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MEXICAN WON TON
27 August 2006
I went looking on line to see if I could find a recipe for Mexican won ton. It wasn't exactly that I'd lost the recipe, but I wondered if it exists on the Internet. I knew exactly where it was. It's in the Tiny Tots cookbook.
During our years at Tiny Tots nursery school in Oakland, one of the things we did as a fund raiser was to put out a cookbook. But not just any cookbook. This was going to be the Cookbook of Cookbooks because we all decided that we would take all of the recipes that we use most often and submit them, so that after it was published, we would only need one cookbook.
I don't remember if I typed all the recipes or not, but I think I did. The pages were mimeographed and after investigating the binding methods available...and what we could afford...we settled on cutting the pages in half, punching holes in them, and then assembling them with big metal rings.
For the cover, we did some fancy sort of silk screen process that we did ourselves and it seems to me that we--and the school--were covered with paint for weeks.
But when it was all finished, we were very proud of our creation.
We chose the title because it was alliterative ... and then we found someone whose husband was British and she had a great recipe for authentic trifle, so that was the topper.
It definitely was the place where at least Charlotte and I put all of the recipes we wanted to be sure not to lose. For one thing, I made sure to include my father's recipe for a drink called a "Banshee" (Tom owes his existence to this drink), which consists of equal parts of creme de banana, white creme de cacao and half and half, run through a blender with shaved ice until foamy.
We also included a special section for kids' recipes. Now remember, this was a school for kids aged 2-5 and we did not edit their recipes. All three of my children contributed. Jeri, the health nut, gave me her recipe for salad: "Lettuce, tomatoes, salad dressing. Mix it." (Jeri will never have her own program on The Food Network...come to think of it, she continues to make this same dish today.)
Ned contributed his recipe for orange juice: "You pour it in and then you put water in and then you put the top on and then you shake it up and then you drink it."
And, not to be outdone, Paul gave his recipe for sugar cookies: "Take some flour and some sugar and some dough and some more flour and some more sugar and mix it all together and then put it in the oven."
I'm just sorry that Tom was apparently too young to create a recipe. Since he is the family gourmet, it would be fun, today, to see his thoughts on cooking when he was in nursery school.
However, the real reason we made this cookbook was so people would stop asking us for the recipe for Mexican won ton.
The recipe originally appeared in an issue of Sunset magazine sometime during late 1960s or early 70s and we fell in love with it. Char and I made it for just about every gathering that we were supposed to bring a dish to. Char would bring clam dip and I would bring won ton...or I'd bring the won ton and she'd bring the clam dip. It was always a hit and people were always asking us how to make it.
The recipe was really quite simple. So simple, in fact, that when I went to make it today, after not making it for at least 10 years, I didn't even have to look up the recipe:
I checked the internet today to see if you could find this recipe, and it appears not to exist. Not even in the Sunset archives. But, as I said, I didn't really need it.
Why was I making Mexican won ton? Well, at the time you may be reading this, we are off on an event that could be said to have been 40 years in the planning. In 1965 our "group" from the old Newman Center consisted of 5 families and 5 kids. In 1966, there were 10 kids. Ultimately the group reached 22 kids, but we never again doubled our numbers (or produced 5 kids in one year again!)
This is the year when all five kids turn 40. Some (like Jeri) already have turned 40, some won't until later in the year, but we decided to have one big party for all 5 of them. And what better way to turn back the clock than to have Mexican won ton and clam dip?
So I spent this afternoon making Mexican won
ton--and then recording the process on video for posterity, whether posterity wants it or
PHOTO OF THE DAY