Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Doughnuts

Robert McCloskey is my current favorite kids' author. I find both his stories and illustrations endearing, sweet, and fun. In Blueberries for Sal, I love the contrast between Sal and her mother and between the Mother bear and her cub. I admire the human qualities the Mother duck in Make Way for Ducklings possesses, and I love to see her maternal instincts shine through as she cares for her new charges. The growing up experiences depicted in One Morning in Maine are delightful and poignant. And Lentil is just plain fun and presents all sorts of topics for teaching such as persevering and trying your best...and even a science project on lemons! But my all-time favorite McCloskey book has got to be Homer Price. Honestly, I didn't even know Homer Price was a McCloskey masterpiece until my mom handed me my childhood copy which she had brought back for me from Africa.

One of my favorite childhood memories is storytime with my mom. She had the Uncle Remus accent down and different voices for Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Before sitting down with Homer Price, my mom would always make a batch of her granola. Then I would munch on a bowl of the dry granola while we went adventuring with Homer. My favorite adventure by far was "The Doughnuts."

The kids and I have been sharing in Homer Price's adventures in Centerburg. Today was a sick day for us as both girls were a little under the weather, so we read "The Doughnuts." It sure was fun to read those words I've remembered all these years:

"...the rings of batter kept right on dropping into the hot fat, and an automatic gadget kept right on turning them over, and another automatic gadget kept right on giving them a little push, and the doughnuts kept right on rolliing down the little chute, just as regular as a clock can tick."

Although I should have used better judgment considering I have a sick baby, after our reading I decided we all ought to make doughnuts. Back in my Homer Price days there was a woman who lived on our mission compound whom I called "Aunt Jean." Aunt Jean made the most delicious doughnuts in the world, and sometimes I went down to her house to watch her. Well, I left the mission compound with a copy of her recipe, and while I've kept the recipe safe all these years, I've never tried it.

The kids were able to help out a bit during the mixing of the dough, and after the first rising, helped roll the dough out. Even the sick little princess helped, although she spent most of the time just watching from her chair, her forlorn little face in her blankie. I don't own a doughnut cutter, so we made due with a glass and a medicine cup for the hole.

Obviously, I did all of the frying, though not without worrying about someone getting hurt as I had a sick little baby clinging to my leg the whole time (like I said, I could have thought this through a little better and saved this project for a better day!).

But they were all fried and glazed...and of course tested. Since my hurried frying led to some very misshapen doughnuts, I don't think that, based on looks, The Pierce Doughnut Shop will be opening anytime soon. As far as taste goes, however, Dunkin Donuts--look out!

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