Real Cooking

Hey, it was great coming to the computer this morning and seeing I had an e-mail waiting from you.

What have I been doing lately? Selling doughnuts, flipping funnel cakes, and going to baseball games in the pouring rain.

I always thought games were called if it rained, but apparently not for older kids. I should quickly mention there was absolutely no lightning in the area-no one was in danger of being fried.

But by the end of the game last Thursday, Alex and the other boys were soaking wet as were many of the spectators. The kids didn’t seem to mind at all-imagine that! I was glad to have an umbrella.

The game between Marion and Hillsboro was rescheduled from Friday to a Thursday night due to Marion’s big Chingawassa Days celebration.

Have you ever gone to Marion for that party? Meg’s dance group performed there Saturday and then she and I worked the King’s Concession booth as part of a fund-raiser for her softball team.

It was kind of fun to watch Meg and her friend, Suzy Lindsay, transform from dancing girls dolled up in costumes completed with foo-foo hair and stage makeup to softball players sporting ponytails, shorts and a T-shirts.

It’s always fun to work in Mark and Tina (Crazy Tina) King’s concession trailer even though the quarters are fairly tight and at times it can be hot and hectic work.

But on Saturday, the temperatures were cool, so I was happy to stand by the deep fryer that churns out crispy funnel cakes and golden-brown fry bread for the King’s famous Indian tacos.

After some careful instruction, Mark trusted me to mix up the dough for the fry bread. I guess he thought that after 13 years as a caterer, I might be capable help.

Then he showed me how to flatten a piece of dough, making a few small holes in the center for venting, and then how to carefully slide it into the vat of hot, bubbling oil.

By the end of my shift, I was soloing, but the fry bread was a cinch compared to the funnel cakes. Mark allowed me to make some of those as well.

Now, that’s an art and Mark is the king. There’s this whole thing with ratios of batter to oil and the pattern that you make when you’re swirling that stuff around in the circle metal ring that serves as a mold….

It’s hard to explain, but the crew ended up eating my first attempt at funnel-cake making. It was an ugly thing with pointy peaks that fell apart mid fry. But it tasted great, topped with powdered sugar, cream cheese and cherries.

After an afternoon of concessions, I went to find the kids that had ridden over to Marion with me. I found them all having a blast dancing to the music of a polka band.

The band had struck up “The Chicken Dance,” a favorite at middle school dances. So Meg and her friends, along with Alex and his friends, were shaking it up on the dance floor.

They were fun to watch. I was surprised-and pleased-that when the music turned to a waltz, they paired themselves into partners and tripped the light fantastic.

It was a sweet moment, but don’t tell them that. Cool, yes. Fun, yes. Sweet, no.

Middle schoolers, agh!

But, speaking of sweet, as you know the softball team sold doughnuts on Friday. (Thanks, by the way, for buying a dozen.)

Tina, Luke Lindsay and I went down to Krispy Kreme in Wichita to pick them up that morning. By the time we had unloaded the trucks at Vogt’s IGA parking lot, the doughnuts had all been sold.

We didn’t even have a chance to set up a booth in front of the store.

Since we finished the doughnut fund-raiser early, I was able to take my kids-and some others we rounded up-out for a birthday lunch.

Meg and Alex turned 14; I still can’t believe it. They chose to drive to Durham to eat at our family favorite Main Street Café. I was glad because it gave me an opportunity to check our reservations for this Thursday’s prime rib dinner special.

We’re taking Keith out for an early Father’s Day celebration. We might be able to get reservations for you, too. Why don’t you and yours join us?

Well, I better go. This has turned out longer than I expected and I still have a column to write for the Free Press. I don’t have a clue what to write about. Hope something sparks soon, I want to keep my editor happy because I want to ask for a couple of weeks off this summer. We’ll see what happens.

Take care, Cheryl

* * *

We lost Keith’s dear Aunt Ruth Jost this past week. As part of her tribute, her children passed out one of her favorite recipes-a thoughtful touch, as Ruth was a skilled cook and known for her gift of hospitality. We on earth were blessed to have had her with us and now heaven is blessed by her presence at the foot of God’s throne.

Aunt Ruth’s Maple Chiffon Cake

21/4 cups sifted cake flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tsp. Baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 egg yolks

3/4 cup cold water

2 tsp. maple flavoring

1 cup (about 7-8) egg whites

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Sift first four ingredients together into mixing bowl. Stir in brown sugar. Make a well in dry ingredients. Add in order: oil, egg yolks, water and flavoring. Beat until satin smooth.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Pour batter in thin stream over entire surface of egg whites; fold in gently. Fold in nuts.

Bake in ungreased 10-inch tube pan at 350 for one hour. Invert pan to cool. Frost with Golden Butter Frosting.

Golden Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp. maple flavoring

1/4 cup cream

Melt butter in saucepan. Keep over low heat until golden brown, watching carefully to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

Place four cups of powdered sugar in mixing bowl. Beat in melted butter and add flavoring. Blend in cream until you reach spreading consistency.

Note: For one cake, you may want to cut this recipe in half.

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