The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Facing West, Scrubbing Pans

July 14, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was a bit worried there for a while. A storm blew through Friday night and we lost power around 9 p.m. No power all night, and most of Saturday morning. Just before lunch things got going again, and I let out one big sigh, let me tell you. I thought we were going to have to load all the meat into the car and drive to my parents' home down in Owatonna, and that's not my idea of a fun time in July.

When you've lived your whole life in the Midwest, you know when a storm is coming. The temps reach way up in the low 90s and things get all humid and the winds pick up and pretty soon clouds rise up out of the west and you know you'd best bring in the laundry and the lawn chairs and find the flashlights. You make dinner early and wash the dishes while you watch the storm roll in. There's something mighty comforting about that, about being able to see it all heading your way. I grew up washing dishes at a window facing west and, Lord willing, I'll grow old scrubbing pans with my eyes on the horizon.

When the storm hits, you head for the basement, or make like you're headed there until everyone else is safely downstairs, and then you go to the big window in the living room like I did Friday night and you watch whatever it is in nature that bends trees in half and turns the sky bright green and lights up the night like high noon. You watch—waiting and hoping to see something remarkable, something you or no one has ever seen before, and your family hollers for you from the basement to hurry up and the wind whistles and the trees are all bending now and something flies by the window and you think it might have been a cow, but maybe not, and there are leaves everywhere and you feel not fear but wildness and the power goes out and someone hollers, "Where's the flashlight?"

The storm was brief, and then there was silence. The kids tiptoed up the stairs, all zipped into their raincoats, eating Ritz crackers from the box. "Did you see a tornado?" they asked. Nope, I replied, Just a lot of wind. "I'm going to go check on things," said Mr. Sundberg, and out he went. He was gone awhile, and in the meantime I paid a few bills by candlelight and the kids colored by flashlight and argued about whose camp was going to be the most fun. Mr. Sundberg returned to report a few trees down, "But no major damage so we can all sleep well tonight."

Well, so much for that thought. Nothing like pure silence to keep you wide awake. Throw a humming child, a snoring man, and a freezer full of thawing meat in the mix and you've got yourself a restless night. Which isn't the worst thing. There's something to be said for the entertainment of one's thoughts, and that's how I spent Friday night into Saturday morning. And it wasn't half bad.

Foolproof Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup flour
3 T sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of cherries (pitted)

Stir together all ingredients except the cherries and pour into a Pyrex pie plate.

Pour cherries evenly over the cheese/sour cream layer.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sprinkle sugar on top.

Enjoy!

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