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A little of this, A little of that

By Kathy Little

Fri, May 9th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Kay Scarpetta are my detective heroes. Since I love to read mystery novels, I start to think of these characters as real people who are exceptionally bright and who have family, friends and even hobbies! Nancy Drew drives her sporty roadster when not detecting. Sherlock Holmes plays his violin in off hours while Miss Marple knits and Kay Scarpetta cooks.

As a long time fan of “Law and Order”, I have perfected “police speak” for investigating crime. For instance, I know that in order to solve a case it is necessary to determine motive, means and opportunity. I hope you readers will help me solve this mystery: WHY DO PEOPLE STILL COOK?

It is a fact that cookbooks are still being published and sold. Just check out Barnes and Noble. Techies can consult various cooking sites on the web. Cooking shows abound on television.

I prefer to consult cookbooks and have at least 30, plus folders and boxes full of recipes from NEWSPAPERS and magazines. Some of my favorites are vintage like “Aunt Bea’s Cookbook” from the Andy Griffith show. At Goodwill I recently purchased “The Soprano Family Cookbook”, complete with family pictures and stories. You must remember Tony and the gang (mob). It is amusing and may even become a collectable and increase in value.

But back to the mystery question. There are enough restaurants and prepared frozen microwaveable food that nobody should have to turn on a stove anymore. When the first TV dinners appeared in stores, some predicted the demise of home cooking. It didn’t happen. Kitchens are bigger, better and more expensive than ever. Cooks keep on cooking. What is their motive? Perhaps, money, health, or creativity?

So on to means. Every kind of cooking utensil is available (even cooking torches), famous cook or chef designed pots and pans abound , and stainless steel appliances are all the rage.

As for opportunity: sit down family dinners, birthdays, holiday meals, brunches, lunches, showers, and potlucks provide ample situations to showcase culinary ability. So search your conscience. Lie detector tests will not be given. Only you know why you continue to cook. I would love to hear your confession.

I have to continued to cook because I have spent money on all the cooking toys: china, crystal, chargers, linens, napkin holders, place card holders, nut cups, and even knife rests. If I don’t use these items that take up a lot of room in our house, I will be relentlessly interrogated by my husband as to why I buy stuff we really don’t need and never use. I will not be allowed to call my lawyer, and he will sentence me to “life without shopping”. I have my defense memorized.

Since my last purchase was a popover pan at a garage sale (my friend Carolann Collette has two of these, both purchased at garage sales), I baked popovers using Martha Stewart’s recipe. What a die-hard detective Martha would make!


3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. salt

vegetable oil nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a popover pan on rack in lowest position. Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl until very frothy (about 1 minute). Add flour and salt to egg mixture and whisk until smooth but with still some small lumps remaining.

Carefully remove popover pan from oven and coat with cooking spray. If you are using a regular muffin tin, only coat and fill the outer cups and reduce baking time by 5 minutes.

Fill popover cups 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 350. Bake 20 minutes more until puffs are golden brown and dry to the touch.

Turn them out on a wire rack immediately and poke a small opening with a paring knife in the side of each. Serve immediately with butter and whatever.

Makes 6 large popovers or 10 small popovers, if using a muffin tin.

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