His Uncle Ordered Popovers, I Made My Own (And so can you!)

Several years ago my family went up to Chicago where my dad was having his annual Computer Science teacher’s conference. There are so many, many, jokes that can be made about this annual gathering but I shall restrain myself. The campus where this particular conference was being held also happened to be a campus where “Dr. Seuss” , the most commonly recognized pen name for children’s philosophist Theodor Seuss Geisel, gave the following commencement speech titled “My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers”:

“My uncle ordered popovers
from the restaurant’s bill of fare.
And, when they were served,
he regarded them with a penetrating stare.
Then he spoke great words of wisdom
as he sat there on that chair:
“To eat these things,” said my uncle,
“You must exercise great care.
You may swallow down what’s solid,
but you must spit out the air!”
And as you partake of the world’s bill of fare,
that’s darned good advice to follow.
Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.
And be careful what you swallow.” 

Until I had read this speech/poem I had never heard of popovers. I’d only been living in the “Western World” for about 2 or 3 years at that point and all my western culture had come from either my mother or video taped segments of television my grandpa had lovingly made for me. At home we ate mostly rice or noodles unless my mom had one of her “orang putih” (directly translated as “white person”) fits and needed herself a proper sandwich, in which case we got bread.

At first I asked my dad what a popover was. He said it must be something edible and left it at that until he found me something to look at online. I was fascinated.

Green Eggs and Ham – By Dr. Seuss

Now I’ve heard of people making green eggs and ham for there kids and I applaud them for all the work but this recipe is SO much easier and a lot better tasting (not to mention I don’t eat pork so the whole ham thing is out for me). This recipe comes originally from the “Joy of Cooking” which is excellent Gastrotica for anyone looking for a good culinary manual.

Popovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter (melted)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Grease and flour a muffin tin (or a popover tin if you happen to have one)
  3. Whisk all ingredients together until blended. (I told you it was easy)
  4. Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 F and continue baking for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve hot.

Note: Just change the temp on your oven. Do not open the oven or remove the popovers during this process.

Because popovers turn out either extremely light and fluffy or hollow on the inside (I’ve had them turn out both ways with this same recipe) there are so many different things you can eat them with. The favorite with most people is to go sweet with some butter and jam but I prefer a good mustard and thinly sliced cheddar cheese. Cream cheese is also good but sometimes they’re just fine with a little melted butter. If you’re having guests over and you don’t have a lot else being served you should be aware that these go fast and you might want to consider making a double recipe.

One spring break in college, when the rest of my family got to go to the same conference in Tennessee, I practically lived off of these. I was attending two different universities at the time and so I didn’t get a spring break. I needed something I could make fairly easily and still make my bus in the morning.

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