Liz May of Fairway is a retired payroll manager who enjoys community volunteerism, genealogy and traditional recipes.
She has been married to her husband, Gary, for 32 years and has two daughters and two granddaughters.
Q: Even though you battle a neuromuscular disease, you generously share your time as a community volunteer. What drew you to become a regular fixture at the Ronald McDonald houses?
A: A Ronald McDonald house is a home away from home for families, so they can stay close to their hospitalized child at little or no cost. Gary and I enjoy volunteering here regularly. I will often work at the front desk, but this Saturday, a group of us will gather in this Ronald McDonald House kitchen, which was just renovated at the beginning of the year, to serve a lunch and put together snack packets for families who are staying here.
I feel so blessed to be able to do all that I can, because it is heartbreaking for the families who have children being treated at Children’s Mercy.
Q: Home is where your heritage comes alive, as you have become a genealogy buff, which led you to membership in the Quivira Crossing Lenexa chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
A: DAR, as we call it, is a service organization for women who are directly descended from a person involved in United States’ independence. We don’t talk politics at the meetings; DAR members are all patriotic and community-minded.
I was able to trace my English ancestry back to the Benjamin Proctor family, which dates back to the 1600s in the United States. I also have relatives that were part of the Jamestown settlement.
Our local chapter is celebrating its 25th anniversary, while the national DAR is celebrating 125 years as an organization this weekend. As part of our national celebration, DAR chapters all over the country are doing community service.
Q: So you are making food for families in need this weekend, and you’re also making an investment in the community garden near the Ronald McDonald houses.
A: We are donating a micro-orchard of fruit trees — with the help of the Giving Grove organization — which will be planted to the east of this house in the community garden. Eventually, it is our hope that these trees will provide fresh fruit for the families staying here and for the surrounding community who helps take care of the garden.
Q: It’s fitting that you are sharing your apple cake recipe.
A: I got this recipe from a woman I used to work with and it stays moist for days and freezes beautifully. Gary really helps me in the kitchen and does all the apple peeling and cutting, since it has become difficult for me. This cake is delicious with a sprinkling of powdered sugar — but is extra special when you serve it with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
I want to be an example to our granddaughters and show them that community service is important. We enjoy hosting holidays with our family as we celebrate those family traditions.
Also, it doesn’t matter where you are in history, people have to eat — and gathering around the table together is still important today.
Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makes 24 pieces
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups peeled and diced Jonathan or Macintosh apples
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Sifted powdered sugar, optional garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening together using an electric mixer. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Incorporate dry ingredients into creamed mixture until just combined.
Add in diced apples and walnuts and mix until evenly distributed throughout batter.
Spoon thick batter into prepared pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the pan.
If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
Per serving: 190 calories (36 percent from fat), 8 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 200 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.