Wednesday, February 18, 2009

3 A.M. is muy loca

I have had sleep issues for years. When I was five, I woke up earlier than everyone else and rambled through the house. One morning I earned my Mom's frustration when I climbed up on a counter and opened every jar of baby food in the cupboard. I repeated that act the next day.

A few years later I woke up very early to "read" the paper and make doughnuts. These doughnuts were not from scratch but were in a refrigerated tube like biscuits. You remove the label, press the tip of a spoon on the seam and pop, the tube unfolds and you can separate the doughnuts and the holes. I found the cast iron skillet and filled it with oil and turned the burner to high. I strolled into the living room to read said paper. A few minutes later I looked up and saw a huge cloud of gray smoke coming down from the ceiling. I jumped up and ran into the kitchen. There the skillet was generating enough heat and smoke to resemble a locomotive. The only thing I could think to do was to carry the skillet to the sink and pour it down the drain. As I lifted the skillet, the oil burst into flames. I set the pan down on the time floor, flames getting higher and higher. Just in time my Dad came racing into the kitchen and lifted the pan from the floor and carried outside where he extinguished the flames.

He came back in and looked at me and asked if I was hurt. I said no. He said, "Do not do that again.". Miraculously there were only 4 tiles that needed to be replaced and no one was hurt. I expected to be grounded for life, chastised to the nth degree and permanently lose cooking privileges and frustrate any cooking aspirations I might have. Sometimes in life luck and gratitude can help a bad situation or maybe my parents just saw a desire that couldn't be stopped. They continued to be supportive and pretty much left me to my own devices in the kitchen. That generated more adventures, missteps and hilarity. I guess they could say, "I knew her when!".

Last night I went to bed at 9:00 and lived to regret it. After waking about 4 times, Doris jumped up on my bed and wanted me to get up. I resisted but she wasn't going to stop. By that time I was awake so I went out to the family room to hang out with my Law and Order shows I had DVR'd and the computer. Fifteen minutes later Dude ran through the room exiting to the back yard through the doggy door barking furiously. Doris ran out and started barking. I went to the door and called. Doris came in but Dude wouldn't stop. I went outside to get the little b^$(&Od. He was under a birdhouse Lee installed on a tall post. At the top of the birdhouse clinging to the roof of the birdhouse was a fat raccoon. The last thing I wanted was to have to tangle with the raccoon or to have Dude tangle with him. I tried to catch Dude. I would go one way he would go the way and vice versa on and on. I am in my t-shirt and flannels with barefoot chasing the nasty little dog. At one point I looked up trying to make sure the raccoon wasn't going to lunge and he had a look that said, "Jeez these two are so nuts. They call us wildlife?.". Finally, I captured the dog and carried him back in.

One hour into my day and things didn't look very promising at all. It's times like these I think back to doughnuts. Hot, fried and so good. You can't buy the tube but I could make something else that says comfort - potato pancakes. So calm, so normal, so comforting.

Potato Pancakes

2 large potatoes
1 medium onion
1 large egg
1/3 C. flour
1 T. dried parsley

In the food processor, place chunks of potato and onion. With the steel blade, process until the mixture is pretty smooth with no large pieces of potato. Add the rest of the ingredients and process quickly just to mix.

In a large skillet add vegetable oil to about 1/2 " from the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil on medium high until it is hot. Carefully place about 1/2 cup of the potato mixture around the pan and spread into a circle. Leave enough room between the pancakes so the oil can brown them nicely. When they are brown on one side, turn over. When they are brown on the second side remove them from the pan to a stack of paper towels to absorb the oil. Complete the process until all of the batter is gone. You can keep the first pancakes hot in a warm oven. These are good with a little butter and salt and pepper on the top. Of course sour cream or applesauce is traditional as are strips of crisp bacon.

Thankfully no fires or more dog raccoon battles Anne 1 Animals 0.


  1. We truly are kindred spirits!!! I did the same donuts/fire nonsense although I was in high school. My insanity caught the curtain on fire and when I put the hot pan on the counter burnt a huge hole in it. The hole was soon covered with a permanent wooden cutting board. Ken was on hand to use his Boy Scout skill on hand burns and shock. However did we stumble into each other...ha ha

  2. ok.... like i wondered where you were going with this one. i feared a recipe for racoon ragout. i still am puzzled. how did you get potato pancakes out of your story? is grease the unifying factor. was the racoon a greasy little critter. help me out here.

  3. comfort of childhood things, Dad rescuing me, me need comfort, no doughnuts but pancakes, yum. I still fry in oil - only fried chicken, potato pancakes

  4. What ever happens to my comments??? I wrote one for this and it hasn't appeared. I did the same thing....caught a pan on fire making donuts....only as a high schooler. Following the fire there was a permanent cutting board set into the counter...perhaps an improvement!!! ha ha