Sporks and wedding planning

Thursday, August 1, 2019
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Cooking in the West

We are very excited to have a wedding coming up in October when our son is getting married. The only problem with the wedding planning is that Bret has always been very frugal. His frugality is threatening to put a damper on the wedding planning. His eye for the bottom line started long ago--probably when he chose cattle ranching as a profession. Once when we were shopping at Costco, he picked a bag of shrimp out of the cart and said, “Mom, with these calf prices, are you sure we can afford shrimp?” This year in yet another year of low calf prices, he is extremely vigilant about the bottom line on the wedding preparations.

In fact, at our last wedding planning session, we brainstormed ideas for controlling the bottom line. Perhaps the best idea we came up with was sporks. At your more upscale fast food restaurants, they offer sporks. Often the sporks come with a napkin, salt and pepper, and a little wipe. What could be more delightful, practical, and frugal for your wedding guests than their very own spork packet? Perhaps we could even get them personalized? In fact, Amazon has 528 options for sporks, most of which are eco-friendly, compostable, and cheap. However, if you are a friend who will see us between now and then, please pick up a few extra spork packets--we will be needing a couple hundred of them, so grab a handful--preferably white not black.

Technology has had an impact on the traditional craziness of wedding planning. Most weddings show signs of Pinterest overload, and many of those ideas are touted as cheap and easy. My experience is that is not necessarily true. I love Pinterest personally. It gives me great ideas for things such as a pastel checkerboard trial run groom’s cake. Three hours into the project, I was ready to throw the pastel cake and the computer in the garbage and go special order a cake. My pastel checkerboard cake took 5 hours (not counting kitchen clean-up), looked nothing like the picture, and tasted no better than frosted cardboard.

Several years back when my niece got married in Colorado, I experienced my introduction to Pinterest. The wedding was beautiful, but we barely survived Pinterest. For quite some time before the wedding, the bride began getting ideas off Pinterest and pinning them. There were amazing ideas from tea light garlands made of Mason jars to do-it-yourself cupcake liners. She pinned hundreds of ideas, and I had an inkling that we were going to rue the day she had discovered Pinterest.

When I arrived in Colorado a few days before the wedding, their house looked like a Pinterest warehouse. They had taken old pictures, spray painted them with chalkboard spray, and made signs for everything from parking to signs for the flower girls to carry. They had completed dozens of Pinterest ideas, but I was to find out there were many more to be completed. Did you know that you can make fondant for cakes with microwaved marshmallows? Me neither, but I spent most of one day making bags and bags of it. We froze water in balloons, we tied flowers on everything, we tied bows on everything, and we even folded the paper napkins into tuxedo folds that housed the silverware. We dangled Christmas tree lights from every tree in the park in Eckley, Colorado. We had a photo booth. We were Pinterestized!

In fact, we were so Pinterestized that we almost forgot how much time it would take to provide food for 300 people. We were lighting the candles in the beautifully decorated Kerr jars all down the aisle as the bride was coming up the aisle. We were so busy keeping the tuxedo pleated napkins from blowing away with the silverware that we forgot to put out the 300 bottles of bubbles that we had carefully tied sachets around. The water-filled balloons never made it out of the freezer we stuck them in. We needed a wedding planner just to keep track of all of the Pinterest ideas that were supposed to have been executed flawlessly. The wedding was fairytale beautiful despite the fact that we forgot the bubbles and the balloons and a bunch of other really cool Pinterest things.

Until now, I have kept my knowledge and experience of making wedding cake fondant and checkerboard layers a secret. Then I found an on-line cake decorating course that just happened to be discounted by 66%. So for a paltry fee and with at least two months to learn cake decorating online, I have volunteered to make the wedding cake. I am pretty sure the happy couple realizes I am joking about these money saving ideas such as a DYI cake and personalized spork packets, but just in case, I am going to start stocking up on confectioner’s sugar and picking up a few extra spork packets at KFC!

I have recipes this week from Deb Murphy from the Bair Ranch at Martinsdale, Montana. Deb sent a great rhubarb recipe, so I hope you froze some rhubarb! Thanks, Deb! I also have another sourdough recipe from a Missouri subscriber, Wayne Shaver. Thanks, Wayne! Just in case you are called upon to make a wedding cake, I have included the recipe for marshmallow fondant--courtesy of Pinterest.com!

Deb’s Rhubarb Cake

1/2 C. butter, softened

1 1/2 C. sugar

1/2 t. salt

1 egg, room temperature

1 C. sour cream with 1 T. fresh lemon juice

2 C. flour plus 1 T.

3 C. rhubarb

Cream butter and sugar. Add salt and egg. Add alternately sour cream and flour. Stir in rhubarb. Combine ingredients listed below and sprinkle on for the topping:

1/3 C. white sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/3 C. brown sugar

Bake in a greased 9 X 13 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Wayne’s Sourdough Hot Cakes

1 C. starter

1/4 C. dry skim milk

2 t. salt

2 T. sugar

1/3 C. melted shortening

2 eggs

1 t. soda dissolved in a small amount of water

Mix well and cook on a hot griddle.

Marshmallow Fondant

8 oz. miniature marshmallows

1 lb. powdered sugar

2 T. water

food coloring and extracts as desired

Microwave marshmallows with the water until they are puffy about 1 minute. Stir with a spatula until smooth. Add food coloring and extracts if desired. Stir in powdered sugar. When you cannot stir it any more, pour mixture onto a powdered sugar dusted counter and knead like bread dough, adding more powdered sugar until it is incorporated and smooth and not sticky (and or your arms falls off from fatigue). You can then roll out the fondant and use it to cover cakes or make cut-outs to decorate cakes.