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April 2003 Issue
Cat Food, Car Fires, and Spring
by Victoria Smith
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It doesn’t look like April. That’s probably because it isn’t, yet. It’s March 7th. I am really looking forward to spring this year. It has been a severe and difficult winter here in Central New York State. We have had snow almost every day, here in the boondocks, and we lost power a few times, and the heat once. The telephone was out, too. Great fun. Snow drifts over my head, doors frozen shut, trees breaking from the load of snow and ice. The people down the road lost their front porch to an avalanche from the main roof of their house.

Then, just about when we thought it was safe to let some optimism show -- that would be almost two weeks ago -- our car, without warning, caught fire on the highway. My Mom and I put the fire out with snow. One man stopped to help us, but his fire extinguisher was frozen, so we continued to fling snow at the blazing air cleaner. Or whatever you call the gizmo that was burning. Two more people stopped, (folks up here are so nice) and ultimately we got it towed into the nearest town, and our neighbor, Mariann, picked us up and gave us a ride home. As I said, that was nearly two weeks ago. We still have not got the car back. This means, as we are 5 miles outside of the village, that even to go to the general store, we have to hitch a ride. Mariann has been very good about this. Yesterday, however, she could not get her car, studded tires, 4-wheel drive and all, up our driveway.

We wound up carrying 80 lbs. of cat food, 35 lbs. of dog food, 10 lbs. of bird food, and Heaven knows how many lbs. of people food up the icy hill to the house. We got it all put away, and fed the troops and ourselves, and went to bed. It was a difficult day.

I am learning to make pancakes. Mom says that they taste is wonderful, and then she mutters something about presentation. She can be a cramp, but I do love her.

Last week, both of our dogs had birthdays. Lorelei, the Shepherd, was 3 (March 6) and Baxter, the Lab-Shepherd, was 2 (March 3). They never complain about presentation.

And anyway, my piecrust is terrific. Even Mom said so.

Give these pancakes a try. And don’t get upset if they fall apart. Mine did at first, too. My Grandmother always said, "If you can read, you can cook."


Nutmeg Pancakes

  • 1/4 cup butter (not margarine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • Nutmeg
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the butter in a 10-inch iron (must be iron) skillet. Allow the butter to melt in skillet placed on middle rack in the preheated oven. While butter melts, mix batter quickly. Put eggs in a blender and run on high speed for 1 minute. While motor is running, gradually pour in milk. Slowly add flour and continue whirling for 30 seconds.

Remove skillet from oven and pour in batter. Return skillet to oven and bake until pancake is puffy and well browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Dust pancake with powdered sugar and nutmeg. Pancake may be cut into wedges and served with lemon slices to be squeezed over each slice. Two alternate toppings are sliced fresh peaches, sweetened to taste, or fresh blueberries with a dollop of plain yogurt that has been sweetened and flavored with vanilla extract.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 45 minutes


Bread Crumb Pancakes

  • 1-1/2 cups fine, fresh white bread crumbs (Use a home-style white like Pepperidge Farm.)
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
The night before you want to make the pancakes, scald the milk, melting the butter in the milk. Pour milk over the breadcrumbs, cover, and let stand until morning. When ready to bake, sift the flour and baking powder together and stir into the crumb mixture along with the eggs. Use a 1/3-cup measure to pour batter onto a hot, buttered griddle. If desired, sprinkle a few fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries on each cake before turning. Serve with maple syrup.
  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: about an hour, not counting the setting overnight

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