But for this year's holiday, when that grandmother will be visiting her daughter in Florida, I've decided to make a coconut cake from scratch. My mother, going through family heirlooms, recently found her mother's old recipe book, a yellowed, seam-busting 1951 edition of Joy of Cooking packed with dozens of hand-scribbled recipe cards stuck among Joy's recipes, many of which are drastically altered with penciled notes. She suggested I make her mother's coconut cake this year because it was the best she's ever tasted—and this coming from a woman with whom I've eaten more coconut cakes than I care to admit. Her mother died a year before I was born, so I never met her, but I could tell from her recipe collection that she must've been a dang fine cook. Whenever my mother and her sister eat anything, they compare it with their mother's version, which wins every time.