Friday, January 04, 2008

I made the Zick Dough.

With the beginnings of a head and chest cold, I went back to work on Wednesday. Evenings are the worst with chills, burning eyes, itching ears, and oh, the cough. Ughhh. I'm wearing a coat as I type this. We’ve had unseasonably cold weather for the past few days – in the low teens with the wind chill.

It’s Friday night and I feel like a sack of you know what but I made Zick Dough! Referring to the poor male scissor-billed White-breasted Nuthatch I talked about on my previous post, there is good news. Around 5pm this evening I saw the gray head – a female mate on the peanuts, as the Science Chimp suspected.

If you have never heard of Zick Dough, Julie is the creator of this feast for birds, especially appreciated by them during the cold months. Many people have posted this recipe but I want to share my experience making it, too. It was quick and very easy to prepare. The dinner I served tonight should have been so easy!

1 cup lard
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup white flour

I doubled the recipe.


Melt the lard and peanut butter on low heat.


Add the dry ingredients and stir. When the stirring makes your hand and wrist ache, put both hands in there and mix it while it’s warm.

I cooled the mixture on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes outside then cut it into squares.

This recipe yields two large zip-loc bags of suet! Serve it crumbled. I tasted it. Not bad! Store it at room temperature.

When my feverish self gets to normal, I’ll let everyone know how much the birds enjoy it. I’ll need to serve it under supervision because the Starlings are acting like militants since the ground is frozen solid.
Now I’m off to find Kleenex and some nighttime meds, which will probably be expired. I hope to be back to normal blogging soon instead of feeling so dull, dimwitted, and damned sickly.


Anonymous said...

Ooooo, I can't wait to see the birds you photograph now! Without a doubt they will be happy!

Ruth said...

Hope you are feeling better soon! I made this dough all last winter, but this year I have been lazy and have bought suet blocks. The Zick dough does go down faster though.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mary I will try this. I was going to find it on Julies blog but now i don't have to. I am just now getting over my terrible congestion.
Last night was bad again. It always hits at night.
take care friend we will all be here so take a break and get better.

Susan Gets Native said...

Well, it's about time. And you did it sick, no less.

Alyssa said...

Take care of yourself, Mary. The recipe sounds simple and I'm sure the birds will love it. I may give it a try and add some things like bird seed and peanuts or maybe some dried fruit. Have you tried that? Just lay around this weekend and watch TV and have the girls and your Hubby wait on you hand and foot. It'll make you feel better in no time! Take care.

Marvin said...

They look good enough to eat to me -- kind of an unhealthy granola bar, as if most granola bars are actually healthy. I'm sure the birds will appreciate your efforts, Mary.

Anonymous said...

I use crunchy peanut butter in mine! :) It is good and the birds love it. Only the bravest ones came out to eat it at my house today!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and feel better!!!

Chrissie said...

That's an interesting recipe, Mary. I have not heard of it before you mentioned it. Can I just ask why it needs sugar? We are advised over here that birds shouldn't have salt and I have always avoided sugar too. Hope you are feeling much better very soon. Spring is on the way :-)

NatureWoman said...

That's so cool, Mary! I can't wait to see your happy bewds!

KGMom said...

Sorry you are not feeling well--winter colds can be miserable. (My husband has had one for a MONTH.)
Frankly the Zick dough looks. . .gross. But I did have to smile at the hand mixing instructions. Some things just have to be mixed by hand, literally.

Peg Silloway said...

Your bird visitors should be doubly grateful - Zick dough made by a sick but dedicated friend. Thanks for the recipe. And please give yourself time to feel better. Make yourself a warm drink (my favorite is half cocoa, half coffee, and a splash of rum) and snuggle down for the weekend.

Annie in Austin said...

The grateful birds will land on your shoulders to make you look like a little blonde St Francis... you really are a saint to bake for your feathered pals when you're so sick.

Does the Science Chimp have a get-well recipe for humans?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mary said...

Hope you feel well soon and happy new year

Jayne said...

Yep, mushing all that together with the hands works infinitely better! Your birds will LOVE it Mary. ;c) Hope you are feeling better soon dearest. (Passing the Posh Puffs)

Carol Michel said...

You tasted it? Really? It looks like some kind of peanut butter fudge treat so you better label it so that others don't try it, too.

Hope the birds are enjoying it and that you are feeling better, too.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Julie Zickefoose said...

Oh, poor Petunia.

Egad, calling this Zick head won't fit through the door jamb, knowing that a lard-based, barely edible concoction carries my name in cyberspace. Confession: I always lick off whatever gets on my fingers while mixing. Ooo. Lard. I guess we were on the same wavelength--I just posted the recipe too.

Having soldiered through our latest Orangutangs gig with a cold (all SIX of us had it!!), I will pass along my recipe for beating it. The second you think, "Oh, crud, I'm getting a cold," start putting a dab of Zicam in each nostril--it's a homeopathic gel with zinc in it. The cold virus replicates in the nasal passages, and this halts that replication. At the same time, start glugging down the Airborne. This is an effervescent tablet full of immune boosters that dissolves in water. Both are available at your friendly giant discount store. Do both these things literally every time it occurs to you, and keep it up for 48 hours after your symptoms subside. And you will have a very mild, 4-day cold instead of a weeks-long marathon of spewing. It works, it works, it works. I sang like a slightly nasal bird on my second day, when I'd normally have had to sit it out. My word verification: mufah!
Good luck, dear, and keep watching those nutties!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Darn it donut! Getting a cold is no fun at all! So hope you were able to snuggle in with hot tea and movies. Yummy Chinese take out is nice when you are "down" with the sniffles. I bet your daughter makes really good chicken noodle soup. Maybe she will bring some over? The little oyster crackers are good too.
You were so kind to make the birds suet. They do love you! So many birds will come for your new menue item you will need to take reservations.
Do feel better very soon.

dguzman said...

I hope the birds enjoy the fruits of your labor. I still can't force myself to buy lard (being a veggie as I am) and melt it down. I do want to try it, though!

Feel better! My word verif was pipybum. Indeed.

TR Ryan said...

You have inspired me to make Zick dough. I've had the recipe but guess I just needed your photographic step-by-step how to to get inspired.

Now, of course, its record-breaking warm so the birds are out and about and not near the feeders.

Kathi said...


I don't think the original Zick dough recipe had sugar in it; at least, I don't put it in mine.

I second the Zicam endorsement, although I can't stand the thick nasal version, and found it in a quick-dissolve, citrus flavored tab this year. I took it as soon as I started feeling a cold coming on, just before Chirstmas, and only had a teensy-weensy 3 day cold instead of my usual 2 week plague. But, you must take it the instant you feel the least bit "icky;" it doesn't work once you are already sick.

Feel better,

~Kathi, who is out of Zick dough and being scolded by a titmouse

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary...Corey's mom here. He just sent me this you think it would be ok to make it with rendered bacon ot ham fat? Hope you are feeling better!