Betty and Do.

There was a time (maybe it was a long time ago) when women had the time to meet over a cup of tea or coffee at some point during the day. It was usually at someone’s house and mostly spontaneous.  They would get together, to talk.

I know this because I remember my grandmother Elizabeth Ivanski, everyone called her Betty going “up the street”  at some point everyday to have a cup of tea with my Aunt Do., her real name was Dorothy, but no one called her by her that  name either. They’d share a pot of tea, something sweet to eat and a few cigarettes, but the point of the visit was the friendship that the two women shared. They were united by marriage as they had married brothers, my grandfather Steve and his youngest brother my Uncle Paul, but none of them had ever had an easy life; their lives were marred by sadness, tragedy, and rarely enough money. Yet, there were good times too, like the annual family camping trip to South River, there were always at least 20 of us at a time, at night around the camp fire laughing and singing songs that I was too young to know the lyrics to… But, to get through the day to day, there was tea, Red Rose, sometimes a slice of cake or a cookie, but always friendship, love and mutual support.

This recipe is from The Mary Moore Cookbook, a hard cover book, self published in Hamilton Ontario in 1978.  Mary Moore was food columnist, business owner, cook book author and single mother, all this pre-1970.  I like to imagine my Nan and my Aunt Do. sitting around her kitchen table, with their tea and a slice of this cake.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (recipe as written in her book)


1 cup chopped nuts, either walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon


2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

Mix together topping ingredients and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar until light and beat in vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture and sour cream folding them in, half of each at a time. Grease a 9″tube pan and sprinkle half of the topping mixture on the bottom. Spread half of the batter on top, then the rest of the topping mixture then the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until done.  Allow to stand for 2 or 3 minutes before turning out onto a large cake plate. This cake keeps well if carefully wrapped and refrigerated, but it is at its best when served fresh.

One thought on “Betty and Do.

  1. Nice job. Your stories are personal evoking memories of simpler times that have been lost to modern society. The aromas and flavours of the food let us reconnect, in a sensory way, with times past.


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