Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Nancy

Some friends remind me of gourmet coffee, quiche', fancy clothes, a night out at the movies or intellectual conversation.

Nancy reminds me of gas station cakes.

In the South, you can buy anything at the gas station. We've got your petro, your engine oil, your over-priced milk, the regular conveniences. We like to go the extra mile because we are all about hospitality- even at the gas station.

We also hate to see anyone go hungry. So in the local, small-town, Southern gas station you can fill your tank and your stomach. You'll find everything from fresh fried chicken with all the fixin's to sandwiches. In South Georgia and Alabama you'll find some of the best boiled peanuts.

But, if you're lucky, you'll find a mouth watering, girdle busting, 7-layer cake.

Yes, m'am. Nothing beats a cake from the gas station.

We were visiting Nancy and the family, having dinner and catching up on lost time. Our kids were off playing, picking up right where they left off and the men were talking shop. As always, Nancy was preparing a delicious meal (fajitas- yum!). On the kitchen counter, perched on a lovely glass cake pedestal, was the most tempting caramel cake.

Nancy said,"It is left over from (hubs') birthday."

Impressed, I asked, "Wow! Did you make it?"

"No. It's from the gas station," she replied.

This wasn't just any ole gas station cake. This was one of Dean's cakes from Dean's Cake House out of Andalusia. If you are in Alabama or the surrounding states, I urge you to stop reading right this minute and click on the link to see if you can purchase one of these cakes in a fine gas pumping establishment near you. Dean's delivers their cakes fresh and supplies grocery stores and gas stations all over the fine State of Alabama and some of the surrounding states.

OK. Go now. Then, come back...

Are you back? Good.

So Nancy explained that she loved, loved, loved Dean's cakes and when she discovered they delivered to a gas station in the next town over, she was just giddy with the thought that all of those bad carbs were available. Convenient, too.

If we learned anything from rebuilding after the War, it was this- put all your good stuff in one place so that if you ever have to run from Sherman again, you can load up on fried foods and sugar and fill both fuels tanks in your pick-up truck.

All they need to do is add some ammo and a few 8 tracks of Merle and Dolly. Bring on the nukes, enemies of the State! We're ready!

Our family was about to move to the little town where Nancy and her family were living. Needless to say, I was delighted to hear about the gas station cakes. Forget the closet malls and good shopping. I need icing.

We've had many fine meals with Nancy and the family, but this meal stands out in my mind for so many reasons. Nancy had really started to serve healthy foods (minus the cake) and asked if we ate whole wheat tortillas.

"Why, yes we do," I said. (We'll eat any type of bread wrapped around meat.)

"What about Enova oil?" she asked, "Do you think it will bother y'all?"

"Why, no," I replied.

Ain't it just like a good hostess to show genuine concern about the possibility that the meal she is about to serve will potentially cause bouts of diarrhea and intestinal distress?

Then Nancy sent her hubs to clean the dining table with Clorox wipes. Well, because the table is where Gilbert likes to sleep sometimes. Gilbert is their cat that deserves her own post because Gilbert is schizophrenic.

The table was sanitized, just in case, and the lovely place mats really made everything look so charming and inviting. To Gilbert. We walked back in the dining room and found that Gilbert had pounced onto the table and found the best seat in the house- right there on my place mat.

I felt so loved.

Nancy graciously grabbed a new place mat from the drawer and we all sat down to eat.

In walks Alli.

Alli is their lab. She is very sweet, but at the time was still in her puppy phase. Nancy and her hubs had tried everything they could think of to train this dog. They resorted to an obedience collar (they are perfectly safe), only the collar had not become very effective because every time they tried to activate it, they realized their little girl had turned it off.

Picture this-

All of us eating fajitas cooked in Ex-lax, wrapped in rubber, I mean whole wheat tortillas, at a fine dining table set with lovely place mats and a mentally disturbed cat, engaged in serious, political and social conscious conversation (not) while a playful puppy begs for thinly sliced grilled meat.

Then, Nancy's husband turns to her and asks,"Where is the remote?"

Because nothing says hospitality like shocking the dog during a meal.

Lucky for Alli, Nancy's daughter had deactivated the collar and the remote control didn't work. It was quite comical, really. The meal, the conversation, the menagerie of hosts.

And at the end, we all had a piece of cake for dessert, a little slice of caramel heaven, straight from the gas station.

Happy Birthday, Nancy!


Mommy Dearest said...

"Because nothing says hospitality like shocking the dog during a meal."

You may have just hit on an unexplored and unexplained aspect of Southern hospitality. We have resorted to locking the dog in her crate during supper. Lily always tries to feed her!

Big Mama said...

I've always thought that nothing says love like some baked goods from a gas station.

Nancy said...

Okay, I have tears running down my face, and it's my birthday! Luckily, they are tears of laughter. I didn't realize our house is such a looney-bin. So happy it is insane enough to make your blog!
Recently, the Montgomery Advertiser did an article on Dean's Cake House. Mom send it to me. I'll try to find the online version.
When Dwight went hunting in Alabama last month, Mom sent back a 7-layer Caramel cake. You just don't know how excited the children were!

ForUsThreeGirls said...

As your southern neighbor, I have been blessed with a Dean's cake many-a-time. MMM - MMM good!

Also, we had a good laugh at lunch today as I told my co-workers about the one gas station by my home that has the best BLT sandwiches and the other gas station with to-die-for pizzas.

Gotta love rural life!

Linda said...

You are the only person who could make me want to taste gas station cake.

Clemntine said...

I'll take a slice of Dean's Cake and an RC to wash it down, please.

My dad lived in Alabama all of my growing up years, and I definitely appreciate those distinctly Dixie treats.

Thanks for the laugh, and Happy Birthday to Nancy!

Heather Ivester said...

Oh MY! This post is hilarious! Your blog is hilarious! Who are you? Do I know you? :) I went to college with Nancy. I live in the South -- woohoo!

I'll have to look for those cakes at my local gas station. We used to buy our pizzas from a gas station before we moved. They were great! :)

--Heather, Mom 2 Mom Connection

Roxanne said...

I have partaken of many a southern gas station delicacy--including the best barbecue sandwich ever--but never a gas station cake. . .my sister went to college in Alabama. I'll have to ask her about Dean's.

dcrmom said...

Oh, my! As a transplanted southerner living in PA, this post just has me rolling on the floor. You sum it up SO well.

By the way, I just lurv the title of your blawg!

Cynthia said...

You make me smile really BIG, Melanie! I can just taste the cake from seeing the photo. My aunt (in North Carolina) makes cakes that look exactly like those. They are fittin'! :)

We don't have cakes in gas stations here in California. That makes me sad. :(

Keep the laughs a'coming!

Susanne said...

You are so making me want to take a year off and go move south so that I can experience some of this fun stuff first hand!

Those cakes have my mouth absolutely watering and I'm not even a big cake fanatic. Unfortunately we're not anywhere near any gas station they might deliver to.

Kim said...

Holy Cow! I have tears absolutely streaming down my face laughing! I have read the post twice, once to myself, once outloud to my husband...he's cracking up too. (he's from Alabama, by the way). You really have the gift of humor, Melanie. Having had a psychotic cat who did himself in with the litter in the litter box a few years ago, I can totally relate!

RealEstateGirl said...

Living in Alabama, I can say that a Dean's Caramel Cake is a must on hubby's birthdays! There is nothing else like them.

Dean's delivers fresh to the Oaktree Grocery in Montgomery! Absolutely the best!