Getting together with friends and family is a wonderful way to spend a weekend, but preparing to leave can get hectic.
When I was a child, our entire family was preparing to drive to Attica, Ind., for a weekend-long family reunion. My parent, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and several pets were packing up to leave; it was crazy to say the least.
When my father found one of the neighbor's six kittens my sister packed in her suitcase, (She was determined it was going with us!) which meant the luggage had to be checked about 30 minutes before we left for the other five kittens.
In the middle of all the chaos, my grandmother was cooking like a demon. The aroma of chicken-and-noodles, cakes, pies and other goodies filled her house.
Once packaged for travel, the food was taken to the vehicles and our mini caravan left.
About 15 minutes into our trip, my grandfather, who was driving the last car, passed my father. We watched in shock as the car drove by with a box of my grandmother's cakes, still warm from the oven, sitting on top!
Without cell phones, we watched the box for about five miles as my father frantically blew the car horn to get Papo Lashbrook's attention. It was amazing to see it stay on top of the car as Papo changed lanes and made turns, but it went airborne at the Bellmore stoplight.
Funny thing, my grandparents didn't know what was happening and continued driving.
"Well, that's not something you see very often," my father said, interrupting the stunned silence as we pulled up to the stoplight. "I knew they were good, but never expected them to fly like that."
I think we laughed all the way to Attica.
My father teased my Grandma Iva for years about her "flying hotcakes."
Now this isn't a cake recipe, but these large tangy meatballs will sure fly off the plate like hotcakes.
Mix together one and a quarter pounds of ground smoked ham, one pound each of ground pork and lean ground beef together in a large bowl with one cup of buttermilk, one teaspoon each of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and garlic powder, two eggs and one and a half cups of graham cracker crumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill before forming into large balls about two- to three-inches in diameter. (You can roll the meatballs in breadcrumbs for a crunchier crust.)
Place in a foil-lined, baking dish that has been lightly coated in non-stick spray. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes. Turn once and bake for another 20 minutes.
In a separate medium bowl, combine one 10.75-ounce can of tomato soup, one eighth cup each of cider vinegar and red wine, one cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar and one teaspoon each of honey and mustard powder.
Whisk ingredients well and pour over the meatballs, return the meatballs to the oven for another 15 minutes.
If you are in a lazy mood, use bottled barbeque or teriyaki sauce to cover the meatballs.
For an added treat, form the meatballs around half-inch cheddar (I like Swiss or use your own personal favorite) cheese cubes. NOTE: If you do this, according to how hot your oven gets, cut 5-10 minutes off each baking time except the last one.
This recipe freezes well, so make some extra for future guests.