LET’S COOK: Popovers after camp
The simplest things in life are often the hardest to maintain, but last week preparing a family welcome home celebration, delight fell into place. Our daughter, Lydia had spent a week at Camp Metigoshe and she and Jan would be returning home late Friday evening. I knew I had to cook or bake something that is on Lydia’s favorite list. It could have been buttered beets, homemade noodles, chipped beef over toast, oven baked pork chops with rice pilaf just to name a few options.
I was puzzled on what to create. When I need serious inspiration, I head down to our fruit room. We are blessed to have this compact space in our basement where the temperature remains cool; there is storage and rows of neat shelves. In here I started weeding out the potentials as I looked through a stack of baking pans. In the upper corner on a shelf was the chief hallmark of impressive a 6-cup popover baking pan.
This was it! After all, who does not like the highest, fluffiest popover whose top crunches when you slice it open to let steam billow out before adding butter to their impressive mushroom rise. I had actually started marking popovers when Jan was pregnant with Lydia. Jan really never had a craving for “pickles and ice cream” but she certainly enjoyed popovers. Until this time, we had only ordered them in restaurants. I continued making them well after Lydia arrived and can still recall with much joy her blue-green eyes lighting up as a cooled one was placed on her highchair tray. Like her parents, she too relished the butter!
I retrieved from my recipe file my trusted, tried and true popover recipe and started the process. Many recipes call for heating the popover pan well before using, but not this one. I have tried recipes using that method and have not had as good of luck. So, I continue to use this very simple recipe. You may find that popovers can be difficult to remove from the pan. So having a well-greased pan is important and I have also discovered that letting the popovers cool just slightly before removing them also helps in their release. I currently use a non-coated popover pan, and it is made of heavy gauge tin. This is my go-to pan. I have in the past had non-stick pans, and they worked well. However, after much use, those tins seem to “wear out” and therefore stick terribly.
As I looked in the oven and viewed the beautiful rise of the popovers, I felt blessed they were perfect. A telephone call from Jan and Lydia put their location at the Minot Air Force base and the popovers had 15 minutes of baking time left. Now to set the table and make sure there was plenty of soft butter available.
It had been sometime since I made popovers so Lydia’s delight in seeing them as she entered our kitchen reconfirmed this was the right choice. We enjoyed a late night snack of fresh baked popovers and conversation about her exciting week at Camp Metigoshe.
Going to Camp Metigoshe, as many of you know, remains a lifelong love. The ride to the camp through the prairie country starts the nurture. Much of the land is level where crops grow strong and tall. Harvest was in progress. Once you proceed north of Bottineau, there is that beautiful rise in the land and an abundance of trees. This wooded area so reminds me of the area around the photography school I attended in New England. A drive through here when the foliage changes is always breathtaking.
Just in the short time Lydia was at camp, I can see a change in her. This is her fourth year of attending camp and she so enjoys it. Her time at camp reminds us to give thanks for mothers’ and fathers’ care, for love of home each day, for family and friends, for guidance, for camp pals and counselors, for our freedom to worship, for flowers that bloom in our backyard, for tomatoes growing by the step, for birds that stop by our birdbath, for special homecoming treats, for camp pals and counselors, and for our Father in heaven.