It’s Saturday night. I’m writing this column while simultaneously boiling Easter eggs and baking traditional Polish Easter babkas. Babka is made with copious numbers of eggs beaten into a yeast dough, along with milk, sugar, vanilla, raisins and the grated peels of an orange and lemon. Since age 22 I’ve baked bread for my family. After college I lived in San Diego where family consisted of older cousins related through my mother. None of these cousins knew how to make grandma’s traditional holiday foods, so the task fell to me, the youngest.
Home in Montauk many years later I’m still baking. On Cape Cod, my sister’s doing the same. We use our mother’s recipes from grandma who came from Poland around 1911.
When mom died 29 years ago I inherited the secret recipes. The recipe for babka has two versions. The long version is detailed. She notes, “Vicky, I use half the number of eggs and it still comes out good.” I’ve graduated to the short version. Brown with age, dog-eared, splattered (not nearly so splattered as the long version), my mother’s own recipe card simply lists ingredients, amounts, oven temperature and says, “bake 35 to 40 minutes.” I started at 5:30 a.m. While I was downtown toiling at the office the yeast dough raised all day in a towel-covered bowl.
As you read this column the babkas will be history.
Eight ravens show up for breakfast each day at precisely 6 a.m. That’s about 20 minutes after I’ve filled the feral cats’ bowls. Out the window I see them lined up on the branches of the willow tree. The birds stick to a precisely timed schedule, returning at 6 p.m. Am I imagining it, or these birds awfully fat? And yes, I did see the PBS program which said ravens are smart and recognize human faces.
All natural creatures have schedules, including me. Please make your submissions by Sunday. I submit the column Monday, 9 a.m. sharp. Okay, more like 10 a.m. Then, like cheese, the column is processed and I can’t make changes. I’m just saying.
Here’s a natural phenomena scheduled just for you. The Concerned Citizens of Montauk on Saturday, April 6, at 10 a.m. will present a Seaweed Mounting Demonstration.
The delicate, artistic mounting of seaweed is an art form requiring practice and patience, and it’s rare to have an opportunity to see it done. Dr. Larry B. Liddle, professor emeritus at Southampton College has devoted years to studying, collecting, and mounting specimens. In this program, you’ll learn the science of seaweeds while seeing how Dr. Liddle creates elegant works of art. The CCOM Office is located at 6 S. Elmwood Avenue.
The seal hike season resumes Saturday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for guided seal hikes at Montauk Point. Reservations are required which you can make by calling 668-5000. The cost to participate is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 18.
A reminder for parents of tots: An open house at Montauk Child Care Center at Montauk Playhouse is also scheduled for Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to noon.
While at the playhouse, check out the schedule for April activities, which you can pull up at www.ehamptonny.gov. Here’s a sampling: adults, Integral Yoga, $5 per class, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; pre-k exploration/free play, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, also $5 per session. There’s lots more for the whole family and you can phone 668-1612 for more information.
Last I heard, tickets were available for the Montauk in Manhattan cocktail party, at Toby’s Public House in Manhattan, Wednesday, April 10 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Purchase tickets, $100 per person, at www.montaukplayhouse.org or by phone at 668-1124.
Hamptons’ Restaurant Week is Sunday to Sunday, April 7 to 14. All participating restaurants offer a three-course prix fixe for $19.95 and/or $27.95 all night, except Saturday when the special is available only until 7 p.m. Participating Montauk restaurants are East by Northeast, Gulf Coast Kitchen at the Montauk Yacht Club and Gurney’s Sea Grille Restaurant.
Children’s librarian Miss Korpi at Montauk Library this week offers “Amazing April” for children in grades three through six on Wednesday, April 10, from 5 to 5:45 p.m. Make crafts and listen to cool information read by Miss Korpi, who would be happy to send you reminders if you register for her programs.
Word reached me of two dean’s list Montauk scholars. Taylor Harned has been named to the dean’s list of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the fall 2012 semester. To qualify, she had to complete at least four courses with a grade point average of 3.75. Taylor is majoring in biology.
Taylor Montemarano has been named to the dean’s list at Quinnipiac University for the fall 2012 semester. To qualify she earned a grade point average of at least 3.5.
Kick off the spring season with St. Therese Nursery School’s Spring Fling at East By Northeast, Friday, April 5, at 8 p.m. This is a fundraiser for which I’ve heard raffle donations are still being gratefully accepted.