Pioneer Potluck: Rescuing Frack and calling 911

In my other life a long, long time ago (1970s and ealy 80s), I rescued a little kitty from a couple of jerks setting at a bar that my friend was running in Kenai. I took that little kitty home and fed him baby formula with an eye dropper. He thrived and became a fat little fur ball.

 

Susan and her family lived in Kenai at the time and her boys wanted a little kitty so they adopted him. They named him Romeo. Porter was transferred to Fairbanks and they moved all of their belongings plus a doggie and a kitty. It was a tearful goodbye and for the next 14 years they lived in Fairbanks.

A few months after they had arrived and settled in Fairbanks, and I had met Bob — my life has NOT been the same since — for the good!

Susan called me one day and said, “Hey Mom, guess what – Romeo is a Juliet!”

And she added that Romeo was going to have kitties. Later, she called and asked if Bob would like two black kitties for his birthday. Of course I said yes!

We already had a golden retriever puppy so two little kitties would really make Bob happy, the animal lover. Thus began our amazing home for kitties through the years. Bob named the two little black kitties Frick and Frack. Turned out Frick and Frack were female. Turned out that their first litter was a big one! Still do not know who the daddy was but we suspect it was our neighbor’s big black cat that we called Melvin. He eventually adopted us too.

Between the two cats, they had kitties born all in ONE day. We had 17 baby kitties and the two mommas, plus Melvin. Now you do that math – it still boggles my mind and we never knew whose little babies were whose, as the moms, Frick and Frack, lay in a circle and all those little kitty critters were snug in the circle.

As they grew a little older our Penny dog helped keep them in control. I advertised at the post office to give away to GOOD homes some cute kitties. We had no trouble giving those little guys away. We kept two! So that made four kitties at our house, plus Melvin. And Penny-dog. At that time we still lived in a little one bedroom cabin …

We moved into our new unfinished house along with Penny, Frick, Frack and the two kittens, plus Melvin who visited when ever he pleased.

In our not completely built house, Bob had made a makeshift kitchen cupboard to hold the sink so I could have a place to wash dishes. It was a piece of plywood with a hole for the sink in it. We had installed a propane stove and an old propane refrigerator. I had a work place made of four milk crates with a piece of plywood balanced on top. We were set, no complaints. He also installed a nice large florescent light fixture in the ceiling. It was fitted into the attic and also unfinished.

Frack the black cat was a climber. She climbed everywhere. Frick the other black cat just watched. Counting kitty noses one afternoon we came up with one short — Frack.

We called, we looked inside, we went outside, we looked under things in the house, and when I went into the kitchen, Bob looked up and he said, “Here kitty, kitty” — and from the ceiling light area we heard “meow, meow.”

Bob grabbed two milk crates (what else?) stepped up and pushed the large two light florescent fixtures over and out peeked Frack. She would not come close enough for him to grab and would not jump down. So Bob put one foot on the plywood sink holder and reached up and grabbed the missing cat. As he handed me the cat, the plywood gave way and he went crashing down onto the makeshift four crate work place that was holding, my always-on-the-cupboard, metal recipe card holder. His shoulder hit the cupboard, his back and ribs hit the metal card holder corner and he crashed onto the floor, on his back.

I was in such shock, looking down at him with terrible pain on his face, I shouted at him (bent over with my elbows out like a big turkey, blowing out a bunch of wind), “911-911.” No response, so I screamed “911-911!” Then on the third shout of “911-911,” he screamed at me “SHUT UP! Give me your hand and pull me out of here!”

It was then I realized I did not have a phone in my hand and I was completely useless screaming 911. He was badly hurt with a big V-shaped gash in his back, and his shoulder hurt him for weeks. I wanted to call the paramedics and he told me I was crazy. He was going to be OK and then he looked at me and we both started laughing. We laugh and laugh to this day — and every once in a while, when someone has a little bitty accident, we will yell at each other 911-911!

We still have kitties, and right now we have five, four males and one female. She will be 24 years old in July — the ruling Grandmamma of the four males. They love her and give her kitty kisses and licks. The males are all fixed. The names Bob gave them: Bootzee, the grandmamma; Mr. Big and Mr. Little, whom I thought was a female until the vet told me otherwise, they are 15 years old; two black cats with white bibs, and dots on their noses, Sam and Beau are 17 years old. Very healthy and keep me in step when I wake up in the morning with the demands of milk and yogurt.

The Pioneer Potluck series is written by 50-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her mother, a self-taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day. Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci.net.

CLAM FRITTERS

Mix together the following:

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs well beaten

1 cup fine breadcrumbs or fine crashed saltine crackers

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoons pepper

2 cups minced clams-juice and all

Mix ingredients together, and fold in:

2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Oil for frying

Drop batter by tablespoons full into hot oil, frying on one side and turning once.

Serve with tartar sauce or ketchup mixed with horseradish.

GRANNIE ANNIE’S EASTER BREAD PUDDING

Add a can of apple pie filling. I hope everyone has a happy Easter.

1 1/2 large loaves of white day old bread slightly dry cubed in 1 inch cubes

2 cans evaporated milk

2 cups regular milk

1 cup packed brown sugar

4 eggs slightly beat into the milk and sugar

1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl that you can pour out of, mix milk, eggs, salt, sugar, spices and vanilla. Stir until well mixed into the milk. Place cubed bread and greased or buttered lasagna pan. It needs to be deep and large. Sprinkle with raisins (and nuts).

Gradually pour milk mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 to 6 hours and preferably overnight. Uncover and sprinkle with to tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Put in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for at least one hour in may be 1 1/2 hours until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cover bread pudding after one hour to continue baking serve with the following sauce.

Lemon hard sauce

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon of salt

A pinch of nutmeg bag

2 cups of boiling water

4 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add water and cook stirring constantly until thickened and clear. Add butter and lemon juice and blend thoroughly after taking off the heat. Serve warm over bread pudding.

Note: My Mom made wonderful bread pudding out of homemade bread, of course. We always poured thick cream over ours and a spoon of sugar on top. It was always good hot, but it certainly was very good cold.

Another note: Try frying leftover sliced bread pudding in a small amount of butter for breakfast. Serve with maple syrup or the hard sauce. Get fancy and top with whipped cream.

HAMBURGER STROGANOFF

I wish I could count the times I have used this recipe when the kids were little in Colorado and while they were growing up in Alaska. I used moose burger. Never gets old. It’s always good.

1 pound lean hamburger or if you’re lucky enough to have moose burger

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms or a can of sliced mushrooms-drain

1 medium onion chopped

1 stalk celery finely chopped

2 tablespoons of flour

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules – optional-

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup sour cream, or buttermilk or plain yogurt or 1 can mushroom soup.

2 teaspoons parsley

8 ounces of cooked noodles or screwdooles or mashed potatoes

Cook beef or moose until done. Drain if necessary. Add mushrooms, onions and celery. Stir in flour, bouillon, salt, mustard, pepper and 1 cup of water. You may have to add a small amount of additional water. Cook until thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in sour cream or buttermilk or one can of mushroom soup (add 1/2 can milk if using soup) bring back to hot temperature but DO NOT BOIL! Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes. My kids loved this on nice potatoes.

To expand this recipe I use both the sour cream and the mushroom soup, ¼ cup milk and mixed into the meat mixture. Good with corn or green beans.

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