Friday, December 31, 2010

Midnight pancakes...

Someone at work asked me what I do to celebrate New Year's Eve. For many years, when I had teenagers at home, they and their friends seemed to gather at our small but welcoming house. I learned to love the sound of happy chatter, competitive games and twenty people calling me Mom at the same time. For some reason, it became a tradition that at the stroke of midnight, I started cooking a huge batch of pancakes, smothered with real butter and luscious streams of maple syrup. Nobody ever objected. I started out with small ones, about the size of a silver dollar, so everybody could get a first taste. Then I made regular ones until everybody was stuffed. Fun memories.

In honor of those memories, here are a few things maybe you didn't know about pancakes:

"Names for pancakes:
Silver dollars, flapjacks, hubcaps, Johnny cakes, platters, Saturday morning specials, griddlebacks, panky-doos, berry patches, 2-ds, flipills, circles of life, hotcakes, butter gutters, griddlecakes, and Chuck Norris crepes.

German Pancakes or Dutch baby pancakes served in American pancake houses are bowl-shaped. They are eaten with lemons and powdered sugar, jam, or caramelized apples, as well as fritters.

Pancake Day is widely celebrated in Australia: in a "pancake race" each participant carries a pancake in a frying pan. All runners must toss their pancakes as they run and catch them in the frying pan. This event is said to have originated in Olney, England in 1444 when a housewife was still busy frying pancakes to eat before the Lenten fast when she heard the bells of St Peter and St Paul's Church calling her to the Shriving Service. Eager to get to church, she ran out of her house still holding the frying pan complete with pancake, and still wearing her apron and headscarf.

A crêpe is a French variety of thin pancake cooked on one or both sides in a special crepe pan to achieve a network of fine bubbles often compared to lace - a savory variety made from buckwheat is usually known as a galette. In Germany, pancakes can be made from potatoes. In Italy they can be fried and stuffed with ricotta and chocolate into what are known as cannoli."

Sounds pretty good to me.

Oh, and have a safe New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nik's Traditions

My son, Nik, is unique, creative, sentimental, fun, mustauched, and a real traditionalist.

For more years than I can remember, he has given punching ballons to each of his nieces and nephews (like Thomas in this picture) for Christmas. In fact, they've come to expect it. (I'll bet Blickenstaff's has some.)

The adults have come to expect something else. He didn't create the recipe, but has made it his. What recipe, you say?

Christmas Honey Taffy, Nik-style:

(Use a good-sized pan:)
2 cups honey
2 cups sugar
1 T apple cider vinegar

Stir occasionally and heat just to hard ball stage, then pour into buttered glass pan.

As soon as it’s barely cool enough to handle, spread butter on both your hands, stretching it like taffy and doubling it back to pull again. (If it doesn't burn your hands, you started too late.) The more you can pull it before it gets too hard, the lighter the candy will be, literally. When you can't pull it anymore, whether because it's almost setting up or because your arms feel like they're going to fall off, stretch it out on the area described below.

Have a countertop or table already prepared. Lay out some waxed paper with powdered sugar spread around on it. Stretch the pulled candy into a snake-like shape and score with a butter knife every inch or so. It sets up fast. When it hardens, turn it over and crack it in your hands with a table knife handle; it’ll break apart. You can wrap it individually in waxed paper to keep it from sticking together or just chip off a bit with the knife handle when you want some.

Wonderful stuff, supposedly good for your throat, too. Medicine that tastes good.

Bring it on, Nik! (and p.s. to the other kids, I'll write about you, too, if you bring me stuff :o) Love, Mom

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stop by on your way from the North Pole, please.

I called to talk to my daughter in Cardston yesterday and my little granddaughter answered the phone. She turns 4 tomorrow and she talks really well. She told me lots of stuff about the cat and dog and her baby sister.

A friend of their family was going to make a trip down here last weekend and offered to take back all the toys, but for some reason, she decided not to come. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I bought a whole bunch of stuff, thinking this was the chance, no international shipping. I had told Taylor and Carver that I was sending them presents!

Little Taylor said, "Grandma, did you send the presents?" I said it was too far and that I couldn't send them now but would save them for when they came to visit. She's a great problem solver. She said, "I'll just have Santa bring me." How rational. I said, "That's a good idea, Tay, but maybe it will be a little too cold."

Anybody know the number to the North Pole? Or somebody who is driving from Utah or Idaho to Alberta around the holidays, besides Santa, I mean? I'll buy them a tank of gas if they'll get the box to my sweet little ones.