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What's Cooking in Region 1 - November 2004
by Marghretta McBean

This month's column salutes some dedicated members across Region 1 who have used their "smarts" in many wonderful and diverse ways:

Baril Bromley of New Hampshire & Maine Mensa worked with the FNX Radio Network (broadcast throughout the Boston area as well as southern Maine and New Hampshire). She obtained a sample test from the national office that was administered not only to the morning drive show's studio workers, but also as an on-air quiz for a tickets giveaway for listeners. According to the producer of "The Swasey Show", "...the phones lit up. Our winner was very impressive, coming up with correct answer after correct answer even while stuck in traffic. I suggested he check out your website and get in on National Test Day." Publicity like this is priceless! Way to go, Baril!

In the same group, John Bauman who is not only the President/LocSec but a proctor as well, proctored a reporter from the Nashua (New Hampshire) Telegraph in preparation for National Testing Day (NTD). A great article appeared in the paper, with a positive Mensa slant. If it hasn't been archived, you can read the article on taking the Mensa qualifying test by clicking on the link. Congratulations John and all the hardworking proctors in New Hampshire & Maine Mensa who even got as far north as Bangor Maine on NTD!

Speaking of NTD kudos, a tip o' the hat goes to Connecticut & Western Massachusetts Mensa had 37 (!) candidates for NTD. A round of applause to Dick Dolliver, proctor coordinator and his proctors in C&WM!

The week before NTD, I attended C&WM's MensAutumn RG in Cromwell CT. All attendees agreed that the speaker highlight was 13 year-old member Christian Burns, who gave standing room only fascinating lecture on owls, the Mensa mascot. Christian, who's a sophomore in college (yes, 13 and a college sophomore) illustrated his 1½ hour presentation with beautiful slides and graphics, all of which he had compiled. He also brought owl skeletons and feathers for audience perusal. The Q&A was handled with aplomb, even questions asking about owl mating habits and gender differentiation. Bravo Christian! We are already looking forward to your next presentation!

Down in the southern part of the region, DiAnne Chamberlain and Keith Armonaitis of Northern New Jersey Mensa, produced the second in their group's Distinguished Lecture Series. The subject was Paleontology, and the duo had assembled a stellar panel of experts. Attendees, who included many juvenile Mensans, were treated to discussions on the Politics in Paleontology, the Aurora Excavation site in North Carolina (with an accompanying video), and some of the controversies and theories surrounding dinosaur paleontology. A lively Q&A was followed by a hands-on exhibit of fossils from the panelists' personal collections. Everyone got a souvenir fossil to take home: mine is a shark tooth from the early Pliocene era found in the Lee Creek Mine in Aurora. I had to miss the first lecture on Astronomy because of the March AMC meeting, but hopefully will have no date conflicts for future presentations. Huge plaudits go to DiAnne and Keith for the hard work they did producing this lecture! I urge all of you to watch for news of the next lecture and try to attend.

And in the Miracles Can Happen Department: Whadda ‘bout those Red Sox???? The Curse Of The Bambino is Lifted! (As a Mets fan, I know about baseball miracles......)

A specialty of the Limousin region of central France, the clafoutis was traditionally made with the first red cherries of summer. Now the clafoutis is made with any type of seasonal fruit, so here's a perfect late fall brunch or dinner dessert:

Cranberry Clafoutis

  • 1 tablespoon butter (for greasing pan)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup (scant) walnuts
  • Confectioners' sugar
    1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a deep 9- or 10-inch pie plate or a gratin dish of similar size. Sprinkle it with a tablespoon or so of sugar, then swirl dish to coat evenly. Invert to remove excess.
    2. Beat eggs well, then add remaining sugar. Beat until smooth. Add flour, and beat again until smooth. Add the half-and-half or milk and salt, and whisk until smooth.
    3. Coarsely chop cranberries and walnuts. If using a food processor, do not overprocess — just pulse until chopped. (It's very fast.) Put cranberry mixture in pie plate, and pour batter over it.
    4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until clafoutis is nicely browned on top and a knife inserted into it comes out clean. Sift some confectioners' sugar over it, and serve warm or at room temperature.

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