Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

It’s tempting to write about the Democratic extravaganza or McCain’s choice for vice president (“Good golly, Miss Molly,” I thought, “he’s picked the Flying Nun!”), but I’ve about had it with politics on the national level.

Elmer Fudd should be able to walk away with the Democratic election after eight years of Bush, but never overestimate the American public. We deserve what we get.

Best quote came from a commentator on Friday morning, the day after Obama’s speech and just after the Sarah Palin announcement: “Yesterday was Thanksgiving for Obama, but today was CHRISTmas!”

Anyway, this column is NOT about the elections, it’s about Hokey Pokey, which is what it’s all about according to the song (“You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out …”). I did not know that Hokey Pokey was also the name of a kind of sea foam/honeycomb candy, until I heard about it on “The Splendid Table” and couldn’t wait to try it.

Hokey Pokey is a great candy to make with kids because it’s simple, dramatic and also prone to disaster.

In a saucepan, thoroughly stir together four tablespoons of dark Karo syrup and half a cup of sugar, put it on a medium burner and let it cook, unstirred, for about five minutes. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in one and a half teaspoons of baking soda. The mixture will foam up and must be immediately spooned out onto a sheet of parchment paper.

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Let it cool, then break it apart by putting a knife point into it and hitting the end of the handle. Delicious.

The hardest part of making Hokey Pokey is resisting the overpowering impulse to stir it as it heats, especially since it’s important to avoid burning. I found that the compromise of three gentle stirs during the cooking does no harm.

Pre-measure the baking soda and have it at hand for the final moment. Make sure the mixture is bubbling during the cooking and use your nose to detect burning. I have an electric stove, so I have to lift the pot off the burner if it seems too hot.

Undercooked, the puffy result will soon flatten on the parchment paper and turn to stone; overcooked, it will look perfect but will have a burned aftertaste. Just right, it’s an excellent honeycomb.

Eat it straight or melt Hershey bars or chips and coat the pieces of Hokey Pokey in chocolate.

A word about parchment paper. This is available in grocery stores in the aluminum foil/Saran wrap section. If you don’t have it on hand, you should ” lining a cookie sheet with it makes cookies better; line cake pans with it and the layers won’t stick. If you buy a roll for Hokey Pokey you’ll find a lot of other uses for it.

For the very best Hokey Pokey, use Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of Karo. I had seen these gold and green tins with a lion logo, but couldn’t find it when I wanted it for Hokey Pokey ” had to go on the Internet and the shipping cost was a shock.

Turn off the news about the hurricane that wasn’t and the Republican convention that was aborted and have a Hokey Pokey party. That’s what it’s all about.

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