Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cobbler, Karma and Unpleasant Odors

I’m not a sweet freak. Oh, I like a good slice of cake or pie from time-to-time and I’d likely walk a mile in 100 degree heat for a bowl of homemade ice cream, but sweets are not the first thing I peruse when looking at a menu. And good heavens!--I do not want sugar in my biscuits, chili, soups or stews. I’m of the mind that sugar is best utilized in sweet tea and desserts.

A few months ago I stopped at a local diner and ordered a good old country, soulful meal of pinto beans, collard greens and cornbread. I took a bite of cornbread and immediately tasted (egads!) sugar! The cook stepped out of the kitchen to talk to a waitress. Unable to control my disappointment, I asked, “How much sugar do you use in your cornbread?” The cook replied, “Not much.” But the fact is, any sugar in cornbread is too much for me. If I want something sweet that’s comparable to a slice of cornbread, I’ll eat a moonpie or an oatmeal cookie and wash it down with an RC Cola!

Now, before I receive a flood of emails or comments chastising me for my distaste of sugar in the aforementioned foods, please understand that these are my taste preferences. To each his/her own. Different strokes for different...oh well, you get my meaning. I’m not going to look at you like you’ve grown a third eye in the middle of your forehead if you like sugar in your cornbread. Nope. Not me. That’s just not my style.

There is, however, another variety of food that I enjoy to the point of braving the summer heat for its natural sweet goodness: Berries! Yes, all varieties of fresh berries. I’m like a honey badger going after larvae in a beehive when it comes to berries! And so, last week, when my good friend, David Collins, sent an email to me asking if I’d like to pick blackberries at his home, I borrowed a bucket from Susan and drove to see my friend in record time. In fact, I was in such a hurry that I didn’t dress appropriately for berry picking. Trust me folks, shorts, sandals and a short sleeve t-shirt are not blackberry picking attire...but that’s okay. I learned more that day than the fact that blue jeans and boots will repel thorns and chiggers better than shorts and sandals. I learned that it’s okay to eat two blackberries to three picked when in the company of a good friend. Sure, it makes for slow blackberry picking, but I enjoyed talking to David. The heat, thorns, chiggers, the threat of stepping on a snake are things I didn't think about.

What I did think about were those succulent blackberries and the fact that I’m fortunate to have a friend who’s willing to share.

Okay, I’ll likely take a little heat for this, but I’m going to fess up and admit that I botched a cobbler recipe recently. I was going to share the recipe here today, but doing so would be detrimental to my reputation as a cook. I consider this cobbler snafu bad karma for my brashness at publicly denouncing my cooking sensei’s use of self-rising flour in her squash fritter recipe. Why? Because, dabburnit, I was supposed to use self-rising flour in the cobbler recipe! What goes around comes around or some such... Payback’s a...well, you know...

Are there any followers of this blog willing to share a tried and true cobbler recipe? If so, please post your recipe in the comments section below or send an email.

I have no recipe today, but I will leave you with a frugal tip: Recently my truck was inundated with a very unpleasant odor, one that offends the olfactory to the point that driving down a country road at 60 miles an hour with the windows down is about the only thing you can do to alleviate the stench (the skunk population in Rockingham County is alive and thriving--minus one).

If this happens to you, or rather, your vehicle, place a dryer sheet (Downy will do but I buy generic) under either the driver or passenger seat. Roll the windows up and park your vehicle in direct sunlight for at least eight hours. The scented sheet will help eradicate the bad odor.

I’ll close with one of my Southern Legitimacy Statements. For some odd reason, I was reminded of this particular SLS during my blackberry picking adventure.

Southern Legitimacy Statement #6

My daddy used to say that if you ever felt lonely, run naked through a patch of weeds. “There ain’t nothing like a family of chiggers to remind you that you’re not alone,” he’d say, with a chuckle. I don’t know whether or not he was speaking from personal experience, but I can tell you one thing: A mason jar of moonshine will make you do foolish things.

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature - April 2011 edition


  1. 1 c milk
    1 c self-rising flour
    1 c sugar
    1/4 c melted butter
    2 c berries

    Mix together the milk, flour, sugar in a deep baking dish. Pour the berries over the batter and drizzle melted butter over the fruit.
    Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until the batter rises over the fruit and becomes golden brown (about 1 hour.)

    1. Thank you, Angie. I'll try your recipe...soon! :)

    2. Curtis, better print it out and have it at your elbow in the kitchen. It's the same recipe I gave you in the first place!

    3. Agreed.

      I should never attempt a recipe from memory. That's just an accident waiting to happen.

      Thank you, sensei. :)

    4. ...lest you get something between a pie crust and cake...a baked doughnut...I've had a-many...never complained.

    5. Very doubtful I'll complain either. :)