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Reminisces: On Autumn

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Fall is my favorite time of year. I actually consider Autumn the start of a new year because it is usually the beginning of a new academic year and also for a new performance season for me.

This Fall I am once again producing an Autumnal Salon in New York City with the multi-talented musician Kyoko Kitamura on October 11th. The day after the show I will fly down South and embark on my first storytelling tour. So as my next door neighbor here in Brooklyn said to me when she asked about my goings on "You are busier than a one-armed wall paper hanger with an itchy behind!"

I wanted you to know that is why my blog entries have fallen a bit behind. But inspiration/plagarism hit from an old school chum, Pam Collins, who posted a picture of an early Fall scene over my old Kentucky home. Specifically this is a view from her Grandmother's farm in Henshaw, Kentucky. Pam informed me her grandmother is about to celebrate her 102nd birthday soon. Well, this picture inspired my cousin-in-law (and Jr. prom date!) Dava Steward, to write a comment that I want to share with you. Dava's writing also made me think of a recipe from my Mamaw, Daphne Dempsey, who used to make this yummy goodness around Halloween that I want to share with you. Really, try this recipe. It is a pain in the butt to make, and you'll probably burn yourself, but you should make it.

Enjoy! Happy Fall!

Here is Dava's musings.

The sweetness of candy corn. The mornings where you leave in a sweater and turn the heat on your car to go to work, then turn the AC in the afternoon. Pumpkin pie with a huge dollop of whipped cream. Cinnamon brooms and fresh apple cake with your Grandma's cinnamon glaze recipe. NFL football on Sunday afternoons and yelling at the TV. Hair that cooperates because of the low humidity. Crunching leaves on the sidewalk on Sunday morning while walking to church. Hot cocoa, steaming scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast on chilly Saturday mornings. Watching the hummingbirds leave the feeders for the last time. Ducks in formation in the bluest of skies. Jet streams that can't decide which way to go. River boats loaded with grain heading down river. Dew on the vehicle windows and the sound of school bus brakes squealing to a stop on early mornings. Stealing cornstalks out of a farmers field to decorate your porch. Coats of fur getting thicker on the cats. Carving pumpkins on newspaper and never getting the mouth quite right. Grass that no longer needs mowing. Watching children cautiously making their way into the Halloween aisle at Walmart. Fleece throws waiting for you on the back of the couch. Grain trucks lined up at the grain company and the continual low roar of the fans in the silos. The monster mash. Caterpillars on the sidewalks. Mums blooming in all their glorious color lined up in rows at the nursery. Falling leaves. Jackets and sweaters that waited months in your closet to come out. Spiders sneakily making their way inside to find a warm place to bed. Stadium blankets and pop corn balls. by Dava Steward

Mamaw's Popcorn Balls

-I cup sugar

-1/2 cup Sorghum Molasses (nothing but SORGHUM Molasses will do! Trust me.)

-1/2 stick butter (and some softened to coat your hands with)

-1/3 cup water

-3/4 Teaspoon salt

-3/4 Teaspoon vanilla

- 6 Quarts of popped popcorn (about 3 bags if you use the microwave kind) that you have carefully removed all unpopped kernels. Nothing like a broken tooth to ruin a party.

-Wax paper

Begin by laying out a few sheets of wax paper on your counters and/or table so when it comes time to lay the finished product out you are ready to go.

Pop your popcorn and remove all unpopped kernels and put it in a BIG heat resistant bowl.

Put everything but the popcorn and vanilla into a heavy saucepan. Put on medium to medium high heat and stir til it gets to a soft ball stage. This will take aprox. 4- 8 minutes. Here is a link if you do not know about the soft ball test. test. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqfoMeqH4s4\

After you reach the soft ball stage remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Then carefully pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir in with a long spoon. CAREFUL that syrup is HOT!

Once the popcorn is good and coated coat your clean hands with butter. Please be aware that syrup may still be a little hot so carefully form the mixture into baseball size balls and lay out to cool on the wax paper. You will probably need to re-butter your hands a few times during the process.

Let the popcorn balls cool on the wax paper. Mamaw and Momma would individually wrap each ball in plastic wrap and tie with orange or black curling ribbon. The "special" trick or treaters would be the recepient of these delicious treats.

For more info on my New York City Salon and my tour dates down South go to:

http://www.marklambdance.org/

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