Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lithuanian Delicacies

this phrase is an oxymoron
I sit here stuffed after eating
needing to make the food
for the photographs
there is nothing light about
Lithuanian cooking

both Grandmas were Lithuanian
one of them a documented Jewess
the other undocumented
but who kept a weird sort of kosher
she would only eat chicken
or lamb from the shoulder
my Mother’s rebellion was to
use pork as much as possible

I don’t know if you have ever tried getting
a recipe from a Grandmother
“if I give you my recipes you won’t care if I die.”
and my favorite,
“ I am still working on the perfect combination.”
truth be know, they didn’t know how to tell you
cooking was done at one time
by people who didn’t read or write
it was taught by watching
a handful of this, a pinch of that

kugle is a perfectly acceptable
vegetarian dish that tastes so much better
with bacon
it is a noodle or potato pudding
I use medium sized potatoes,
one per person, one egg per potato
egg to milk mix is about
two thirds egg, one third milk
more milk if the potatoes are dry
also some flour if the potatoes
seem not to be full of starch
onions fried in butter until soft
and bacon or ham if you don’t
keep kosher

it takes FOREVER to bake,
at least an hour at 350
taste the center
if it is done, it is ready
if it is almost done
you can nuke for five minutes

don't forget to put sour cream on top

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Apple Pandowdy

nights grow longer and a chill begins
summer memories are packed away
and I think of autumn
that’s when Uncle Victor came
from the north woods of Wisconsin
his once a year amusement
was to show us how he could
peel an apple with his pocket knife
and do it all in one piece
he told us it was wonderful
and we believed him
this was before television

my Mother would then take
the peeled apples and bake us
an apple pandowdy
it’s like an apple upside down cake
a layer of sugar/cinnamon apples
topped with a slightly sweet
biscuit topping, almost cake, almost bread
she didn’t have a written recipe
it depended on what she had

it matters if the apples are moist or dry
then you add more or less sugar to them
brown sugar, that is with cinnamon to taste
if the apples are dry, add more sugar
the cake batter should be more liquid
a thicker batter is used over really moist apples

I fiddle with the one egg cake recipe
in Joy of Cooking, adjusting quantities and sweetness
always adding less than half the sugar called for
it tastes good hot or cold

(C) 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Filled Donuts

while traveling from
Glendale to Woodland Hills
in California
I wandered into Masis Bakery Café
on Alameda
asking for something
for breakfast
that wasn’t too sloppy to eat
while driving
and had my first Ponchik
a delightful confection
filled with a cream custard
and served warm

when I Googled the name
I found out that
Wikipedia lists the names of
sweet fried filled pastries
from over 80 countries
world wide
if you add savories
the count is incredible

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Chocolate Cake Redux

xocolātl, a Nahuatl word
meaning "bitter water"
consumed by Aztec royalty
its preparation complex
the beans must be fermented
to develop flavor
then roasted and ground
a drink was created
seasoned with chili
and other spices
not the sweet confections
we associate with chocolate

having tasted spicy chocolate
and appreciating the difference
I found a cake recipe using
two different chocolates
both powdered and solid
it called for stout and molasses
it is heavenly

there are endorphins in cacao
that feed the body and mind
bringing the joy of satisfaction
one finds when in love

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman