Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: A dessert that Woodward and Bernstein might enjoy

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One downfall of a career in journalism is your obsession with news — print and broadcast (radio and TV). And it is an obsession. Left unchecked, it can take over your life, as my family discovered during the Gulf War, when I was on maternity leave and the CNN theme was the lullaby my newborn fell asleep to. I couldn't tear my eyes from the Scud Stud, Arthur Kent, a Canadian broadcast journalist, who reported the news from a rooftop with missiles literally soaring over his head. I couldn't believe the risks he was taking — he was downright gorgeous! Must have been the postpartum hormones ...

The events surrounding Sept.11, 2001, had me glued to the TV every second I was awake — and that included in the newsroom of the North Adams Transcript, where a TV was on constantly. My husband put a parental control block on all the news channels after a few days.

The political atmosphere in the United States the past few years has me once again obsessing over news reports. I listen to MSNBC on my commute to and from The Berkshire Eagle every day. (Yes, that is me screaming in anger and frustration along Route 7.) I check The Washington Post, The Associated Press and The New York Times wire feeds at the paper several times a day. And, once I'm home, I rely on MSNBC and CNN to keep me updated, along with the AP app on my phone. I guess I'm just cursed with a need-to-know mentality.

My first obsession with a news event was the Watergate scandal. I would walk to Nini's Newsstand on Main Street (there was no internet then) and buy my daily copy of The Washington Post, so I could read the latest tidbits reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward had unearthed. I wanted to be just like them. (I wonder if they've ever cuddled a calf or gone contra dancing? There's their kind of investigative reporting, and then there is mine ... two very different realities.) In honor of those days, I offer this oldie, but goodie cake, allegedly served at the infamous Watergate Hotel.



For the cake:

One 18.25-ounce box white cake mix

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1 cup oil

One 3-ounce package instant pistachio pudding

1 cup lemon lime soda

3 eggs

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1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

Two 3-ounce envelopes Dream Whip

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1 1/2 cups milk

One 3-ounce package instant pistachio pudding

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut


In large mixer bowl at medium speed, add cake mix, oil, pudding, eggs and soda. Fold in chopped pecans and coconut. Pour into greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

To frost, whip Dream Whip and milk until peaks form. Gradually add the pudding and beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Spread on first layer of cake. Top with second cake layer and cover cake completely in frosting.

Press pecans and coconut into cake and refrigerate two hours or more. Serve cold.


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