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Oh, to be a chicken now

Oh, to be a chicken now Oh, to be a chicken now

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to purchasing ordinary, every day staples. If the sought after item is even available for purchase, prices range from exasperating to exorbitant.

First, the nation experienced the toilet paper craze and now eggs have been added to the madness. The egg shortage is attributed to stress baking and hoarding, because of the virus panic.

Exactly how much are people baking? Most recipes call for two or three eggs at most, unless you’re baking a homemade angel food cake, which calls for one dozen egg whites. There is little tastier than an angel food cake made from scratch, but my issue is how to use the 12 remaining egg yolks. They’re extremely dry scrambled and even I can’t eat an entire carton of yolks at one sitting.

In different areas, prices vary for these coveted gems. One grocery store in Des Moines, Iowa, was reported as charging $5 for one dozen eggs. (Hearing this, I kind of wished I could lay eggs.) Park Falls checked in at $4.44, for an 18-count carton. Other sites put Madison at $2.03 per dozen; Milwaukee at $2.29; and Lake Hallie Walmart ringing up at $1.46, when I last checked. There wasn’t a single egg to be found at that price, though there were roughly seven dozen cartons boasting organic for $3.68.

The elevated pricing and shortages of some commodities, reminded me of the Great Depression, which began Oct. 29, 1929, with a major stock market crash referred to as “Black Tuesday,” sparking a worldwide economic depression.

I love to bake, so I thought it would be a fun challenge to see what recipes I could unearth that don’t include the scarce poultry gold. I found several variations of Depression cake.

The recipe I tried, calls for 2 c. sugar, 3 c. flour, 5 heaping Tbsp. cocoa, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 10 Tbsp. oil, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2 Tbsp. white vinegar and 2 c. cold water. Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine ingredients and pour into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

My daughter, Hannah, made it. It was simple to make and delicious. Instead of frosting, we just put a dollop of Cool Whip on our individual piece, but it’s equally as tasty served plain.

Another eggless cake recipe I came across was Poor Man’s Cake With Raisins And Spices. Those ingredients are: 1 1/2 c. raisins, 1 c. cold water, 1/2 c. cold water, 1/4 c. shortening, 1 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. Allspice, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 2 Tbsp. hot water and 2 c. sifted flour.

In a heavy saucepan, bring raisins and 1 c. water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking 10 minutes longer. Cream shortening and sugar. Stir in cooked raisins, 1/2 c. water, cinnamon, nutmeg, Allspice, salt and baking soda dissolved in hot water. Pour batter into greased and floured 9x13x2-inch pan. Bake at 350º F for 25 minutes.

Veering away from the dessert track for a moment, I found a recipe for Easy Soft Dinner Rolls. They contain no eggs or milk, and I’m eager to try them. They are a little more time consuming and labor-intensive, as the rolls require kneading and rising time. I came across a recipe for eggless chewy chocolate chips cookies, as well as many other dairy-free dessert recipes.

After researching alternatives, there are also a variety of substitutes that may be used in place of eggs. Unsweetened applesauce is one of the most commonly mentioned; 1/4 cup replaces one egg in most recipes. Unsweetened is recommended, but if using sweetened applesauce, be sure to decrease the sugar ingredient. Mashed banana is another popular option, but cautions your product may hint of mild banana flavor.

If you’re feeling adventuresome, 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin or avocado replaces one egg, and reportedly will not affect the flavor in any way. Ground flaxseed or chia seeds work well for more heavy and dense baked goods, such as breads or muffins, mixing 1 Tbsp. of ground seeds with 3 Tbsp. of water, until fully absorbed and thickened.

Mixing 1 tsp. baking soda with 1 Tbsp. of vinegar equals one egg, and is the preferred method for products that should be light and airy. I’m pleased knowing there are other items that will suffice if the hens decide to go on strike. Until that occurs, I’ll definitely continue to use the real thing. Happy baking!