Last weekend, there was one night when our family of four overlapped during our girls’ respective spring breaks. We decided to spend the night in, having one of our favorite dinners with this, this and this and watching a movie we all agree upon.
The movie was My Big Fat Greek Wedding circa 2002. We have all watched it on multiple occasions and for our family, it’s just one of those movies that evokes constant smiling (I checked, smiles all around). Why?
Well, it’s not exactly “our story” but it’s close. My husband and I are a merger of two fairly different cultures similar to the movie’s main characters, Toula Portokalos and Ian Miller.
I don’t think my husband ever envisioned he would wear a crown during his marriage ceremony or competitively crack colorful hard boiled eggs on Easter morning. I know for a fact he was never concerned with what was for dinner while he was still eating his breakfast. He doesn’t come from a superstitious family, but he married someone who repeatedly tells him not to leave his hat on the bed for fear of the repercussions which I won’t burden you with as well!
On the flip side, I never flew a kite on Easter or went for long, blustery walks on holidays. I wasn’t aware of Christmas crackers and had never tasted mint jelly or bananas baked with brown sugar before I met my husband. Food came before fun in our dictionary but it was the opposite in his which I have to say is kind of nice.
Watching MBFGW is a little like looking in the mirror and after almost 23 years together, it is fun to look back and remember those early years of introducing each other to our “ways”. There are so many funny scenes in the movie and we all have our favorite. “You don’t eat meat? I’ll make lamb” is perhaps our favorite line of all. When the movie first came out, my mother saw it first and told me to wait for the last scene. You may remember Toula’s parents purchased a house for the new couple that, surprise, is right next door to theirs? Classic. My father’s mother lived two streets away from us and my mother’s were 1 1/2 miles so there’s that.
Well if you’re also a fan of this movie (or watch the Today Show), then you might know that today, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is out in theaters! We’re going tonight! Opa!
Today, I am sharing a recipe for the Carrot Pineapple Cake my mother made for us when I was growing up. The cake is traditionally made in a bundt pan, which is reminiscent of yet another scene in the movie where the groom’s parents bring the unpronounceable “boondt” cake to the bride’s family when they meet for the first time. After many attempts to understand what exactly this cake is, Toula’s mother turns to her sister in law and whispers that the cake has a hole in it. Ha!
As I mention in my “About” page, my mother loved to prepare cakes and pies, especially on the holidays. In fact, she used to tell a story about her first holiday as a new mom when she had attempted to get the baby and a cake into the car, placing the cake on the car’s roof until the baby was securely fastened. You can probably guess what happened next. Needless to say, the cake did not make it to the holiday meal. I remember my mother making this Carrot Pineapple cake quite a bit and it introduced me to this staple of the 1970’s kitchen in its simplest form without cream cheese frosting. I have loved it ever since but please don’t give me carrot cake with raisins in it. Ever.
The original recipe came from our church cookbook and was submitted by a woman named Anne. I have not been able to track down where the original, original recipe came from but it has been twisted and turned by many, including Ina Garten. If anyone knows where the original recipe for Carrot Pineapple Cake was published, can you please let me know in the comments?
Mom’s cake has the right balance of sweet and crunch and is super moist like carrot cake must be. It can be eaten on its own, dusted with just some powdered sugar which she used to do, or topped with its optional lemony glaze. I used to love having it with a scoop of coffee ice cream, but it would go equally well with vanilla or even plain or honey flavored yogurt. You can swap out the can of crushed pineapple with fresh, the walnuts with pecans and I dare say you could throw a little coconut in the batter and it wouldn’t hurt. But please no raisins!
As for getting a cake out of the bundt pan, I have a trick for that I share in the text of the recipe.
Whatever your plans are for Easter or for the weekend, I hope it’s a good one. Maybe I will sneak a piece of the cake into the theater…
PS – it’s possible there will not be a post next week as some exciting things are happening in my kitchen that I really need to focus on. I will share with you soon!