What's Cooking in Region 1 - March 2007
by Marghretta McBean
March is Women's History Month, and I had the pleasure of saluting two women who have contributed much to Region 1. Both are from Northern New Jersey Mensa. Their Regional Service Award Certificates and pins are tokens of the esteem and gratitude with which not only Region 1 but all of Mensa holds them. Congratulations to both!
Dr. Abbie Salny has been one of American Mensa's "movers and shakers" since its founding. As its Supervisory Psychologist, Dr. Salny was the person who officially verified that yes indeed we are truly geniuses. After stepping down from that position, she has kept active nationally and internationally: she is currently the Honorary Chair of Mensa International.
Kathe Oliver has become the Gifted Children spokesperson not only for her group, but increasingly for American Mensa. Her monthly column, full of tips for raising gifted children, is read across the country. She sponsors monthly activities that appeal to parents, children and those who are neither. She is a true ambassador for the gifted child. Unfortunately for Region 1, Kathe and her family will be moving out to Oregon this spring. We all wish the Olivers the best in their new home.
I grew up in Long Island City in Queens, but right over the Greenpoint Bridge behind my grammar school was Greenpoint, Brooklyn home then as now to a large Polish community. Easter was a Polish gustatory festival: they kept a very strict Lenten fast which forbade eggs and milk as well as the customary meat, so Easter meant tons of rich, tasty dishes.
Easter babas were prized: only women could prepare them - men were forbidden to enter the kitchen. Doors and windows were kept closed lest a draft would hit the puffy dough. Once in the oven, everyone tiptoed around in stocking feet to avoid the horror of a collapsed baba. The baked babas were cooled on down comforters so as not to be crushed, hence the names "Muslin Baba" or "Feather Baba".
- Place egg yolks and sugar in large enamel or non-reactive bowl. Put this bowl into a larger one with hot water. Beat mixture until thick and light in colour. (Even with an electric mixer this will take about 15 minutes.)
- Crumble yeast in milk; add the tablespoon of flour and sugar.
- After mixture bubbles, add to egg yolk/sugar mixture along with vanilla and flour. Beat for 30 minutes (OK, at least 20 if you're using an electric mixer. But the more you beat the fluffier the baba.)
- Add the butter and beat again for another 30 minutes
- When dough doubles in bulk, transfer to a buttered lightly warmed baba pan (a steamed pudding or even a large Bundt pan can substitute) and let rise.
- When the dough rises to the edges of the pan, place in pre-heated 375 F. degree oven, taking care to avoid any sudden jolts. Bake 60-70 minutes.
- Having taken the hot baba out of the pan, sprinkle liberally with superfine sugar or cover with icing when cooled.
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