Dear Ms. Coyne:
I enjoyed your baking article. Before I pass More on to a friend I felt compelled to write to you about coconut cakes. That was my birthday cake each year. But let me tell you how we made ours. Decades and decades ago I was raised in the south and we had cake, pie or cookies, along with biscuits, rolls or cornbread every day of our lives. Everything was completely made from scratch. To make a coconut cake... We went to the A&P grocery store and bought a coconut. Mother baked it in the over for awhile so that later we could easily remove the skin from the meat. After the coconut cooled, Mother drove a screwdriver into the "holes" with a hammer and poured out the milk. Then she handed the cocnut to my sister and me. We took it out on the driveway and chopped it open with an axe. After taking off the shell, we returned it to the kitchen, peeled the brown skin off, and grated the meat. The dough recipe is close to yours-- we call it a 1, 2, 3, 4 cake as the main ingredients were 1 c shortening, 2 c sugar, 3 c flour, and 4 eggs. Coconut milk, cow's milk, salt, baking powder and vanilla were added to the mix. But wait, I want to tell you about the hard part-- and what makes a coconut cake truly a coconut cake. Have you ever made 7 minute icing? Pllace 2 egg whites, unbeaten, 1 1/2 c granulated sugar, 5 T water and 1 1/2 t white Kato syrup in top of a double boiler over boiling water and beat for 7 minutes with an electric beater. Just as you think your wrists are going to break in half, the icing is perfect. Then you fan ice the cake and liberally sprinkle with shredded coconut, remembering to save some to press into the sides of the cake. Now, that's a coconut cake.
Sincererly, Suzanne Burns
I just filled out your extensive survey, but noticed when I clicked to return to the More website that you had a different cover for the June 2011 issue than the one I got in the mail. The coral and green cover is MUCH better! As a piece of art, the photograph of Christy Turlington on the gray background was beautiful. As a magazine cover to start the summer, however, it completely missed the mark. So glad to see you made such a quick course correction (the internet is a wonderful thing). I look forward to reading more More!
(Editor's note: We had two versions of the June cover. The coral/green photo was for newsstands only, while the black & white artistic shot was mailed to subscribers.)
As I sit in my not quite making it art gallery and pass the time reading, I found myself thankful for your Editor's letter today. I left a successful Human Resources career to study interior design and try my hand at marketing local artists. It has been a wonderful but also difficult journey. I may be headed back to the HR bench next month. I appreciate your willingness to encourage women to find a life that they love. That has been my goal even when it hasn't always had a good financial outcome.