Each year I lend my voice to the hundreds of singing spectators waiting for the horses to come out of the gate. As I sing along with the exited crowd, the beautiful words of My Old Kentucky Home, the song written by Stephen Collins Foster, bring tears to my eyes. My mind flashes back to my grammar school years where my teachers made it a first priority to learn this and other songs by him.
Some of the most popular were: Oh! Susanna (1848), De Camptown Races (1850), Old Folks at Home [aka Swanee River] (1851), My Old Kentucky Home, (1853), Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair (1854), and Beautiful Dreamer (1862). We knew the words to these ballads before we ever memorized The Star Spangled Banner. They were Kentucky’s own, embedded in our hearts and minds forever.
I’m grateful to my teachers for instilling this sense of pride in my own state. I can still remember the words to every song. They have stayed with me all these years when I remember my early education. And The Derby is an extension of that pride.
After the Derby is over, my family and friends and I light into the dinner which celebrates the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo with Mexican cuisine my daughter-in-law has prepared. It is delicious and I always bring home leftovers.
Such a mixture of cultures, always enjoyable, filled with laughter and camaraderie and the getting together of what has become a tradition over the years.
But Derby Day has a two-fold reason for celebrating. Along with the swelling crowds, the beautiful sleek horses, the stunning hats worn by just as stunning ladies, my son was born in Louisville on Derby Day sixty three years ago. So it was a win-win day for me, although I don’t know the name of the horse that won that day. I do know that I was a big winner with my newborn son lying beside me in my hospital bed. And that makes Derby Day a defining moment for me.
As I write this, the sun is shining and hopefully it will shine over Churchill Downs on this day that is uniquely ours on this historic day. A day that makes all Kentuckians unabashedly proud and stick their chests out a little further.
Pineapple Bars only a few ingredients and super easy to make.
Crust and Topping
1½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1½ sticks cold butter (cubed)
1 cup sugar
cup all purpose flour
½ cup sour cream
1 – 16 oz can crushed pineapple – drained
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
1 teaspoon coconut extract
Spray 9×13 glass baking dish with non stick spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter to mixing bowl, beat until combined and crumbly.
Take 1 cup of the topping mixture and set aside.
Take remaining mixture and firmly press into your baking dish, covering the bottom. Bake 15 minutes.
While crust is baking, whisk eggs in a large bowl.
Add sugar, sour cream, flour and salt.
Gently fold in pineapple
When crust is ready remove from oven and add filling. Gently spooning over the top of the crust.
Sprinkle with remaining crust mixture you had set aside.
Bake 1 hour or until top is lightly browned.
Cool for 15 minutes.
Using a fork drizzle topping mixture over bars.