No excuses!

6 Jan

“How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue … and then you add eggs and sugar and you get cake? Where does the glue go?”                                                         – Rita Rudner

I sometimes forget I didn’t always have an enormous assortment of pots and pans, handy gadgets and time-saving appliances when I first learned to cook. I began cooking at age 16 –  in a popcorn popper in a cabin at Herzl Camp in Webster, Wisconsin. I was a junior counselor living amidst other junior counselors and my popcorn popper was the source of many a fine meal that summer. Once upon a time popcorn poppers were merely aluminum vessels with an electrical cord. You tossed in the popcorn and oil, put the lid on and voila in a few minutes you had a bowlful of popcorn. I discovered that popper could be used for far more than merely popcorn. I could boil water in that popper – albeit slowly – and prepare pasta – which I let cool while I warmed up spaghetti sauce – and eventually combined the two. I learned I could melt a bag of marshmallows with butter, stir in rice krispies and make rice krispie bars.  There were other concoctions we made that summer of ’68 – and it taught me a very important lesson – no excuses when it comes to cooking. Make do with what you have and you’ll do just fine.

Somehow I had forgotten my own cooking lesson until tonight. I’m staying with my college senior daughter in her apartment in Bloomington, IN for a few days and she asked me to prepare some of her favorite foods while I am here. I stocked up on all the necessities and set about making bars for her to take to the high school tomorrow where she is student teaching – only to realize I didn’t have all the “comforts of home.” So I improvised with what I had on hand – and you know what – I had fun making it happen. See the recipe for Scotcheroo Bars following – an old favorite that most likely originated on a Kellogg’s Rice Krispie box. I’m used to my Le Creuset rubber spatulas for mixing and my Wustof Trident knife for cutting – not to mention my special wooden cutting board. Armed with a glass (not the usual metal baking pan) pan, a plastic mixing bowl and a non-stick saucepan, I easily threw the bars together and even melted the chips in the same pan!

So no excuses – get in the kitchen and start cooking. I’ll keep you posted on how my matzoh ball soup turns out this weekend. Sure hope they have a peeler – not sure I’m that good with a knife! Got to go make my daughter tuna salad for her lunch tomorrow. Did you know that you can hard cook a single egg in a custard cup? Poke the yoke, cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for a minute. Don’t be scared by the popping sound! Remove the plastic carefully as it will be hot. Mash the now hard cooked yolk and white right with your tuna. No eggs? Tuna salad can go “eggless” as well! For the record, daughter’s refrigerator has eggs from last year – so she’s getting the eggless tuna salad sandwich!

Scotcharoo Bars

1 cup sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup peanut butter

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

In a large saucepan, combine sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Remove. Stir in peanut butter and Rice Krispies. Press into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. In a large measuring cup, combine chips and microwave 1 to 2 minutes (stirring occasionally) to melt. Spread over cereal mixture. Chill until firm – about 30 minutes. Cut into squares.

Makes 48 bars.



One Response to “No excuses!”

  1. Libby January 13, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Eggs from LAST year? Yikes! Love reading you writing about food!!

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