This article appears in Gravy (#45), guest edited by Wright Thompson. 

In Memoriam
A sportswriter’s legacy
by Wright Thompson

Furman Bisher died this spring, at ninety-one, and he will never be replaced. Forever, it seemed, he wrote columns for the newspaper in Atlanta, bringing the world of sports to the South, creating a bond with readers that never broke. How long did he churn out good copy? Put it this way: One of his career highlights was scoring a sit-down with Shoeless Joe Jackson. Despite his success, he always made time for young sportswriters (including this one), and his loss was felt across our community. At the Masters shortly after he died, the tournament kept his seat open, placing his trademark bucket hat there in memory. In our own way, we wanted to honor his memory, so here is one of Bisher’s favorite recipes, straight from the files of his mother. We miss you, Furman. —30—

Photo by Wright Thompson

Chocolate Sheath Cake*

2 cups sugar     *     2 cups self-rising flour     *    1/2 cooking oil (Crisco)     *     4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick oleo     *     1 cup water     *     1/2 cup buttermilk     *     2 eggs     *     1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon soda     *     1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir together sugar and flour and put into large mixing bowl. Place oleo, Crisco, cocoa, and water into saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. Pour over flour and sugar mixture, beating well. Mix together buttermilk, eggs, cinnamon, soda, and vanilla and pour into other mixture and then into greased and floured 15 1/2 x 10 x 1″ pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

*Sheath cake is sometimes found in community cookbooks and personal recipes to mean sheet cake.