Saturday, September 27, 2008

Buckwheat light

Lest you think I ignored or neglected a big part of my heritage, here is my post about the 67th Annual Preston County Buckwheat Festival wrapping up in Kingwood.

We almost didn't go this year -- things have been kind of up in the air since my mom's surgery. So we didn't enter any food or arts and crafts exhibits. We didn't see a parade. We didn't walk through the livestock exhibits. We didn't have family and friends over for our traditional buckwheat-cakes-and-sausage feed on the Sunday before the festival. My husband said he felt like it was too early this year but it always starts the last Thursday in September.

Here, in photos, are the highlights of our festival traditions and some of the new things we did this year. May we be better prepared for next year's festival.

We watched a lumberjack contest ...

... let Bella ride the carousel (for which we paid $3 -- yow) ...

... bought a chance on a handmade muzzleloader from a craftsman I wrote about, got some lollipops and candied nuts, bought my mom a wall hanging in the commercial arts and crafts displays ...

An interesting anecdote about these teddy bear suckers: They got their maker on "Late Night With David Letterman". I can't remember when but she had made a "ramp" version of the hardtack candy filler she pours in the teddy bear molds. Ramps are stinky wild leeks that grow in these parts in springtime.

Then we came home to a dinner of buckwheat cakes and sausage.

To make them, dissolve yeast in warm water and add salt. Then you stir in enough buckwheat flour to make a stiff batter. It looks like wallpaper paste or putty or something, kinda gray or beige. (Appetizing, no?) You let it sit overnight, covered but not refrigerated. In the morning (or the next night for dinner) you stir in sugar (always more than the recipe on the bag calls for so they'll brown right) and baking soda and more water -- enough till you get the consistency you want. That's the basic recipe but some people use buttermilk and cold coffee and I-don't-want-to-know-what. Then you save a cup of the batter (or whatever's left after you've baked all the cakes you want) as starter for the next batch and just add flour to it, let it sit and repeat everything. That's what makes them sourdough. Ever made friendship bread where you get starter from somebody and add stuff and it sits and ferments? Same idea.

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