems to be a dying art. My cousin brought a 7 Up cake to my mother’s house one time when my father was ill. I still remember having a piece of it with a cup of coffee. Thanks for encouraging us all to take that cake!!:)

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Arlene. Sometimes we all need a nudge to remember to take care of one another.

  • A lovely tribute to a lovely lady! You both remain in my heart for the sweetness and light you brought to those babies in Sunday School (I see mine!).
    I’m also glad I read your post because I had heard it was cantaloupes . . . 🙂

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Ha! You may have even been the one who took this photo! Thanks for your great leadership.

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