Recipes can forge an unlikely bond at times. I grew up in a small Utah town, and like most people - we didn't choose our neighbors. Sometimes you hit the jackpot with great neighbors. Other times, well... it takes years (and effort and shared experiences) to discover they are good as gold deep inside.
My parents tried for years to become friends with one of our neighbors, but there was always a conflict. One word - DOGS. This went on the entire time I lived at home, and up until the year before my mother passed away. When the breadwinner of that household passed away, a sweet friendship was finally allowed to bloom between my mother and her neighbor. The interesting thing was they had always admired each other... through their recipes in the ward cookbook.
A ward cookbook is a magical thing. It's like sharing your DNA. The cherished family recipes that define you are taken and tried in another person's home and they "adopt" them as their own. I do it all the time. My mother's ward cookbook is one of my cherished possessions. In it, she has written her evaluation of each recipe. Some have glowing recommendations - and then there are the recipes that have "NO!" in bold letters in the margin.
This recipe was obviously well loved and splattered with who knows what. Mom's handwritten notes in the margin are now blurry. I can't make it QUITE like Mom's, but it is the best carrot cake I've ever had. I'm sure Nancy misses my mother, and someday their friendship will continue.
Just a few tips: I've always used a large 20-oz can of crushed pineapple - but be sure to squeeze most of the liquid out first. I use the finest shredder on my food processor for the carrots. You might want to mix by hand once you add the carrots so you don't end up with a tangled mess in your beaters. Nancy added coconut and chopped nuts to the top of her carrot cake. And... in case you hadn't noticed - this carrot cake is not a beautiful thing when you slice it. So MANY good things mixed in make it a challenge to cut flawlessly. But take a bite, and you won't care.
I always tell my kids that only "interesting" people love carrot cake - it's off limits to those who haven't lived long enough to enjoy nuts, raisins, and all those "textures" interesting adults love.