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Articles from November 2005

What's Cooking in Region 1 - November 2005
by Marghretta McBean

Ivisited Chicago for the first time and attended Chicago Mensa's HalloweeM RG. What a blast! All the reports about this being the largest Regional Gathering in the country were true. Over five hundred Mensans of all ages partied and partied some more. Of particular interest to me was the large number of younger members: well over 100 GenXers and GenYers. Their presence seemed to make it a more lively affair: dancing to MP3 tunes and Pretentious Drinking were just a few of the crowd pleasers. Excellent organisation of dedicated volunteers was the key to the 30th production of a Mensan tradition.

The waning days of autumn have always been a time of reflection for me. For many, it marks the gearing up for holiday festivities, which seem to start earlier and earlier; I saw Christmas decorations in a store on October 15th, two weeks before Hallowe'en. Scary! Everyday the news brings information about yet another natural or man-made disaster: it is hard at times to find anything for which to be thankful. But as year end draws near, items do come to mind: the wonderful gift of higher intelligence; good health, particularly for uninsured folks like myself; the ability to run in the crisp sunlight; a wonderful daughter; my dozens of houseplants. The more thought we give to what we do have, the less time we can take to worry about what we don't have. Give thanks and give it often.

The smell of gingerbread means cold weather to me. These pancakes are great for a weekend brunch, or even for dessert:

Gingerbread Pancakes
Clafoutis

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup(packed) brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 large egg Ic
  • e cream (french vanilla or eggnog are especially yummy)
    1. Heat a griddle. Whisk together all dry ingredients, making sure brown sugar does not clump.
    2. In another bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients except ice cream. Pour liquid ingredients over dry, and mix gently with a whisk.
    3. Grease the griddle, if necessary. Spoon ¼ cup batter onto griddle for each pancake, allowing space for spreading. Lightly press batter into rounds with a spatula. Cook until undersides are very brown and tops are lightly speckled with bubbles. Flip pancakes over, and cook second side until light brown.
    4. Serve hot, topped with ice cream.

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