Sunday, September 21, 2014

Huckleberry Cake from childhood

My mother used to make it. This week I will make it for a party at a friend's house. The recipe Mama used is on page 84 of my book THE COMPLET GUIDE TO EDIBLE WILD PANTS, MUSHROOMS, FRUITS, AND NUTS. Here is a slightly modern recipe using store-bought blueberris. Heat oven to 375, and butter a loaf pan. Make any yellow cake mix according to directions. Then flour well 2 cups of huckleberries or blueberries, or a combination, gently fold them in to the ready batter (flouring keeps the berries from all sinking to the bottom, and bake according to the cake package. Serve hot with this delicious hard sauce, which people had a lot when I was a child. Again, modern directions: in a blender, cream 3/4 of a stick of real (salted) butter with 2 T heavy cream, I T each of brandy, rum, and sherry, and 1/2 teaspoon of real vanilla. Little by little, beat in around one lb. of confectioner sugar, until it holda a shape. Mound it in a dish, grate half a fresh nutmeg over it, and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the cake. Top each hot slice generously with hard sauce. We have been getting ready for our trip to Tanzania, shots in both arms, and wardrobes of brown, dark green, khaki, and tan (NO white, black, or blue: certain flies are attracted to all those colors. NO bright colors, as those disturb the animals. It's getting closer, but we will be a drab lot in the airports!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prize-Winning Recipe

Well, today I made spoonbread for some folks coming to lunch. In 1975, I entered a contest and won after s bakeoff at the Homestead bu chefs actually wearing those high white hats with puffs. I'd forgotten all about that until I decided it was a brunchy thing to have. So here is how to make it. Perheat oven to 400. Boil a pint of water, add a teaspoon of salt, then half a stick of butter. Add a cup of yellow cornmeal. Beat well, and cool somewhat (fifteen minutes or so). Then beat a very cold cup of milk and 4 eggs together, stir the 2 mixtures together quickly, and put them in the now-heated oven in a casserole dish. In 45 minutes or so, the dish is done, puffed beautifully like a cheese soufflé, and serve more or less immediately. It will deflate quickly, so have everyone around to admire it as it comes out of the oven. Serve with more butter, and --(this is not to my liking) -- maple syrup or honey. See why you call it Spoonbread??? Anyone listening out there? Say Hi!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

POETRY, ANYONE?

Can't believe I'm already four days late. Oh, me. Today I pitched to the AARP magazine an idea: not liking poetry that confuses and annoys (much the way I feel about most abstract art --just not to my liking--) I realize I am very out of step with the "most sophisticated" poetry today --if it doesn't make any sense, then what's the point? The New Yorker is my favorite magazine -- but about half the poems that appear (2 each week) just leave me cold --because they leave me floundering. I have no interest in writing poetry like that. I think a lot of people don't think they like poetry because what we don't understand makes us feel stupid. I am on a mission to write poems that bear thinking about but do not baffle readers -- poems with a spiritual component but that enlighten subtly. Poems that use the most specific, yet artistic, language available. As a teacher, my first goal was to help my students to understand literature SO THAT THEY WOULD LOVE IT ALL THEIR LIVES. If feedback is worth anything, then I at least sometimes succeeded. Life must be so much more pleasurable to readers than to non-readers. And poetry is the most concentrated of all language, so it deserves more attention than looser writing. But my mission is to let people in to my poems for a moment of joy or humor or just understanding. Any comments out there???? Katie