Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
The “big question” comes up about this time every year. After the taxes are paid and the kids are beginning to count down the last days of school, our family’s thoughts turn to summer.

We start to circle the dates on the calendar to remind us when Meg has a softball tournament or when Alex will participate in summer drama. Baseball games, camps and wheat harvest all have to be anticipated.

And after the calendar is imprinted with scribbled notes written in a rainbow of bright colors, I ask the “big question.”

“Keith, where are you taking me on vacation this year?”

My question was met with a blank stare.

Sometimes his response has been instantaneous. But that was only in the years when we had a niece or nephew getting married in an out-of-state venue.

Most of the time Keith needs a few days to warm up to the idea and then a few more days to process his thoughts. Of course, the kids and I have a lot of input, but the farmer in the family always gets the last word.

Someday our lives won’t revolve around planting season and harvest. But until that day comes, we try to squeeze in our vacations when we can.

“Keith, any ideas on the subject?” I tried to urge him into conversing.

“Well, I guess we should start thinking about it.” He wasn’t too thrilled about conversing at that moment.

“Try to get back to me before the end of July. We start school again Aug. 15,” I conversed sarcastically.

A couple of days later, after a nice, relaxing dinner, I broached the subject again.

“Have you thought about vacation?” I asked sweetly and then promptly added, “Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know where I want to go, but I do know the places I could eliminate,” he said.

Oh, boy! Progress! I thought.

“Go ahead, I’m listening.”

“Well,” Keith took a deep breath and with a solemn look said, “I don’t want to go to any place where there are hillbillies.”

I lost it. I laughed and laughed. And he laughed, too. But he was serious about the hillbillies.

“I don’t want to go to Missouri or Arkansas, so a trip to Branson is out of the question. I won’t go to Dollywood or Opryland and I refuse to go to Graceland.”

“What a minute,” I sputtered. “Elvis wasn’t a hillbilly.”

“Close enough,” said Keith.

“OK, so hillbillies are out. What else?”

“Revolutionary War historical sites.”

Revolutionary War historical sites? Where was this stuff coming from?

“What do you mean, dear?”

“I mean I don’t want to travel across the country to stand on a hillside and look at a rock because some battle was fought there. The minutemen fought the Brits, we won, end of story.”

“OK, Keith, no hillbillies, no Revolutionary War. Anything else come to mind?”

“I absolutely refuse to go on any vacation where we go to stare at the Amish. They have a right to live their lives without some tourist gawking at them or trying to take their picture. The Amish have chosen to follow God by living dignified, quiet lives and we have no legitimate reason to interrupt their peaceful existence. They are people, just like you and me, and should be treated as such and-“

“Keith, I get the idea. OK, no hillbillies, no Revolutionary War, and no intruding on the Amish. Is that all?”

“I’ve never wanted to see the White House. I won’t spend time going on a tour of each room.”

“Uh, I think they’ve closed the White House to the public since 9/11, so that would be out of the question anyway.”

My husband was quick to continue: “That reminds me. I’ve never wanted to go to New York City. The only reason I would consider going to New York would be to go to the theater and if I was going that far, I would rather just go on to London.”

“Here, here,” I agreed wholeheartedly. “So, are we going to London?”

“Not this year.”

“So, where are we going?”

“I don’t know…. It’s a process.”

* * *

I thought I would tip you off about some new products that I’ve become fond of. First, there is a new-at least to me-brand of beef broth now available locally made by the folks from Boston Market. I like to pour it over roasts and cook the meat in the savory broth.

Another new product that has impressed me is a dishwashing soap called Dawn Complete. I generally use regular Dawn but found that the new product actually makes dishwashing easier. It seems to cut through the gunk better and leaves my hands silky smooth.

Sounds like a commercial, doesn’t it?

And lastly, thanks to Vogt’s IGA who is stocking my favorite new gum, Koolers, in the lemonade flavor. I love its cool tartness.

* * *

With low airfares from Wichita to Atlanta, we may end up in the Peach Tree State for our summer vacation. This recipe is best when the batter has been chilled overnight.

Georgia Waffles

11/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. sugar

2 tbs. butter, softened

2 tbs. shortening

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl stirring to combine. In another bowl, beat the egg and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing with an electric mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Make waffles per your waffle maker’s instructions.

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