Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Pooh Cook Book, by Virginia H. Ellison; Popovers for Piglet

When I was a very little girl, I loved the library more than almost anything else. I fought to get my library card (I could read early, but didn't bother to learn to write my name until forced), and remember churning through the downstairs collection. One day, I checked out The Pooh Cook Book, by Virginia H. Ellison.

Oh. OH! I loved this book. I loved it so much...I forgot to return it. More than once. I think I must have paid to have it replaced at least three times. I remember finding one lost copy shoved deep down in the couch months later. Finally, my mother bouht me my own copy. I loved it. Even the foreword pulls me in:
The Pooh Cook Book is particularly useful for special occasions, real or invented, and meant to make what might be an ordinary day into a festive one -- almost as good as a birthday or a holiday. A small amount of imagination can turn the simplest dish into a party dish to celebrate the first day of school or the last, losing a first tooth, a rainy day in summer, the first snow of winter, or the first snowdrop or crocus or violet of spring.

All the recipes have been tested more than once. Most of them are simpler to do if you have a sister or a brother or a friend who can measure out ingredients; butter muffin tins and cookie sheets; help lick spoons and bowls; be a tester and taster of samples of everything.
Every recipe is somehow related to Winnie the Pooh (usually through a prodigious use of honey), and has a quote and illustration from Winnie-The-Pooh or The House at Pooh Corner. It's just a charming book.

I don't remember making many recipes from it, but I do remember making one recipe, over and over.
Popovers for Piglet

(Preheat oven to 425°F)
(Yield: 8-12 popovers)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon melted butter or margarine
2 large eggs

Grease the muffin tins.

Sift the flour and salt together.

Add the milk, honey, and melted butter, and stir to blend.

Beat in the eggs.

Fill each muffin tin just under half full.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until sides are rigid and the top and sides of the popovers are brown.

Do not open the oven for 25 minutes to peek or the popovers will fall and not rise again.

If you like popovers dry inside, slit each with a sharp knife and bake 5 minutes longer.

Serve with honey butter or plain butter.

"I wish Pooh were here. It's so much more friendly with two."
-- Winnie-the-Pooh

I've never slit the popovers to dry them out. Never saw the point. And, as it was the 70s in Oregon, I never used butter; we were a margarine kind of people. This recipe has never, ever failed me; not once has a popover failed to pop. When my mom would have one of her friends over from college (so, this would have been 3rd grade for me), the grown ups would make soup (usually a chilled fruit soup), and I'd get to bake the popovers.

...I need to go buy some eggs.


  1. My 4-year-old daughter has shown an interest in cooking, so just yesterday, he bought her the Pooh Cook Book at a used book store. Our first recipe? Popovers for Piglet, of course.

    We didn't peek, but we also didn't cook them long enough. Despite the collapse, they were still tasty and we'll definitely make them again. Cooks Illustrated suggests warming the muffin pan first.

    The other recipe from this book I find very intriguing is the Jelly Omelet.

  2. The Jelly Omelet is delicious... do give it a try!