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Susan Shinn Turner column: Peach cobbler

My grandmother only gave her daughter-in-law — my mother — one recipe.

Nana, it seemed, did not cook much. And to be honest, I don’t think she had any desire to bond with my mother over food.

So Mother got only one recipe: Peach Cobbler. Cup of sugar, cup of Bisquick, half-stick of butter, one egg. Mix together, pour over canned peaches. Bake at 350 until browned, about 45 minutes.

I cannot tell you how many times my mother has made peach cobbler over the years. She made it plenty of times for Sunday dinner. She often made it for a co-worker’s husband. She made one every time somebody at church died. We had so many deaths there for awhile that I got to calling it Death Cobbler.

One day, I came home from high school and helped myself to a bowlful, only to discover — you guessed it — Death Cobbler. Boy, was I in trouble.

Since it’s really not that hard to make, I’ve made peach cobbler many times over the years, too. Just the other night, I made it for Matt, my pastor’s middle child. He’s a sophomore at State and comes to dinner at least once a semester. I served it warm with Breyers French Vanilla ice cream. He ate every bite, and took the last serving with him in a Cool Whip container.

Last time I was home, I made the cobbler for a dear friend’s dad. Jack’s appetite is not so good these days, but he’s always loved our peach cobbler. I figured it was worth a try.

I put together the cobbler over at Mother’s, as I had a story assignment that afternoon, and she agreed to cook it for me.

Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times either of us has made this dessert, but I could feel my mother inching closer as I put together the crust. We’ve had this long-standing discussion about the butter. I usually melt it, then mix it with the egg and the dry ingredients. Mother prefers to “cut it in.” She says it makes the crust browner.

The closer she got, the more I realized I would not be melting the butter. Finally, she nudged her little petite self over — essentially muscling me out of the way.

Then she completely took over, cutting in pats of butter, then kneading it with the pastry cutter. Finally, she was satisfied with the crust and let me spread it over the top of the shiny peaches waiting in the 8×8 dish. Into the oven it went.

The crust may have been browner — who really knows? Like I would admit that.

Carefully extracting it from the oven and nestling it in a carrier, I gently placed the warm cobbler in my car and drove to Jack’s. He ate a small, yellow Correlle bowlful right then, and another the next day. His older daughter told me he ate every bite.

Funny how one little recipe can go such a long way.

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