Back to School

Visiting my granddaughter, a sophomore at Hobart William Smith in Geneva, NY, was great fun not counting getting to and from which required multiple forms of transportation—missing only travel by Conestoga wagon.  I started at 8 AM, (bus to Newark Airport, plane to Rochester, rental car to Geneva), and pulled into my lodgings, a place that made the Bates Motel look good, after 4 PM. Was it worth the effort?—100 percent.

We toured the lovely campus awash in green lawns and flowers ahead of the snow which will undoubtedly arrive in October. There were meals at several restaurants, one clearly a place for college kids only when taken there by someone else. Winds often whip smartly in from Seneca Lake but on Saturday all was calm and very warm. My student was occupado with masses of work so I spent the afternoon revisiting Seneca Falls, home of the first Women’s Rights Convention in July, 1848.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s home is right on the lake. A woman Park Service Ranger waved me inside the modest house where Stanton raised her seven children, (all of whom had malaria and survived, something of a rarity in those days.) The only original materials left are the family piano and wallpaper in one room. The simple, airy house takes about a half hour to view.

Stanton and two of her brood

The National Women’s Hall of Fame was closed because new members (Sonia Sotomayor, Jane Fonda, Angela Davis and others) were being inducted at a ceremony elsewhere but tickets to this event were sold out. I had an unremarkable lunch, wandered through a shop of women-made goods and visited the Museum of Waterways and Industry housed in the Visitors Center. In early days, Seneca Falls was known for pump manufacturing along with building fire engines

Justice Sotomayor

After “brunch” with the student and a friend at the student dining center Sunday, it was time to get back in my adorable red Ford Fusion and start the return trip home. By then I’d mastered most of the car’s fancy electronics including how to dim the bright lights, helpfully explained by the Parks Department guide at the Stanton House. Glad I went; glad to return home.

Penn Yan, a town near Geneva, is the buckwheat capital of the U.S. So….

Buckwheat Crepes

Buckwheat Crepes

1¼ cups buckwheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
½ stick butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 cup water

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, melted butter, milk, and water. Batter will be much more runny than pancake batter.

Heat 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet to medium-high. Apply a light coating of butter and ladle or pour about a quarter cup of batter into hot pan. Pour in an expanding circular pattern, then tilt pan to spread batter even more, so crepe is as thin as possible. Don’t worry, once browned they don’t tear easily. If pan is too hot or too cool and batter doesn’t start cooking immediately without burning, adjust heat accordingly.

After about a minute, use a non-stick spatula to loosen all around the rim of the crepe, then flip, using spatula and/or fingers. (It may take one or two sacrificial crepes, but you’ll get a rhythm. As the second side lightly browns (usually about another minute), slide crepe onto a plate.

Either serve immediately or stack with waxed paper or plastic wrap between each for heating and serving later. For filling: fresh fruits or jam, cheese and ham, eggs and spinach, Nutella, honey and yogurt, ice cream. I These are almost exactly like crepes served in Brittany—which is easier to get to than Geneva, NY. But minus the delightful granddaughter.

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