Trapped in Tropical Paradise: Part Nine

By Eleanor Motley Richardson | Aug 10, 2020
Photo by: Eleanor M. Richardson Rev. Joseph Kalloch

How ironic that Rockland got Hurricane Isaias while we swam under the sun in Florida! We won't get too complacent. Sahara dust protected us this time.

This coming Saturday, Aug. 15, from 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., is the 153rd annual Kalloch family reunion, usually held in Knox County. It is said to be the oldest continuous family reunion in America, and we know of only one other time it was canceled, during World War II. Peter, erstwhile family historian, and I have missed only one since our marriage in 1987. Now we are afraid to travel north.

While Kallochs might have wept, gnashed their teeth and rent their garments over breaking an amazing record, it was decided instead to consider this an opportunity. The newsletter is mailed all over the country, as the family scattered in seven generations. Rev. Joseph Kalloch and his sister Nancy Wall started the reunion, when some cousins came to visit from Indiana in 1867.

Although sometimes a fifth cousin turns up from California, mostly only New Englanders manage to attend. But this time we can really gather from far and wide! An amazing turnout is expected.

For the Zoom link, contact Paul Wilson at If you need help with Zoom, it's a great way to get the young people involved. I can't imagine what those old ancestors would think of all this.

Meanwhile, I take advantage of being trapped in La Florida to continue my Spanish studies. I had an amazing conversation with another grandmother in the swimming pool a few days ago. She is from Peru, and her English resembles my Spanish. Her 12 year old grandson helped us out.

Food continues to be the main topic. We discussed baking, and she told me she had just made a zucchini cake. The ensuing discussion of the recipe made us forget we were speaking different languages as we bonded over cake (el pastel). She sent her daughter home to bring us two pieces, which we reheated in the oven for safety, and it was delicious, whether due to the walnuts or the brandy I'm not sure. I wanted to send this north immedidately since it is August in Rockland, and you may have found the back seat of your unlocked car full of zucchini. I offer the recipe here:

Mix dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour; 3/4 tsp. baking soda; 1/2 tsp. baking powder; 1/2 cup sugar; zest of one lemon; 1/3 cup chopped walnuts; a small box of raisins; 1 tsp. cinnamon.

Mix wet ingredients, stirring briskly with a whisk: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil; 1/4 cup brandy and one small zucchini grated. Add to dry ingredients. Decorate the top with blueberries!

I don't know how I absorbed this in Spanish, but my cake came out perfectly and was gone very fast. (This is a half recipe. I used an 8" Springform pan.) Cook at 350º for 50 minutes.

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