(And yes, this is in fact a post about popovers, complete with a recipe -- but there's backstory first.)
I also love poking around in antique stores for books or any other little treasures I can find. Maybe it's the musty smell, or the fun of finding a reasonably organized store or booth, or trying to imagine the people that once treasured these treasures, but I'm a sucker for that ubiquitous red, white and blue "Antiques" flag. (I recently tried to share my interest with my 17-year-old stepson. His reaction to his first visit to an antique store? "Sometimes old junk is just old junk.")
So my visits are usually solitary, which gives me a lot of unrushed time to thumb through the books. Since beginning my ninja adventures, I've been drawn to the old cookbooks. It's a hoot (and wicked gross, frankly) to see calls for ingredients such as oleo, lard, saccharin, crisco and other yummy gems. However, I recently came across a whole collection of Vermont Grange cookbooks -- you know, those fundraiser recipe books, often produced by churches or schools, to which members contribute their favorite family recipes. Well, given that the Grangers were (are?) originally all local farmers, I figured that I might find some good eatin' in there. I was honestly prepared to see lots of versions of ambrosia salad but was pleasantly surprised to find instead some really interesting, tried-and-true, no-weirdo-ingredients recipes.
(Here come the popovers, I swear.)
The recipe book I purchased (for $5) is Vermont Grange Favorites, Book II, published in 1980 (Book I was apparently a huge hit, selling out its run of 5000 copies). One of the reasons I chose this collection is because all the recipes have attributions to the submitters. That lent it a personal touch for me -- like getting a recipe from your grandma or a good friend. So here's a special shout-out to Thelma Bushway of University Grange #335 and Elizabeth Higgins of East Haven Grange #457 -- the popovers didn't fail and are still yummy all these years later.
Never-Fail Popovers (Thelma Bushway and Elizabeth Higgins)
1 cup milk (I used 2 percent)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
2 tsp. melted butter
Beat the eggs; add milk and salt. Add melted butter and flour, beat 1-2 minutes. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Serve hot with jam or butter. Serves 6.