Uncle Virg's Custom Roasting Sticks

Yesterday was a good day - one of those days that just lingers by nonchalantly, not dramatic or extreme, just quietly sweet and pleasant...
Sunny skies in Portland
Keturah's sugar cookies in the oven
Engaging guest for dinner
Exciting box from the mailman...

Within that box and its many layers of cardboard, masking tape, duct tape and padding were the White's Custom Roasting Sticks we'd ordered, our names imprinted in the coffee-colored birch!
Katie B.
(and maybe a few gifts for some unsuspecting roasting-loving friends).

You see last week in Kansas, during our Thanksgiving visit, we quite wisely decided to invest in the
beauties which are handcrafted by my very own Uncle Virg White (pictured below). He is surely a food artist if I've ever seen one. 

The exciting delivery from the mailman

And maybe I shouldn't be making unsolicited plugs for my families' handicrafts, but what with the holiday gifting season, and what with the birch's photographic tendency, and what with my adoration of all things family and food-related.... it just makes sense.

Patiently awaiting their leather loop
Each roasting stick gets a pin in the map... One more for Portland (or Santa Fe)

Our family has the tradition of big bonfires surrounded by stick-wielding hungry folks, asking for the flames to do their job on the meal. Virg began making his roasting sticks simply for these occasions, but word got out about their quality and voila... White's Custom Roasting Sticks! 

Like I said... sunny, glistening skies in Portland. 
You can order yours here - custom made of course. Enjoy! 


  1. Katie, I found your blog today, googling for help on what to do about my shoofly pies' bottom crusts that crack during baking and leak disastrously. What lovely pies I spied here! How did that happen--no-leak pies?

    I'll come by again and see if you've any wisdom to offer. I'll lounge around, too, and read more . . .

  2. Hi Shirley, Thanks for swinging by! Glad you liked the looks of things!
    On the leakage problem... Try adding an egg yolk to your pastry dough at the same time you add the water. The yolk helps with binding. Also, when you process the butter (or whatever fat you use) into your flour, bring the texture all the way to sand, rather than leaving the butter in pea sizes. This way holes are less likely to form as the fat melts in the oven.
    That said, I think shoofly pies are tricky on the leaking front and does not, in my opinion, reflect the skill of the baker. That syrup just seems to shove its way through, which if you ask me is quite rude. :)
    Let me know how it goes and Good Luck!

  3. Hmm. I do an oil crust, super easy and super flaky. I'll try adding a little yolk. Just don't want the crust ending up a flaming yellow. I'll report back.

    Now I must get to browsing . . .

  4. Good morning Shirley!
    Sounds like you've found a tasty crust... I love when that happens. I just mix my yolk in with the cold water I'm adding. (you could also try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar) I've never ended up with a yellow color but I do use butter which lends itself to gold so you may find a slight color change but nothing un-tasty looking I think. :) Let me know how it goes!
    Thanks for your comments!

  5. Oh dear! Baking, today, I substituted egg yolk for the some of the water and produced my worst shoofly disaster to date (including the time I held a pie up high, straight out of the oven, in a glass pan, to check the crust bottom, and lost my grip, which resulted in some of the molasses-y glop dumping out onto the stove burner. Still, it was supremely delicious--all I could do was laugh about it and scarf some down). I wonder if I should just brush the yolk over the raw crust (one frozen good and hard ahead of time to forestall the susceptibility to cracking), before pouring in the molasses mixture.

    Because my oven is on the blink, I've been baking bread, pies, cakes in a heavy pot on top of the stove. You can see photos on my daughter's blog (http://mamasminutia.blogspot.com/2011/10/dichotomies.html), if you're interested. I'd be happy for more tips!

  6. Woah!! So sorry to hear about your shoofly pie disaster! More leakage? Gross crust? Your molasses glop dumping story is a gem... I hope you have photos of that! I think brushing the yolk on the crust is worth a try. I've also read of people brushing it on soon after they take it out of the oven from blind baking... though I've never actually tried this and so can't vouch for its worth.

    Love love love your musings on stovetop baking... I see visions of an innovative cookbook in your future!

    My latest tip... Leaf lard! I just started using this - half butter, half lard and it is totally glorious. The best crust I've made. That and doing a semi-puff method where you make a normal crust but then roll it out like you would a puff pastry... Yowza!

  7. Hi Katie. After some online sleuthing I tried again--the day before Christmas--and came up with a most spectacular no-leak pie. My first good one in years, maybe! I'd amply coated the crust with beaten egg and allowed for four minutes of prebaking. (Maybe I could've skipped that part?) So! Whew!

  8. Yay!!! I'll most definitely employ this technique for my next venture! I thought of you recently when I read again about the egg wash. I think allowing the extra time after the egg is a good call. Thanks for the updates!!

  9. Another stunner pie today. Hallelujah and pass the whipped cream.

    (Still no word on Elizabeth Y? I'll come by later--maybe you'll have dug up something.)

  10. Hi Shirley,
    I'm testing shoofly pies again today... Yesterday was a big day of leakage. Blah!!! I thought of you and your solution immediately!
    I'm going with the egg and short prebake... we'll see what happens.
    Hey would you have any interest in testing this recipe once it's at a later stage?

    1. I just found your note, Katie. Sure, just get your recipe to me.

      I'm happy I got to meet you last week. Jennifer wants me to send her a link to your blog, so here goes--

    2. Hi Shirley, It was great to meet you too! What a great conference.

      I'll email you the recipe... I hope you like it!