Friday, August 14, 2009

choke me for my chokecherry

In my attempts to be a good little country girl, I force myself to try new things: food included. It’s very difficult.


One of the foods I recommend is southeastern North Dakotan at worst and regional at best. So I’m sorry to make your mouth water, but you likely won’t find this at your grocery stores. I don’t know if the treat just isn’t as popular in Manchester, Iowa or Tuscon, Ariz., or if maybe the gods who listen when you pray just don’t love you as much as they love me, but if I could choose a way to die, I’d pick drowning. In chokecherry jelly.


Now, I’ve tasted delicious regional treats before. I even posted an e-mail I wrote about my kuchen-baking-and-ultimately-dropping experience last year.


And while kuchens and knoephlas and lefses and sauerkraut can be tasty, I’d say chokecherry jelly tops both Billboard’s Adult Contemporary and its chart of Hip Hop/R&B.


Take, for instance, the day Cowboy and I made pancakes with chokecherry syrup. The story is, Cowboy’s grandmother attempted to make chokecherry jelly, but when it didn’t set correctly, she jarred it anyway and called it syrup.


She did me a favor.


Basically, I got a chokecherry REJECT and yet I still knelt before the jar, faced Mecca, painted blood around my door and offered my first-born son in hopes that this Manna from heaven would rain on me forever. Screw water, send me some chokecherry.


So naturally, the side dish to any syrup is pancakes. And since I no longer believe in grocery shopping, I had zero pancake mix in my cupboard.


No bother.


I may have lost my faith in Leever’s Supervalue, but cook books: they have me singing HALLELUJAH.


So I plucked my latest used-bookstore purchase, dusted its cover and turned to page 44, Oatmeal Pancakes.


The directions say this recipe should yield four servings for a total of nine pancakes, but they obviously weren't feeding cowboys. I was. So my recipe fed two. And it yielded five pancakes: one mini, four large and one super-sized.


The recipe book calls for this:


* 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/4 cup whole wheat four

* 1 T sugar

* 1 tsp. baking powder

* 1/2 tsp. baking soda

* 1/2 tsp. salt

* 3/4 cup buttermilk

* 1/4 cup skim milk

* 2 egg whites

* 2 T canola or soybean oil


Since I would never purchase something as expiration date-y as buttermilk, I used all skim instead. And since I’d never heard of soybean oil, I used olive. (It’s what I had. Don’t judge).


So my recipe looked like this:


* 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/4 cup whole wheat four

* 1 T sugar

* 1 tsp. baking powder

* 1/2 tsp. baking soda

* 1/2 tsp. salt

* 3/4 cup buttermilk

* 1/4 ONE cup skim milk

* 2 egg whites

* 2 T canola or soybean OLIVE oil


If I don’t mention here that while I was the pancake mixer, Cowboy was the pancake flipper, he’d forever refuse worming my fish hooks. And that punishment, I just cannot bear.


So there.


He flipped pancakes. And he didn’t burn them. While wearing an apron. And singing Shania Twain's "Man... I feel like a woman."


What resulted was something I should have photographed, because likely, the Guinness Book of World Records would have included it in its registry of best pancakes in the WHOLE. WIDE. WORLD. That’s how good they were.


Now, I don’t write this to torture you (too much). And, I’m sure you’re Amazon.com-ing “chokecherry jelly” right now. Perhaps, by some act of contrition, you can purchase a jar of your own. Well, you can. But likely, it’s no better than Kool-Aid, Pop Tarts or some other cardboard-boxed rendition of homemade goodness that never compares to fresh-squeezed orange juice or grandma’s baked biscuits.


That, and 11 ounces costs $8.99. EIGHT NINETY-NINE. I can guarantee North Dakotans aren’t paying 9 bucks for chokecherry anything, unless you can use it to bait fish.


So, if you live outside the Upper Plains region and are willing to profess your undying affection for me in 500 words or less, I will send you some. Don’t expect the straight from the stove stuff I’ve got, yours will be from the store. But it will be the homemade stuff, sold in stores, if you know what I mean.


P.S.: Careful what you write. It may will show up on this blog.

Now wipe the drool off your face and get back to work :)

2 comments:

  1. Raissa Cookie JohnsonAugust 14, 2009 at 10:42 PM

    Did you know that the chokecherry is the official berry of ND?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I did, but you're right I should have mentioned it. Chokecherry is the OFFICIAL N.D. berry, everyone. It's almost as cool as Oklahoma's state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher... :)

    ReplyDelete

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