Thoughts on Food – Second Course


[ A Frosted Loaf ]

April 9 – Not too long ago, our grandson Robbie invited us for dinner after David had preached the sermon in church. Both Robbie and Kevin had been learning about foods of all kinds and how to prepare them all through their life with their mother, Biz. They would tackle lots of food problems and come up with all kinds of good food, most of which I wouldn’t even try to make. When we arrived at their home, we found Robbie out in the kitchen working hard on a huge loaf of sliced bread. Of course, Dale and I asked if we could help. “Naw,” he said. “I can do it OK!”

Back to the living room we went to talk with his dad Harvey, and David and his wife. Not too much later, Robbie called us to fill u plates according to our likes and dislikes. Along with the special bread with all sorts of fillings, we found a delicately browned cheese roast, lovely broccoli, an apple pie that a bakery would be proud to sell, and a refreshing drink. Robbie had lived up to his reputation!


[ Edible cement ]

One of the things I make especially for David is “Cement.” I’d have liked to see your reaction when you first read that sentence! How could a loving mother ever agree to making that for her son? The idea goes back to Dale’s first years in Africa when his folks were missionaries. One of the food items they could not buy there was Grape Nuts; especially endearing to them, perhaps, as they lived in the Battle Creek, MI area where that particular cereal was manufactured by Kellogg’s.


[ The original recipe ]

After many tries to get the taste just right, Mom ended up with a good recipe she had figured out; one that would provide the same cereal that they could enjoy. How well I remember making “grape nuts” for the first time. Later, with our two little ones who were born here in the states, I added my grape nuts to their diet. I think they enjoyed our variety as much as they did Kellogg’s. I’ll include the original recipe for cement so you can try it.


[ Dale and the rolling pin ]

Through the years I decided that it would be more fun to roll out the mixed-up-together ingredients, then cut them up into long pieces, and bake them in the oven! I think that was an immediate success. You’ll never guess what the final name for those baked strips was! CEMENT! Well, the kids thought they were as hard and chompy as cement might be, so the name stuck. Better have a big, heavy rolling pin when you roll out the dough, as it has to be thin or it just won’t be crisp. Fortunately I can nab Dale when I make it, because he has big strong arms and can lift the rolling pin and run it back and forth to get the dough in good shape before I cut the strips. I almost forgot to tell you that our rolling pin was made for us by one of our neighbors; it weighs about 10 pounds!


[ Zwieback ]

Another item of food we learned to enjoy in Africa and have continued to enjoy since is zwieback, coming from the German zwei (two) and backen (to bake). So zwieback translates to “twice baked.”

Now, I’ll admit, we bake our own version of zwieback, not making a dough first and then baking it. Instead, as we used to do in Africa, we use white or whole wheat bread, usually a day or two old because it dries out faster than when it is fresh.


[ Zwiebak in the oven ]

After I lay out the bread, about a dozen to each cookie tin, I turn on the oven about 200-250 degrees, and let the bread dry out and turn light brown on one side, then do the same for the other side. When it is nicely browned, out it comes to be placed on a tray until it cools; then it is put into a big popcorn or other tin with a big plastic bag inside just waiting for it. You will find, of course, that the zwieback will always be crispy and good. – CHRIS


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