Monday, November 24, 2008


I hope you have a pleasant Thanksgiving. Making a list of what I am thankful for would take days. I'll just pick one something to expound upon: grapenuts in a box.

In my "experimental" days, I made soap, not out of necessity, out of novelty. Squatting on the ground, stirring an enamel dishpan of lye soap with a leg bone, I felt very pioneerish/Indianish. Bring on the drums.

Corncob jelly was another venture. The recipe: start with clean corncobs. Did they think I'd use any other kind? Where were they getting theirs? Boil them down and add sugar. It was clear, red and tasteless. I filled two half-pint jars and set them on the shelf for decoration. No one ever asked for a taste.

In 1898 Charles Post developed a natural cereal he called grapenuts. I love them. When I came across a recipe, I had to make some. Graham flour mixed with brown sugar, buttermilk, salt and soda was spread on a cookie sheet and baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, then cooled. I mounted the meat grinder on the picnic table--it was a nice day. I couldn't bend or break up the baked grapenuts. I found a mallet in the garage, wrapped a tea towel around it and whacked away. Sharp-edged pieces flew. The stubborn remainders made my hands sore trying to keep them in the grinder. My effort netted about half a cup. Disgusted, I nibbled a few and ditched the rest. And that, my friends, is why I am thankful for grapenuts in a box.

2008 Red Convertible Travel Series

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