Marie’s Occasional Report: Fring Frang and Other Humble Dishes to Satisfy

If you’ve noticed full tummies make happier children, and food is getting more expensive, check out these simple ideas. The meals are suitable for adults or children.

Fring frang, a traditional meal from Southwestern Nova Scotia, is suggested by my friend, Susan:

You grate some potatoes, squeeze out the liquid and starch, and form pancake shapes. Grease a heated pan with butter, and fry the fring frang on both sides until the they become crispy and light brown, and the potatoes are cooked as much as you like. Serve as they are, or with your favourite sauce. Ketchup or applesauce are two ideas. Your fring frang will be similar to the latke I once paid too much money for in Toronto.

Pikelets are a healthy and popular option for lunch or supper. You grate a few cups of whatever vegetables you have, stir them into a pancake-like mixture, and fry them until browned and cooked in the centre. For recipes, I suggest you check healthykids.org.nz, where some versions are called fritters.

You can top your pikelets with whatever your family likes and has in the house. Possibilities include sour cream, yoghurt, ketchup, chutney, or chow. If you don’t want to use sweet toppings, be sure avoid the word pancake. Make lots, because pikelets are handy for snacks the next day, and they freeze well.

Common potatoes easily become another tummy comforting food. When I worked in France as a mother’s helper one summer, the evening meal, served six days a week, was potato soup. The recipe? Put peeled potatoes in a pot with a bit of salt. Cover with water. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Put them, with the cooking liquid, through a sieve or blender to make a thin purée. Serve with bread. I got used to plain potato soup that summer, though a slight bit of carrot or herb added to the recipe on Sundays brightened the day.

If you don’t want soup, you might try boiling potatoes with another vegetable that your family likes. Cabbage and turnip are inexpensive possibilities. Drain and mash all the vegetables. This can be done with a fork if you have no other tool. Add a knob of butter or margarine if you have it. Tip: you may want to keep the vegetable water for soup making.

Good luck with these suggestions. They use local vegetables that are found in our grocery stores and markets. One of these dishes may become a favourite in your family.

*Marie Mossman is a Writer of the Round Table, and author of *A Rebel for Her Time.