Real Cooking

Jandi Nikkel. She’s a member of the Hillsboro Crush softball team that sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts last Thursday here in Hillsboro and I owe her a public apology for cutting her name off of all the publicity notices and posters that were hung around town.

It wasn’t on purpose. I have no hidden agenda. I was just in a hurry the day Meg and I whipped up a printout on our computer to use as a base for the Crush’s doughnut promotion.

I carefully listed all of the players’ names, entering them in by alphabetical order-to be fair, you know-and Jandi’s name came last.

After Meg and I both proofed the script, we printed several copies and distributed them around town.

What we didn’t notice was that the border we had added had wiped Jandi’s name right off the poster. Jandi’s been a good sport about the whole incident, giving me a good teasing, but to make it up to her, I wanted to mention her name here. So here it is.

Jandi Nikkel.

Many people have asked how the team did with the Krispy Kreme sales, and I’m happy to announce that we sold 300 dozen doughnuts in three hours. It was a relatively easy money-making project, although that morning when Tina King, Luke Lindsay and I arrived bright and early at Krispy Kreme to pick up the doughnuts, we were greeted with the news that our order was 100 dozen short.

Long story short, Tina and I left Wichita with a van piled high with dozens of warm, glazed doughnuts and left Luke at the shop to hurry along the rest of our order.

When Coach Lindsay pulled into Vogt’s IGA parking lot at about 10 o’clock, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief and get the rest of our orders processed.

Thanks to all of you in the community who made the Crush’s fund-raiser a success. By the way, some folks have asked when the girls might repeat “doughnut day,” I’m guessing the Krispy Kremes were greatly enjoyed. Maybe some other youth or civic group would like to do the honors of bringing doughnuts to Hillsboro.

It seems like this community is doughnut crazy. Maybe its because our doughnut shop has closed. Like so many other businesses.

Driving down Main Street these days makes one wonder just where Hillsboro is headed. I read Don Ratzlaff’s thoughtful editorial last week concerning the empty spaces on Main and how those storefronts might be filled, and it got me to thinking about what types of retailers might profit by coming to our fair city.

And, to be honest, I was hard pressed to come up with any plausible ideas. I hate to think that I’m a pessimist-always calling myself a realist-but in this day and age of super stores and mega malls, today’s consumer has become used to having a wide selection at discounted prices.

A retailer in private ownership has to rely on the personal. He or she has to provide a unique product, service or experience that will build up a word-of-mouth reputation and a customer base. That’s hard to do in a large market, say for instance in Wichita or Salina, and it’s harder to do in a small market like Hillsboro.

But that’s not to say that it can’t be done.

Yesterday, on our way back from our farm in Kingman, we passed through downtown Newton and were amazed at the number of storefronts that stood empty along that city’s Main Street.

As a child, I can remember going “to town” every Saturday afternoon and stopping in at the various merchants that lined that same, now somewhat deserted street.

Looking at clothing with my mother and sister at Katherine’s, Katydid, The Thimble Shop, J.C. Penney and Cunningham’s. Stopping in at one of the many shoe stores. Getting a cherry coke for only a nickel at Wilson’s Drug Store.

My, how things have changed. And I know that I helped to change it. I stopped going downtown and started going to “The Mall” and “The Discount Store.” How could I not?

I suppose I could have sacrificed my wallet and limited my choices by sticking to a few downtown retailers, but I didn’t.

Like most of America. And like most of America, I don’t feel guilty about doing it. Until I see stores sitting empty on our Main Streets. But even so, it won’t make me change my purchasing habits. I’ll still go to the places where I get lost in the parking lot.

Oh sure, I’ll buy most of my clothing at Nancy’s. And we’ll still be at The Lumberyard and the True Value store finding hardware and building supplies. And the grocery store can count on me making several trips during the week.

But what will we do about the rest of Main Street? Who will be willing to step up and take a chance? Who will be ready to give their time, energy and money toward building a business in a small town where the chances of making it are slim?

I think future small-town retailers need to think out of the box. Unique boutiques. Old fashioned mercantiles. Antique stores. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I’ll be waiting. And while I’m waiting, I’ll try not to inadvertently look over (like Jandi Nikkel) the existing Hillsboro business.

Because no one should be left out.

* * *

A summertime treat with a lower fat content for all of those who are watching their warm-weather figures.

Peanut Butter-Banana Cream Pie


1 cup vanilla-wafer cookie crumbs (about 20 wafers)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

21/2 tbs. butter, melted


3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup (4 oz.) 1/3 less-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 (8 oz.) fat-free whipped topping

11/2 cups sliced bananas (about two bananas)

1/4 cup fat-free chocolate sundae syrup

Mix together crust ingredients and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

For filling, beat together brown sugar, cream cheese, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Arrange banana slices in bottom of crust. Spread filling over top. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Cover and freeze for eight hours. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

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