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Out of the frying Pan--
Into the Kettle
by Maricia Mlynek

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I normally live the old adage, “Out of the frying pan into the fire.” The unfortunate news is that I always seem to drag someone with me. It may be my friends. It may be my co-workers. If my dad is near, it is certain to be him. My sister, Mellody, has seen a bit of time in the fire with me. This summer, my niece, Hannah, and nephew, Michael, spent some time in the old frying pan with their aunt, but the poor person that has spent the most time beside me aflame is my husband, Andy.

One may wonder how it is that I can create such wild dilemmas. I would have to say simply that it is because I am a person with vision. The words of Helen Keller have always been significant to me, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Though I have tried to live with vision, my vision has on occasion been blurred. It is on these occasions that I end up in the fire.

My recent vision has sent me out of the frying pan into the kettle--literally. I call it Operation Kettle Corn. As autumn is upon us, I want to enjoy every aspect of this beautiful season. What does that mean? Well, it means experiencing the following: wood smoke, apple cider, pumpkin pie, mom’s hot chocolate, colorful leaves, hayrides, caramel apples, scarecrows, and kettle corn.

No, not microwave kettle corn. I want the real deal. I want the on-the-fire, wafting aroma, sweet and salty goodness of kettle corn.

The history of this delicacy goes back perhaps several centuries. Depending on the source, kettle corn is dated between the 1700s and 1800s. Some say it was American pioneers of German decent that made “sugar corn” first appear in the U.S. Legend goes that, at the end of a long day of rendering lard from hogs, pioneers would use the lard to pop corn in their large cast iron kettles. They would add whatever confections they had on hand, such as molasses, honey and cane. The corn was then cooked over a wood fire and scooped out by hand.

I just don’t want to see that tradition forgotten. It must continue in our home and in Calhoun County. Unfortunately for Andy, that means he is to become a “kettlemeister.” Therefore, in an effort to continue the style of the frontier-era, Andy and I decided to dive into Operation Kettle Corn. OK, I decided to dive into Operation Kettle Corn. Andy is guilty by association.

Thus, Operation Kettle Corn has begun. This weekend, weather permitting, we will give the old tradition a new start at Heritage Village. Come out on Saturday at noon and try some of this delicacy. If you are an expert “kettlemeister,” we would love to have some suggestions and to learn from you.

Out of the frying pan and into the kettle is becoming very literal for the Mlyneks.


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