Sunday, December 3, 2006

The Homecoming



Tonight we'll be watching the first Christmas movie of the season, The Homecoming, the program that inspired The Waltons. I was so glad to see it finally come out on dvd a few years ago. In fact, my children never got to see it when they were little, because we missed it the times they showed it on tv. I did tape it once, but the quality wasn't good. Ah, the bad-old-days of technology. There isn't a day when I'm not thrilled with dvds!

This is such a wonderful and memorable movie. John-Boy in the car, and his imaginary conversation with his father; the "hey, Mary" song sung in minister, Cleavon Little's church; the sadness when little Elizabeth is given a worn, damaged doll by the missionaries. And for me, the movie has a special meaning. I gave my mother a Christmas cactus for Christmas, 1972, having gotten the idea from Olivia's love of the plant. As it turned out, it was my mom's last Christmas. I still have the cactus. I have cut it back and transplanted it over the years, and it still thrives. It is a connection with my mother that I cherish.



I read the book four years ago this month, and my book review follows:

The Homecoming by Earl Hamner, Jr. 1970 A

This is the book on which the pilot of the television program, The Waltons, was based. It is set in 1933, and though nostalgic, is not at all sentimental. It is very honest in showing Olivia's disapproval of her husband's drinking and gambling, while at the same time showing her deep love and affection for him. It is very clear in its description of the pride of people who have
nothing, but don't want charity. The love between the parents and the children is beautifully written. This is a wonderful, uplifting, warm book.

And from the book, I saved a recipe for a cake. We'll be having it this evening as we watch the movie. It's a delicious, spicy cake which we love.


Olivia’s Applesauce Cake

3 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 t. cinnamon
2 t. cloves
2 t. nutmeg

1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups raisins

2 cups applesauce

1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

Sift together first 6 ingredients.
Take 1/2 cup of flour mixture and stir in nuts and raisins.
Set both mixtures aside.

Cream butter until whipped soft.
Add sugar a little at a time until mixture is smooth.
Beat in eggs vigorously.

Alternately stir in flour mixture and applesauce.
When all mixed together add the 1/2 cup flour, nut, raisin mix.
Mix well.

Pour batter into well greased cake mold.
Bake in preheated 350 F. for 1 hour.
Cool 10 minutes, and then turn out on cake rack.
When completely cool, frost with Whiskey Frosting.

Jane’s Whiskey Frosting

1/4 cup softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T. cream
2 T. whiskey (bourbon)
Pinch of salt

Cream butter, add sugar and salt, then cream and whiskey.
Whip until smooth. Frost cake.
Decorate with a sprig of holly.

My notes: I bake it in a 9x13 pan, and I make a regular buttercream frosting with confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla, and a little milk. This doesn't take an hour in my oven. I would start checking after half an hour.

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