Pioneer Potluck: About hen-grenades

Sunday evening, June 2, 2013


Ricks Ranch, North Nikiski


The military knows about hand grenades but I don’t know how many cooks know about HEN-GRENADES!

When the Alaska sun shows its bright shiny head and we have discarded our wool undies after wearing them for about eight months, we began to multitask. Most cooks start their day planning what to make for the family for an evening meal. This day was a nice Alaska treat as it was warm and calm.

The cook in this family, Grannie Annie, decided to boil eggs for a salad. Having many eggs on hand instead of boiling six eggs she decided to boil eight. So eggs in the pot and heat turned on the stove, she set the timer on the microwave and wrote EGGS on the palm of her hand.

After a few minutes she remembered that she needed to water the plants out doors. After watering the plants she went out to the Cave-shop to see what I was doing. We talked a while about the story she was writing about my old Escort. She took down notes and headed for the computer in the sewing room so as not to forget all the details that we had discussed.

She had the notes in the computer when a car drove in. It was Porter and Susan from the greenhouse. They talked for a few minutes and she started to show off her beautiful plants to Susan, that Susan and Porter had raised in their greenhouse. She smelled something stinky. Looking up and heading for the kitchen door, she went into total panic, realizing what she had done, she quickly opened the door. Black smoke and smell rolled out of the house. The house was full of smoke and the stench was truly very dreadful.

The eggs had exploded and the mess was unbelievable! There were egg shells embedded in the sheet rock and everything in the kitchen was covered with bits and pieces of exploded eggs. Quickly turning off the burner and grabbing potholders she took the Vision Glass pot with two remaining exploded eggs out of the house and headed for the fire-pit to dispose of what remained of the eight eggs.

Back in the house surveying the damage, and quickly turning on fans and opening doors and windows she walked out shaking her head in total bewilderment of all damage. Everything in the kitchen was covered with tiny bits and pieces of egg and the rest of the house was grey, dingy and smoke damaged. 

We just finished repainting and washing everything in the house, including clothing, curtains and bedclothes. The house smells clean again, and it probably will be a long time before Grannie Annie boils eggs! 


(Bob also helped write the Old Ford Escort article. I could not have written that without his help!)


Note from Ann:

As far as multitasking, I think doing one thing at a time is in my future. I have suffered from many jokes such as neighbor Larry, asking, “Did you use the paint, Eggshell White?” And Bob describing the mishap to friends as “egg-splosions” and “hen-grenades.” Makes me smile. He did not say too much, he just smiled and said “stuff happens,” as he grabbed a paint brush. It took us three days to paint – and he was still smiling!

My formula for cleaning smoke damaged walls, appliances, dishes and everything smoke damaged: 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 household ammonia and 1/3 water in a spray bottle. Cuts the grease and smoke immediately. As for my Vision Glass pot — I soaked it for three days in this solution in a small plastic tub, plus I added gold Palmolive dish soap and filled the tub with hot water. I let it set for three days and scrubbed off the residue with Bon Ami and a non-scratch scrubber. Came right off! I am so grateful my favorite pot was not damaged at all. I cook only in Glass Vision Wear. I do not have to worry about aluminum or that terrible Teflon. I also cook and fry and bake in cast iron. 

As we march on in the wonderful sun-heat and skeeters, we wish you all a very happy summer.


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The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at Fireweed Herb Garden and Gifts in Kenai and M & M Market in Nikiski.


This is my favorite all-time rhubarb cake recipe

1/2 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb

1/2 cup walnuts chopped

Cream butter, sugar and egg.  Add extract. Stir soda into sour cream and add.  Slowly mix in flour and fold in rhubarb and nuts.

Spread into a well oiled 9 x 13 baking dish. (I sometimes divide this into two buttered 8 x 8 foil pans and share one or freeze.) 


1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon soft butter

1/2 cup oatmeal (optional)

Sprinkle over cake. Bake at 350° for 35 to 45 min. Test to see if middle is done. Refrigerate leftovers. 



A few tips about cooking and preparing rhubarb. Use only glass or stainless steel or plastic. Stir with a wooden spoon or plastic mixing spatula. Rhubarb is very acidic; avoid using aluminum or any other metal containers. Remember that rhubarb leaves are poisonous! The leaves are sometimes used in tanning hides and cleaning aluminum or other metals. Can you imagine what rhubarb leaves would do to your tummy?



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