Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 2, 2011

Christmas dinner Saturday, Dec. 10 in Exline at community center

By Curt Oden, Exline Correspondent
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Here’s hoping everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Wasn’t the weather fantastic on that day? We even had the windows open for a while, it was so nice outside.

The recipe for this week, was one that was served on Thanksgiving Day, at Kendell and Dorothy Oden’s. It was made by my cousin Karen, who is a good cook. She even brought some of that cake over for us  to try that evening, along with some other treats and it was really delicious. It is called:


Milky Way Cake

Cake Ingredients:

8 regular size Milky Way Candy Bars

2 sticks of butter

2-½ cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup Buttermilk

3 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups sugar

4 eggs


Icing Ingredients:

3 Milky Way Candy Bars

1 stick of butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 dash of salt

½ cup milk (more if needed)

1 cup finely chopped Pecans


Directions for cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a double  boiler, or in a saucepan over very low heat, melt eight Milky Way candy bars together with one stick of butter, stirring to combine. Once they are melted and blended, from the heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt together and set aside.

Mix the baking soda with the Buttermilk, in another bowl and then add two teaspoons of vanilla and set aside.

Cream one stick of butter with the regular sugar.   Add the eggs, one at a time. Slowly add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with each one as you add them. Mix after each addition. Then, add the melted candy bar mixture to this batter and combine.

Pour the batter into a greased 9” by 13” jelly roll pan and bake for one hour, or until the cake is done in the center. Test with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Icing directions:   

To make the Icing, melt the remaining three Milky Way bars with the remaining stick of butter in a double boiler or a saucepan over very low heat. Add the two cups of  powdered sugar, the dash of salt and the ½ cup milk and blend together. Then, add the cup of finely chopped pecans and stir over low heat. Add more milk if needed.

Pour the warm icing over the cooled cake and allow to set. This cake will be sticky and the slices will tend to not be perfect.


Christmastime usually rekindles memories of events, from long ago.

I remember the neatest job I ever had, was during the Christmas season. I just came upon it by chance, out in New Jersey years ago. We were shopping in a specialty craft store that converted to selling Christmas decorations, cut Christmas trees and all sorts of items, during the holidays. I happened to see a sign that said they needed help during the holidays, so I applied and got hired.

My job was to help price and put out the decorations on the store shelves and if someone wanted to buy a real, cut Christmas tree that were outside, I had to go out and help them with their selection.

Since it was just a seasonal job, it ended when the holidays were over. To my surprise, the following year, the store manager called me up and asked me if I would come back to work for him and just sell Christmas trees at their store. I would not have to work doing things in the store, just sell the trees. It sounded like a good deal, so I accepted.

I was there the day a big snow covered, semi arrived from the state of Oregon with big, beautiful Christmas trees onboard.  They had  the old style Balsam firs, the thick branched Scotch Pine, nicely shaped Fraser firs and the Christmas tree that Oregon is known for, the Douglas Fir, which are big and majestic.

 The driver told me that the Christmas trees were cut, out in the northwest back in October. He said they have to cut them then, before the snow begins. The trees were cut, and bound with string, to tighten their limbs together to prevent damage in transit. The driver also told me, to load them into his semi trailer, he would put the truck into a pit and they drop the trees down into the trailer. There, they were stacked on their side, to get the most  trees on the load.

 Once the trees were unloaded at the store, I had to cut off the strings and place them in special pipe holders on the ground. That way, the tree limbs would fill out and could be seen by the customers. The extra trees, were left tied and stacked off on side, until they were needed.

The trees of a similar type, were all placed together, so people could make their selections as they browsed through the different kinds.

Once their choice of tree was made, you would carry it up to a special device that you would slide the tree through. This would place netting on the tree that would keep the limbs from being harmed, until they could get it home.   

The larger trees that would not fit through the device had to be tied up and secured with regular old fashion heavy string. You would then, tear off the price card, give it to the shopper and they would have to go into the store and pay for the tree. So it was pretty easy, to satisfy the customers.

When you are selling Christmas trees, there would be Christmas music playing, the people and their families that are there to select their special Christmas tree, are all in a good mood, so it makes the job really fun.   There are no grumpy people to have to deal with, because the selection of a Christmas tree by the family, is a unique event and a fun family outing. So, I would say that was the most unique job I ever had.

Tracy, Denise and I, had a nice traditional Thanksgiving dinner at home last week, which was real nice.

At the home of Kendell and Dorothy Oden, they had their family over for an old fashion dinner on Thanksgiving. They had their daughter Karen and her husband Rodger Maletta. Also there was Tim and Stephanie McGill from Pleasantville, and their three sons Brittan, Alexander and Grayson. The boy’s aunt Amanda, was also there for the family get together.  

During that day, the family also celebrated Alexander’s fifth birthday. Besides the pies and other desserts they had, Karen also made that Milky Way Cake.

Scott, Jodie, Austin, Jordan, and Trey McCoy along with Kaysie Pfannebecker, had Thanksgiving dinner at the Pershy residence with Tyson, Jeri and family. It was reported that they had delicious dressing and a really moist turkey, that had fruit inside of it, as it was roasting in the oven.

On Friday night of Thanksgiving weekend, Rick and Penny Sharp, became the grandparents of their  15th grandchild.  His name is Anderson Lee Clark.  He is the son of Ryan and Heather Clark. He joins a brother Lincoln and a sister Alice. They live just northwest of Exline on the highway, into town.

Best wishes go out to Nick Davis, who is the son of Donna that works at the country store. He was seriously injured in an automobile accident on Saturday, Nov. 19. He was sent home from the hospital in Des Moines, this past Saturday. It sounds like he will have a long recovery ahead of him.

The Exline Ramblers 4-H Club is going to help this year with Operation Santa. That group provides mittens, presents, coats and other items to those in need, from donations received in various ways, throughout the community.

There is going to be a Christmas dinner next week  on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. at the community center.   Please bring a covered dish of your choice, to add to the food.   Meat, potatoes, rolls and drink will be provided. The evening will hosted by the Exline Recreation Committee. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the Christmas season.