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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

Good to Just Sit Sometimes, and Be

September 8, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was relaxing at the kitchen table, a bit worn out from a day of wandering around Pancake Fest. Sure enough, it's that time of year again when, every weekend for the rest of the month and into October, you'll have a rough time driving from here to there as nearly every small town in the state has some kind of festival planned. You'll find Cheese Curd Fest and Taco Days, OktoberFest, Cheese Fest, BratFest and PickleFest. (Let me know when they get a Raspberry Bismarck Fest going and I'm there.) There's grape stomping and corn mazes, art fairs and hay rides, farmer's markets and quilt shows — enough to make you crazy if you don't keep things in perspective.

So my good friend Angela Grey from the Twin Cities drove up, a woman I worked with for a few years at the Holsum Bakery quite a few years back and have remained friends since. One of those few dear friends. She came to celebrate my birthday, which was last week, and brought me one lottery ticket for each year I've been alive. We spent the day walking around Pancake Fest, sampling buckwheat pancakes and buttermilk pancakes and jalapeno pancakes. And then the syrups — blueberry and pecan and rum-butter and cinnamon-raisin. You name it. We ate cheese curds and mini donuts, too, and looked at art and tried on feathery earrings and took each other's photo in front of the big rock by the town hall.

By the time the parade got going at 3:00 p.m. we were tired so we sat down on the wood steps in front of the veterinarian clinic with a perfect view of the parade route. A man in a pancake costume came and stood next to use for a bit while he had a cigarette. "What kind of pancake are you?" Angela asked him. "Well, actually, I'm a crepe," he replied. "Oh, I see it now," she said. Angela is a theatre professor and a people person.

We watched the parade of Boy Scout floats and septic system trucks and ponies and fire engines and men dressed like women dancing on hay wagons and old, old cars, and Angela turned to me and said, "I like this parade, and I like being here. Happy Birthday." Just then the man dressed as a crepe walked by. He was selling plastic cups of beer. "This one's on me," he said, and handed it to Angela. We sat there awhile, taking turns sipping beer and scratching the numbers off lottery tickets. Clouds passed by overhead, and we alternated between shivering and feeling a bit too warm when the sun came out. "I wonder where we'll be a year from now on this day," she said. I wonder, I said.

It's good to wonder. Good to be with a friend on a partly sunny day in September. Good to just sit sometimes, and be.

If you're like me, you've got fish in the freezer, and it's time to have some friends over for an evening feed. Try these recipes from my own dad, who knows.

Fried or Grilled Halibut

Cut halibut into chunks about an inch square or so.

Dip chunks in the following batter:

3/4 c. Bisquick
1/3 c. beer (use cheap beer)
1 T oil
2 T grated onion
2 egg whites, beaten stiff
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Fry in 375 degree oil until it's brown and floats. (You probably want to take this one outside unless you plan on washing all the curtains.)

The next best way to prepare halibut is to grill it. Skin the filet and cut off the mud line. Use foil (that new release kind works just great). Spray with a bit of oil, and salt, pepper and paprika the filet. Baste with melted butter, and grill about four minutes on each side until the halibut flakes nicely. Try a basting sauce for added flavor. Something citrusy is nice.

Mmm. Enjoy.

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