Monday, November 11, 2013

Prairie Primer: Plum Creek: Vanity Party

The chapters "Town Party" and "Country Party" from On the Banks of Plum Creek provide perfect opportunities to discuss the issues of vanity, revenge, and "heaping coals upon your enemy's head." 

Laura and Mary were invited by Nellie Olsen to her party in the town. Nellie was vain and rude toward Laura, and Laura devised a wicked plan in her heart to get even with her.   

Laura gets her chance when she and Mary invite Nellie and other friends to their house by the creek for a party.  The girls were playing in the creek when Laura tricked Nellie into running toward the muddy water where Laura knew leeches would cling to her legs.  Sure enough, Nellie ran screaming, and Laura was left rolling in the grass from laughing so hard.  

Later, Ma served vanity cakes to the girls, and they asked why they were called vanity cakes.  Ma explained: it is because they are puffed up and empty on the inside.  

So we attempted to make our own vanity cakes and had our own party. 

We whipped up an egg and a pinch of salt:

Added flour:

Added more flour and kept whipping until we could whip no more:

Meanwhile, we melted lard in a pot until it was hot:

Oh, and we set the table with our best table cloth and china:

Then when the oil was hot, we carefully dropped in spoonfuls of dough and cooked until brown:

OK, ours did not turn out as well, but that is because we could not determine the temperature of the oil, and frankly it was not hot enough.

Next, sprinkle with powdered sugar - I said SPRINKLE!

And eat!

And don't forget to serve homemade lemonade, too!

By the way, this recipe is similar to the one my Italian family makes called Zeppole.  It is cooked and served the same way.  We ate them hot with honey and powdered sugar, too.

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