Sometimes we stumble across traditions that are so charming they are meant to be shared with others. Those associated with the floating post office on Lake Winnipesaukee are among them. The Motor Vessel (M/V) Sophie C. is the oldest floating post office in the United States and she has provided summer mail service to islands in the lake since 1892. The mail is delivered daily, but the ship also carries ice cream and other treats for children on the islands to purchase. The ship sounds her horn when approaching a mail drop and the children, young and old, gather on the pier and wait for the boat to dock. Once mail bags have been exchanged, they swarm onto the Sophie and pick their treat for the day. The children traditionally thank the mailcrew with a diving exhibition as the ship pulls away from their island. The islands are quite diverse. Some house million dollar estates, while others, like that owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club, provide residents with very modest shelters, an outhouse and kerosene lanterns. The property, named long before the Pennsylvania nuclear plant was built, is called Three Mile Island. The name was not changed following the partial meltdown that occurred at the plant. Oversight? Intentional irony? Who knows?
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This simple pudding cake is a delight to make and eat. It comes from Gourmet magazine and has been designated a favorite of the magazine's editorial staff. The cake requires no special equipment and can be made in about 15 minutes. It consists of a simple batter that is covered with quickly stewed and sweetened blueberries. The berries sink as the cake bakes and the end result is an old-fashioned pudding cake that is delightful when served warm with a scoop of really good ice cream. This is a great cake for young or novice cooks to make. Here's the recipe.
Blueberry Pudding Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Gourmet magazine
1/3 cup + 1/2 cup sugar, divided use
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
10 oz. blueberries (2 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla
1) Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
2) Stir together 1/3 cup sugar with water, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan, then stir in blueberries. Bring to a simmer, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
4) Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then add flour mixture, whisking until just combined.
5) Spoon batter into baking pan, spreading evenly, then pour blueberry mixture evenly over batter (berries will sink). Bake until a knife inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.
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