Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cobbler and Aunt Grace

I’ve had my Aunt Grace on my mind lately. She passed away a few years ago, living a good, full, long life. Aunt Grace was one of eleven siblings (including my father) who grew up on a tobacco farm during The Great Depression. Being frugal was never a choice for a lot of people at that time. Frugality was a necessity. You simply had to make ends meet. You had to stretch your food dollars, rely on gardening and canning vegetables and, quite often, hunt or fish for your next meal; if you didn’t do these things, you would go hungry.

I’m ashamed to say that I don’t think I paused long enough to savor the times I spent at Aunt Grace’s table. I visited Aunt Grace nearly every weekend during the 60s and 70s. As a young boy, I suppose I didn’t think that a time would come when I would not dine at Aunt Grace’s table, which makes the memories of her and her kitchen all the more special to me.

I recall a snowy day spent squirrel hunting with my dad and uncles Bill and Herbert. I enjoyed such outings, especially when I became old enough to carry and use a gun of my own. What started out as a great adventure in my young eager mind quickly became a cold and wet miserable ordeal by the end of the day. Having no luck at finding game, the four of us retraced our steps back to Aunt Grace’s kitchen. We were famished when we sat down at the supper table, nigh starving in fact. Aunt Grace didn’t disappoint in delivering a fine frugal meal that warmed us from the inside out. We gorged ourselves on crackling cornbread, pinto beans, creases with a side of bacon. For dessert, we had peach cobbler, fresh from the oven, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream added on top. Aunt Grace knew that I enjoyed watching that ice cream melt into the cobbler.

If time travel were possible, sitting down to a wonderful meal prepared by Aunt Grace would be high on my to do list and I’d savor every moment and every morsel of food.

Okay, I’ve bitten the bullet. I listened to my sensei and bought self-rising flour. Life is about learning and this ole dawg has learned to make a decent cherry cobbler. I’ve been told to follow the cuppa, cuppa, cuppa rule when making cobbler, which translates to 1 cup of self-rising flour, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk. I followed the cuppa rule, but added ½ teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon into the mix.

Here’s the recipe I used for the cobbler in the picture. 

Cherry Cobbler

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of self rising flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of milk
1 stick butter
1 can cherries

Directions:
Place stick of butter into a casserole dish or pan. Put the butter and casserole dish into a 325 degree heated oven. While the butter is melting, thoroughly mix the first four ingredients. Add milk, continue stirring.

After the butter has melted, pour mixture into the casserole dish. Spread cherries on top and bake for about an hour or until the cobbler is a golden brown.

Grace Departing

When it’s time for me to go,
I want to exit
like Aunt Grace
who,
being the oldest,
raised eleven siblings
after her mother died of pneumonia.
She breathed her last breath
one evening
sitting in a recliner
surrounded by loved ones,
watching a favorite TV program.
Her final words:
"No, I’m not ready for bed;
I feel so good,
I think I’ll sit here a little while longer."

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature - October 2010 edition


18 comments:

  1. one of my favorite poems of yours, cousin!

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    1. Thank you, cousin sensei. I'm rather fond of your poems too. :)

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    2. the cobbler wasn't bad either :)

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    3. I did get a thumbs-up from you and Papa liked it...which is akin to winning an award. :)

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  2. makes me wish I had known Aunt Grace, also.....

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    1. You would've adored her Terri. She was one of a kind...such a caring and giving soul.

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  3. Looks like you've perfected the cobbler. Nice reflections on Aunt Grace.

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    1. Thank you for dropping by, Melissa.

      And thank you for your kind words. :)

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    2. I just figured out HOW to drop by, or I would've long ago. Ain't got no tech savvy... My moments of true contentment are few these days (sadly). The Frugal Poet, like NPR's Fresh Air, gives me pause to relax and feel all warm and fuzzy :-)

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    3. Ah, now that's one of the kindest things I've heard about our efforts here at Frugal Poet.

      There wouldn't be a Frugal Poet without Susan, who has taught me that being frugal doesn't mean I have to go hungry. ;-)

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  4. A nice tribute to your Aunt Grace. May we all slip through the curtain so easily!

    But not until we've had our fill of cobbler.

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    1. Thank you, Dave.

      I've always thought that Aunt Grace's transition to a better place was painless because of her giving, caring nature.

      My dad parted in a similar manner. My poem, Transition, is about his departure.

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  5. Outstanding! Thanks for sharing such a warm story, beautiful cobbler, and fantastic poem. Aunt Grace sounds like a true gem of a woman aptly bearing one of my very favorite names. Seems like you've come by your generosity and kindness honestly. Now, this one is my new favorite Frugal post...until next week. :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Angie.

      Aunt Grace was one of a kind. We should all depart in the manner in which she left. :)

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  6. Aunt Grace sounds like a woman full of grace. And I will try the Cobbler recipe. What happens if one pits and uses real cherries instead? Any different instructions?

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    1. To be honest, Cousin Penny, I've never used real cherries. In fact, the cobbler in the picture was my second attempt at making a cobbler.

      I'm working on my first book of haiku. I'll make certain you get a copy. :)

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  7. Cherries!!! MMMMM GOOD! You make your cobbler upside down from the way Mom did... we had a peach tree and she always put the fruit in the bottom. I guess peaches were juicier than cherries.

    Funny, The day we rushed John to the hospital, that morning he had said he felt so good... like he was ten years old!

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    1. I wish you were here to sample the cobbler, Merrill. I'll likely do a peach cobbler next time.

      I've heard several stories of people feeling great prior to departing this world. Here's a poem I wrote about my dad's passing:

      Transition

      Daddy's not there,
      that's just his body
      lying on that hospital bed,
      a vessel he vacated.
      He's gone to be with
      his mother, told me
      that she called to him
      at night when he drifted
      between this world and sleep.
      He told me that he
      floats above his bed
      like a feather down
      when she calls but,
      when he's awakened
      by a nurse, he drops
      back onto the bed.
      "It's the best feeling in the world!",
      he said of this floating...
      Last night he answered his mother,
      sifted right through those white sheets,
      floated up through the ceiling,
      left his fragile, spent, body
      behind.

      Magnapoets - Butterfly Away Anthology Spring 2011

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