It’s up to you Kats to fill up the Al­ley

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - KELLY BRANT

Recipes that ap­pear in Idea Al­ley have not been tested by the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette.

I’ve heard from many Kats the past few weeks re­gard­ing Idea Al­ley’s fre­quent ab­sences. Sev­eral read­ers ex­pressed sad­ness, oth­ers were frus­trated. Dear Kats, I un­der­stand how you feel. I don’t want to see it die, but that’s not in my con­trol. It’s in yours.

Idea Al­ley is and al­ways has been a reader participation col­umn. When read­ers par­tic­i­pate by shar­ing recipes, ask­ing cook­ing ques­tions and re­quest­ing lost recipes the col­umn flour­ishes. But when the recipe con­tri­bu­tions are few and far be­tween and the re­quests are for im­pos­si­ble-to-get restaurant recipes, there’s noth­ing to pub­lish in this space.

One of the things that makes this col­umn — and the recipes in it — spe­cial is that it is per­sonal. There are ba­jil­lion recipes out there in cook­books, on the in­ter­net, in mag­a­zines. You can find a recipe for prac­ti­cally any­thing on the in­ter­net. But you can’t nec­es­sar­ily trust those recipes. I trust Idea Al­ley recipes. Most of the recipes that Al­ley Kats share have been made again and again and again. They’re fam­ily fa­vorites; heir­looms even. I can be sure a salad from a com­mu­nity church cook­book in Lepanto is go­ing to please friends at­tend­ing the potluck. And when a Kat tells me she has been mak­ing a pie for 40 years, I know the recipe is de­pend­able be­fore I ever step foot in the kitchen. I can’t say the same for the recipes I find on the in­ter­net. They’re hit or miss. Most of them miss.

One of my fa­vorite things about writ­ing this col­umn is hear­ing the sto­ries be­hind the recipes — whether it’s where and how the Kat got the recipe or the mem­o­ries as­so­ci­ated with it.

Kats love new recipes too. A recipe from Face­book or some other web­site that turns out well or one clipped from a mag­a­zine, or one that is the re­sult of play­ing around in the kitchen. If you liked it, chances are some­one else will too.

Blue­berry sea­son is still go­ing and this cake from Nancy Fogle­man sounds like one you don’t want to miss.

“I got [this recipe] from Ernest Craw­ford Jr. It was a fa­vorite of his to pre­pare for our Methodist potluck din­ners. It is the first recipe I make as soon as fresh blue­ber­ries ap­pear in the gro­cery store each summer,” Fogle­man writes.

Fresh Blue­berry Cake

3 eggs

½ cup oil

8 ounces cream cheese,

soft­ened

1 box Dun­can Hines but­ter

golden cake mix

1 small pack­age in­stant

vanilla pud­ding

1 dry pint fresh blue­ber­ries,

rinsed and drained

Heat oven to 325 de­grees. Beat eggs un­til light and fluffy and add oil. Add cream cheese and mix un­til smooth. Add cake mix and vanilla pud­ding and mix. It will be stiff. Fold in blue­ber­ries.

Place mix­ture in pre­pared Bundt pan. Bake 1 hour. Cool 15 min­utes be­fore turn­ing out.

Next week: Cab­bage Burger Bake.

RE­QUESTS

■ Smoth­ered pork chops like those served at Franke’s for an uniden­ti­fied reader.

■ Western chicken and corn­meal dumplings for Pat Hines. Send recipe con­tri­bu­tions, re­quests and culi­nary ques­tions to Kelly Brant, Idea Al­ley, Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Lit­tle Rock, Ark. 72203; email:

kbrant@arkansason­line.com Please in­clude a day­time phone num­ber.

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