I've had a long love affair with Walt Disney films, especially the animated ones. I've loved "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty" "Peter Pan" and "Snow White" since I was a child. My son's childhood introduced me to "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King" and "Pocahontas."
There is a scene in "Beauty and the Beast" where the Beast takes Belle into his library, a room with bookshelves from floor to ceiling crammed with books. As Belle sees the books, her face radiates how great a gift he has given her. As a book lover and avid reader, I share her joy. All those books and so little time ...
My mom used to read to me every night before I went to bed when I was young, a tradition I continued with our son, David. At first, Mom read from a volume that had 365 short stories in it -- one for every night. We then moved on to books like "Winnie-the-Pooh," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland."
I read picture books to our son, then we moved onto "Pooh" and the Junie B. Jones series. Unfortunately, Junie B. reminded me too much of David and I often would get laughing too hard to continue reading. We read the first Harry Potter book together and then, all too soon, he was reading books on his own.
My goal this summer is to start rereading some of the great classics I read during high school and college -- and many that I never got around to reading.
I plan to start with Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca," a book from the 1930s that Alfred
And speaking of my mother-in-law, she got one of her favorite recipes from a biography of former first lady Bess Truman.
Bess Truman's Ozark Pudding
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped peeled apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
whipped cream (with a touch of rum, if desired) or vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch pie pan.
Beat the egg and the sugar together until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend well. Fold in the apples, nuts and vanilla.
Pour into the prepared pie pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven; the pudding will fall, but it's supposed to.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
As a salute to Disney, I offer a recipe from a trip to Walt Disney World many years ago.
Disney's French Toast Loaf
Served at the Main Street Bakery.
Yield: 7 slices
12 slices white bread (homemade, day-old)
8 ounces butter (chilled and sliced)
9 ounces light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 ounces heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix the brown sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Keep separate.
Mix the cream, eggs, vanilla and remaining cinnamon together to make a batter.
Liberally spray a loaf pan with vegetable spray. Layer three slices day-old bread on bottom of pan. Sprinkle 1/3 brown sugar mixture on top of bread, then layer 1/3 of the butter. Repeat these steps two more times. Top off with three more slices of bread (should have a total of 12 slices of bread). Press down with hand to compact bread into loaf pan.
Slowly pour 2 cups of batter over top of loaf, covering completely. This may take a little time, to allow it to fully absorb into bread and flow into spaces at bottom. (Take your time here and pour into corners. Lift bread at corners a little to get into bottom quicker if you want.).
Place loaf pan on some paper towels in case of overflow. Cover top of loaf with parchment paper and wrap top tightly with aluminum foil. Place in refrigerator and allow to sit overnight.
Heat oven to 325º F. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until internal temperature in center of loaf is 160 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Place a plate on top of loaf pan and invert to remove from pan. Cut into 7 slices and serve.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to email@example.com.