Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Dee Bryson
Gazette Columnist 

My Favorite Recipes: Palouse Empire Fair, 2018


September 6, 2018 | View PDF

Hudson Startin

Hudson Startin with her Heifer calf, "June Bug."

The days are still comfortably warm and the nights are getting cooler. School is back in session and the seasons will soon change. With the beginning of the school year and fall quickly approaching, we find ourselves welcoming the county fair. According to washingtonruralheritage. org, the history of the Whitman County fair goes back to at least 1902. In 1903, the first carnival rides appeared at the fair. Many generations of Whitman County residents have participated in this tradition. I asked a few people what their favorite traditions and memories are in regards to the fair.

One resident, Kathy Hayes Schmick, said, "Fair time has always meant seeing those people you never get time to see during the year. Sitting on a bench and having a fair burger. Watching the kids show the animals they have worked with for months, getting prepared for just this moment. Night time at the rodeo with the sounds of the carnival behind you. Touring the display buildings and seeing all the glorious entries, quilts, arts and crafts, baking and canning, beautiful photography and blooms from everyone's gardens. Fair time is truly a celebration and I wouldn't miss it for the world."

Another Whitman County resident, Chelsey Startin, added, "I love fair time. I look forward to it every year and everything it has to offer. When I was young I was envious of the kids that had animals to show, (we lived in town, so didn't have animals) and now I get to enjoy all that through my daughter, who will be showing a bottle calf." Chelsey continues, "We are learning as a family as we go. We have learned that it is a lot of hard work, and we hope that it is showing our little ones some responsibility, but with that responsibility and hard work it can be rewarding as well."

Multiple people mentioned the Steptoe Fireman's burgers, cotton candy and corn dogs with mustard, but the favored treat that was repeated most often was the ever-popular pastry, the elephant ear.

Several mentioned they love elephant ears with fresh jam.

See you out there making good memories and enjoying it.


Elephant Ears

"Crispy cinnamon-sugar fried bread confections!"

Recipe By: LEEMA/Allrecipes.com

1-1/2 cups milk

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. white sugar

3/8 cup shortening

2 Tbsp. active, dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 quart oil for frying

3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

6 Tbsp. white sugar

In small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, salt, two tablespoons sugar and shortening. Heat until shortening melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm, 110 degrees F (43 degrees C.) Sprinkle in yeast and let sit until foamy.

Transfer mixture to large bowl, and stir in flour to make a dough. Knead until smooth, cover and let rise 30 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet or deep fryer, heat one inch of oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)

Roll out one to two inch balls of dough into thin sheets. Fry sheets one to two minutes on a side, until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels.

Combine cinnamon and six tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle over warm pastries. Serve.

Not-So-Secret Berry Jam Recipe

Submitted by Rick Bryson

This recipe is for six pounds of berries. If you have less, you'll need to cook it for less time.

6 pounds of any kind of berries (I like mixing them)

7 pounds white sugar

1 Tbsp. citric acid, granulated (or substitute lemon juice)

7 Tbsp. fruit pectin

Combine pectin and fruit in a large heavy-bottom pan. It will double in size when cooking, so use an appropriate size pan. Cook until boiling. Add citric acid and sugar all at once. Bring to a boil and cook for four minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam, if any, and ladle into hot jars. Process in a boiling bath for 15 minutes, then remove jars on to a towel to cool. Makes approximately nine pints.


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