“Until death do us part.”

Those of us who have committed ourselves to another person through marriage took this vow. As a divorce attorney who has handled thousands of divorce cases over the last 30 years, I am well acquainted with the fact that, with some regularity, this vow is broken. The question is, why?

In pondering this question, let’s analyze this from an adult perspective.

As a former biology teacher, I am very aware that physical attraction initially draws a couple together. From an evolutionary perspective, this is very necessary. However, good looks is a lure, not a glue. Something much more substantial than physical appearance must take center stage to keep a relationship together. If you think about happy couples you know who have been together for years, undoubtedly you can identify shared common interests that helped bond the relationship. This could be such things as love of parenting, sports, gardening, traveling, exercising, entertaining, etc.

By now you are probably wondering what the topics of marriage and divorce have to do with a cooking column.

Let me digress for a moment.

As I write this article, Corman and I are two days away from celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. We’ve actually been together for 25 years, but for obvious reasons, we couldn’t marry until the battle over same-sex marriage was resolved. Through what I consider divine intervention, we have been blessed with two wonderful sons and a naughty, but loving, 5-year-old grandson. Like any marriage, ours isn’t perfect. Yet, shared common interests have helped keep our relationship strong through the years. Among other interests, the love of traveling and food have played important roles in bringing joy to our marriage.

Good food and wonderful friends 

Our summer trip has merged these interests with a heightened level of intensity and serendipitously brought this week’s recipe to me.

We are in Hilo, Hawaii, visiting our old Guam friend, Judith Lee, formerly Judith Lee Bothmer. Judy lived on Guam for 43 years. For many years, she worked as a teacher with the Gifted and Talented program for the Department of Education. She retired in 2006 and moved to Hilo in 2009. Her beautiful home is perched on the side of a hill with a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. To make the situation even more fun, our Guam friend, Fumiko Harada, is also finishing her two-month vacation with a visit to Hawaii. She joined us at Judy’s home.

Last night, Judy and Fumiko surprised us with a special dinner and dessert in celebration of our upcoming anniversary.

Fumiko prepared temakizushi, or as I call it, Japanese tacos. She prepped shrimp, eggs, crab legs, asparagus, avocado, poke, tuna salad, and cucumbers. These ingredients are rolled into a nori wrap and dipped into a blend of soy sauce and wasabi. They were super delicious!!

Judy made us a very tasty and flavorful lemon bundt cake. The latter is the recipe of choice for this week. It reminds me of the rum cake recipe I featured in Week 11. The ingredients are a blend of packaged cake and pudding mixes along with a few other ingredients, including fresh lemons. The cake is topped off with a lemon glaze. To elevate this dessert to a level of perfection, we added a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

As our trip nears an end, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to visit so many family members and friends during our travels. Without an exception, these wonderful get-togethers featured a full meal or a hearty snack. Some of the meals were prepared by our hosts, and others were prepared by Corman and me. As always, food intensely heightened the enjoyment of these social gatherings.

Corman and I thank all our summer hosts for their generosity and goodwill! We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. To be able to cap off our trip with a wedding anniversary celebration with Judy and Fumiko was so very special! With the pun intended, it was definitely the frosting on the cake! Thank you, ladies!!

So, readers, to keep your marriages strong, develop shared interests with your spouse that you both enjoy, whether it be cooking and traveling, or some other fun activities. Who knows, maybe this will help put me and other divorce lawyers out of business! I don’t mind.

WEEK 41 - Lemon Bundt Cake 

(good for 10 – 12 people)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

• 1 package lemon cake mix

• 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding

• 2/3 cup water

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1 teaspoon lemon zest

• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

• 4 large eggs

For the glaze:

• 2 cups powdered sugar

• 1/4 cup lemon juice

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

• Preheat over to 350 degrees. Generously coat a large Bundt pan with nonstick spray, then sprinkle it with flour.

• In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and dry pudding in a large bowl. Add water, oil, lemon juice, eggs, and lemon zest and stir to combine.

• Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.

• Cool 15 minutes in pan. Invert on to cooling rack set over a baking sheet and cool completely.

• To make the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cake and let glaze harden for at least 10 minutes.be

• Transfer to a serving platter and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Judith Lee got this recipe from the website culinaryhill.com

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