I notice that the post for Eaton’s original Red Velvet Cake is currently among the top posts, both for the week and the month.
I posted that recipe in January, 2014.
It’s a sentimental favourite for anyone who remembers Eaton’s Department Store in all its retail glory.
Eaton’s was the place that gave us a bit of warmth every winter, when the staff would “Uncrate the Sun”.
In the midst of a -40º C Canadian winter, we could escape to exotic places like Mexico and Spain for a week without boarding a plane.
Eaton’s, founded in 1869, was a department store chain that strove to be the perfect department store.
It lived by the slogan "Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded.”
There you could find everything needed or wanted by every member of your family, including pets, and for every room of your home, including your yard and garden.
Eaton's had it all: furniture, appliances, clothes, food, books, toys, tulip bulbs.
You name it, Eaton’s had it, either on its floors or in its catalogue.
Unfortunately Eaton’s didn’t survive long into the twenty-first century.
And people still miss it.
We recently lost another store that we once thought was as permanent as the wide prairie sky - Canada Safeway Limited.
American Safeway Inc. started its Canadian subdivision with nine stores in 1929.
For almost 85 years Safeway was a major grocery chain, especially on the prairies.
It was sold on June 12, 2013 to Canada's second-largest supermarket chain, Sobeys.
And people still miss it.
Safeway, under Sobeys ownership, carries groceries, in a way.
It once could be counted on to have practically any food item you could want.
Since Sobeys took over the inventory has been changing.
Where we used to find staples such as margarine, Sobeys is now stocking bottled carbonated and non carbonated drinks.
Frozen vegetables have been replaced by frozen fried potatoes in an amazing assortment of shapes and sizes.
French fries instead of broccoli - not exactly what moms want to serve their families.
Safeway's milk products, under the brand name Lucerne, was a mainstay.
Milk, ice cream, sour cream, yogurt, cheeses of all kinds - everyone knew that Safeway would have it.
Now, thanks to Sobeys love of bottled drinks, there isn’t room on the shelves for the items we once took for granted.
About the milk… Safeway also carried instant skim milk powder in family-sized containers, a real boon for the budget.
It seems Sobeys is trying to wean the west by selling smaller bags of milk powder.
Along with the loss in savings, we lost some old favourite recipes which had been printed on the bags.
You know how it is with recipes on packages - you just take for granted that it will always be there.
A neighbour was saying how much her family missed Safeway’s coffee cake.
She wasn’t talking about anything from the store’s bakery department.
There had been a nice simple recipe on the back of the milk powder bag.
Luckily I had a copy of the recipe.
And now so do my neighbour and you.
Don’t have walnuts? Chopped pecans or almonds also work in the recipe.
Ma also had a recipe for a coffee cake:
Don’t usually have sour cream in your fridge?
Then Safeway’s recipe is the recipe for you!
Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
For the Cinnamon Swirl
Place in a small microwave-safe bowl
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
Stir in and mix until blended
1/3 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 Cup finely chopped walnuts
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flour
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 375º
Grease an 8 inch square baking pan
Place in a large bowl
2 1/4 Cups flour
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup instant skim milk powder
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 Cup water
Stir until combined. The batter will be lumpy.
Spoon half the batter into the greased 8 inch square baking pan.
Sprinkle half the cinnamon swirl over the top of the batter.
Spoon remaining batter evenly over the cinnamon mixture.
Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon swirl over the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is well browned.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Serve warm or at room temperature.