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Articles from February 2006

What's Cooking in Region 1 - February 2006
by Marghretta McBean

The unseasonably warm mid-January weather accompanied me on my over eight hour train ride up for a weekend in Randolph, Vermont. There I was pleased to be the guest of Vermont Mensa's new president, Katja Swift. She, her husband and lively almost 3 year old daughter hosted a warm & wonderful "post holiday" party. Some of the Vermont attendees had never been to a Mensan event, but had nonetheless traveled over two hours to enjoy great food, sparkling conversation (natch!), a wealth of board games and strategising for Vermont Mensa's future. Other visitors included a mini contingent from New Hampshire: Claire Natola, the editor of the award-winning Momentum; John Bauman, New Hampshire & Maine Mensa's president; and Dr. John Sheehan, American Mensa's Director of Development. All were eager to share their insights about group dynamics, from volunteer recruitment to event planning logistics. Four prospective members also joined the festivities and seem likely to join after meeting such "normal" [their word] people.

Upon returning to the Big Apple, I found that Mensa politics had not been idle. Alan Baltis, the Vice Chair of Region 3 (our northwestern neighbour) had resigned from the American Mensa Committee, Mensa's board of directors. A search is currently underway for his replacement, who must be approved by a vote of the AMC.

March is membership renewal month, but it is also a good time to consider the wonderful proctors who are responsible for so many of us joining Mensa. The first Mensan many of us (including me) formally met was the person who administered the qualifying test. Arthur Pogran, 93 years young and still an active member of Greater New York Mensa, tested me thirty years ago - I was just a mere tot ;-) . If you have a college degree, like meeting people, can give & follow instructions and have a few hours to spare a month, please consider becoming a proctor. Ask your local group's Proctor Coordinator for more info.

"Carnevale" means "farewell to meat"; in many cultures not only meat, but dairy items are eliminated during Lent, the forty days of fasting before Easter. The days leading up to Ash Wednesday (1 March this year), the beginning of Lent, are full of festivities and luscious foods in Brasil, home of my maternal grandfather. This rich Carnevale cake uses copious quantities of the rich ingredients which have to be used up before Lent begins. :

Bôlo de Castanha do Para (Brasil Nut Cake)
Brasil Nut Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 12 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup port
  • 2 cups finely chopped Brasil nuts
  • 6 egg whites, beaten until soft peaks form
    1. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
    2. Cream butter and sugar together until lemon coloured and creamy.
    3. Add egg yolks and beat well.
    4. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to first mixture alternating with the milk and wine. The first and last additions should be dry.
    5. Stir in the nuts.
    6. Fold in the egg whites.
    7. Bake in a parchment paper lined (or greased and floured) 10 inch (diameter) x 4 inch (deep) tube pan for 1 hour or until tests done.

    Note: Egg whites freeze perfectly for up to one year. Use ice cube trays: 2 tablesspoons equal one egg white.

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