Monday 26 May 2014

Lady Fingers

I live next to a senior’s residence and every morning, an old woman wearing wraparound sunglasses and a baseball hat dumps stale bread in the park across the street. I’m like, “Damn, girl, why let the pigeons have all that goodness?” So, as soon as she’s gone, I run over, scoop up the bread and hurry home before I get revenge-shat on by the pigeons.

Caker creativity shines brightest with stale white bread. There are lots of things we do with it. We cut shapes into it for block printing. We use it as a sponge to wash our Chevettes. We also rub it on our feet to get rid of callouses before open-toed-heel season starts.

This recipe magically turns old bread into the daintiest delicacy of all: Lady Fingers! While I nibbled on these, I kept imagining myself among society ladies named Tipsy and Blousy, discussing things like polo and alimony. As to how these tasted – delicious! Just like a chocolate coconut donut. Tipsy won't suspect a thing. You might want to give her an umbrella, though. Pigeons can hold grudges.

1 loaf unsliced day-old bread (see note)
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons vanilla
9 tablespoons hot water

Cut crusts off loaf. Cut into 1” slices. Cut slices into 1” wide strips. Mix together cocoa, sugar, butter, vanilla and hot water in saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Dip the bread strips into the chocolate. Roll in shredded coconut.

Note: I let my bread stay out overnight, but it was still pretty soft when I cut into it. Damn those preservatives! So I cut it and let the pieces dry out more.

Source: Church of the Hosannas Centennial Cookbook, Hyde Park, Ontario

Monday 19 May 2014

Puppy Chow

What the heck is going on with dog food these days? Take one look at the ingredients and you’ll see things like duck, organic blueberries and filet mignon in a bordelaise sauce. And let’s not get started on how much it costs.

I had a dog growing up and here’s what we fed him: orange and brown Ken-L-Ration food (it looked like Play-Do pushed through a meat grinder), little discs of brown wax called “Chocolate Drops,” and, at Christmas, red and green-dyed rawhide sticks. Heck, we’d even let him lap up the milk from our cereal bowls. It saved us having to wash them.

You know what? That dog lived until he was 18. Of course, the fact that we never got him fixed might’ve had something to do with it. He was likely holding onto the hope he’d eventually get something other than a leg.

In spite of its name, Puppy Chow isn’t dog food. It’s caker food. And it’s dog-gone delicious. You get the sweetness of the icing sugar mixed in with the creaminess of the peanut butter, not to mention all that free riboflavin in the Crispix. Move over, dogs. This one’s for the people.

8 cups Crispix cereal
½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup chocolate morsels
2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter. Add peanut butter and morsels. Stir well until melted. In large bowl, pour over cereal. Stir until cereal is coated. Put sugar in large plastic bag. Add cereal mix. Shake well.

Source: Our 20th Anniversary Cookbook, Lambeth Co-operative Playschool Inc.

Monday 12 May 2014

Battle of the Veggie Dips: Marlene vs. the Winnipeg Ceramic Club

Marlene's Vegetable Dip

Now that the warmer weather is here, many cakers will be coming out of hibernation, trading in their cowl neck sweaters for wedges and tube tops – and those are just the men. We’ll also start entertaining, which means airing out the basement, washing the toilet tank fur and polishing the Tupperware.

It also means putting on a spread. And while cakers, in general, aren’t vegetable enthusiasts, we’ll tolerate a veggie tray every now and then provided those veggies come with a side of saturated fat.

The Winnipeg Ceramic Club's Veggie Dip

I couldn’t decide which of these veggie dips to make, since they both looked pretty good. Marlene’s called for Cheez Whiz and the Winnipeg Ceramic Club recipe called for that caker elixir, Catalina salad dressing. So I made both, slipped on the wedges and invited a friend over to taste-test both.

It was a tough call, but overall, the Winnipeg Ceramic Club’s recipe packed more punch in the flavour department. It was the right mix of tang and sweetness. Having said that, I fell in love with the colour of Marlene’s dip and decided to paint my walls with it. Now I’m starting to worry about the smell when the first heat wave hits.

Marlene’s Vegetable Dip
½ cup Cheez Whiz
1 cup mayonnaise
sprinkle garlic powder
Cream well, serve with sliced vegetables.

Source: Our Favorite Recipes Cookbook, ICU/CCU The General Hospital Health Sciences Centre, St. John’s, Newfoundland

Veggie Dip
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Catalina dressing
1 tablespoon chopped onion
Mix together until smooth and creamy.

Source: Our Favourite Recipes Cookbook, C.F.B. Winnipeg Ceramic Club

Monday 5 May 2014


If you’re ever around Italian people, you know they’re passionate about three things: spaghetti, designer sunglasses and singing superstar Raffaella CarrĂ .

Please, fellow cakers, never tell Italians how we make spaghetti. Don’t say that we put oil in the water and throw spaghetti against a wall to check if it’s done. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of Italian words – and none too positive-sounding. Whatever you do, don’t mention Ragu unless you’re prepared to deal with a lot of hand gesturing.

Let’s keep this Cheghetti recipe between us. The Italians don’t need to know how much we love spaghetti with Velveeta. (Which, by the way, is the reason I can’t afford designer sunglasses since Velveeta costs eight cockadoodle dollars.) The Italians won’t understand it. They won’t believe it tastes good. But you and I know differently. In fact, my mom said this tasted better than her Macaroni Casserole. This is major.

P.S. Don’t forget to scrape the spaghetti off the wall.

¾ pound ground steak (See note 1)
1 large onion
1 green pepper
1 ½ cup cooked spaghetti (break up 1 and 2 inches) (See note 2)
1 small can tomato sauce
½ pound Velveeta cheese

Brown steak, onion and pepper. Add the cooked spaghetti, tomato sauce and ½ of the cheese, cubed. Place this in casserole and slice the remaining cheese on top. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350° or until cheese browns. Serve 4-5.

Note 1: I had to use ground beef because the Velveeta took up most of my budget.
Note 2: Break up the pasta before boiling it. It’s a lot easier that way. I’m speaking from experience.

Source: From Our Kitchens…With Love, Glen Ayr United Church Women