The Great Cobbler Debacle Of 2018 + 12 Fruit-Based Desserts Explained

In the aftermath of the debacle there were questions, reasonable ones.

How could this have happened? What recipe did you use?

I used a recipe I found online from what I thought was from a reliable source.  Fake news, meet fake recipes.  But here’s the thing, I didn’t double-check the recipe, comparing it with other recipes, like a smart person would do.

After the debacle, when I found a wonderful recipe by the Barefoot Contessa, I realized that I had used a recipe with the wrong batter to fruit ratio.

Did you set the oven to the correct temperature?

I did, but after the debacle I checked the oven temperature with a thermometer to confirm that the oven was heating like it should.  It is not.

In fact it’s heating about 25º below where it should be so the cobbler baked at the wrong temperature.  Hence, the cobbler remained a soggy mess even when it’d been in the oven for twice the suggested time.

 How much money did you waste on this debacle?

Oh, the shame.  I hang my head as I tell you that I bought raspberries and blackberries and blueberries for this untested recipe, assuming it’d be a wonderful desert.  But it wasn’t, it never even made it to the table– thus my $12.00 worth of berries were lost.

And from a good friend trying to distract me: what are the differences among the various fruit-based desserts? Do you know?

I didn’t know the answer to her question, so I did some research, which was a good way for me, an egghead, to get over the debacle.  This is what I learned.

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BROWN BETTY – fresh fruit [often apples], spiced, then baked under buttered bread crumbs

BUCKLE – single layer cake that rises up around the fruit that is in the middle, making fruit buckle down, while cake forms circle above it

CLAFOUTI – fresh fruit [often cherries] covered with a flan-like batter and baked, usually in a cast iron skillet

COBBLER – fruit sweetened in a way that creates a thick syrup, with dough plopped on top like individual biscuits that when baked looks like a cobblestone street

CRISP – fresh fruit, spiced with cinnamon [+ other spices sometimes], baked with streusel topping

CRUMBLE – buttery crumbs that include oats with sweetened fruit baked between two layers of crumbs

GRUNT – fruit base with sweetened biscuits or dumplings on top, cooked in covered skillet on the stove top, named for the sound the fruit makes while it cooks

PANDOWDY – a baked pie [usually apple] that has a thick crust on top with slits that allow the juices to bubble up onto the top of the pie, then using a spoon one pushes the crust down as it bakes so that the dessert looks dowdy when taken from the oven

PIE – sweetened and thickened fruit as the filling, baked, usually in a round pan, between lower pastry and top pastry or crumb topping

PING – fruit [usually cherries], covered in a sweet sauce, with spoonfuls of dough that form a crust on top that when tapped makes a hollow pinging sound that indicates it’s finished baking

SHORTCAKE – I’m not going down this road again… click here & read what we discussed earlier this year

SLUMP – fruit base with sweetened biscuits or dumplings on top, cooked in covered skillet on the stove top wherein the topping slumps into the fruit

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Sources of general information + a few specific recipes: Serious Eats, Huffington Post, the spruce Eats, FLOURISH, kitchn, Cook’s Country, COOKS.COM.

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I’ve eaten 9 of the 12 desserts defined above.  I’ve not had Brown Betty, nor have I had Grunt or Slump– which some sources say are the same thing.  🤨

Let Us Talk Lettuce: Roaming For Romaine

Walking into the grocery store, my list in hand, looking for first item on my list, green leaf lettuce.

Am about to grab some green leaf lettuce when I’m approached by young woman, early 20s, cute in a confused but earnest way, who asks me if she can ask me a question.

And so the conversation began…

~ 🥗 ~ 💚 ~ 🥗 ~

HER: I’m supposed to buy my dad some romaine lettuce.

{pause}

ME: Yes…

{pause}

HER: I don’t understand where the romaine lettuce is…

ME: It’s down the way to our–

HER: This isn’t romaine lettuce, is it?

[She has a plastic bag filled with something green and leafy.  She puts the plastic bag directly in front of my face, about 6″ in front of my eyes… because I’m old, I guess, and she wants to make sure that I can see what is in the bag.]

ME: No, that’s Napa cabbage.  It’s not romaine lettuce.

HER: This is CABBAGE?  In the lettuce department?

ME: Yes, it’s leafy and looks sort of like romaine lettuce, but it’s cabbage… and won’t work if you’re looking for lettuce.

{pause}

HER: What does it taste like?

ME: Cabbage.

{pause}

HER: Is that lettuce?  It’s red.

ME: Yes, that’s red leaf lettuce.  It’s lettuce… as is the green leaf lettuce beside it that I’m going to buy.

HER: Lettuce can be RED?

ME: Yes.

{pause}

HER: I don’t understand lettuce.  How do you know which one is which?

ME: There are little tags on the shelves below each kind of lettuce that tell you what it is.

[She takes the opportunity to turn her head sideways and notice the little tags, reading a few of them.]

HER: Huh. That’s helpful.

ME: Yes it is.  Now if you go down the way to our right–

HER: LOOK AT THAT! The tag says Napa cabbage.  That’s what I picked up.

ME: Uh huh.  Down the way, to our right, there are bags of–

HER: What am I going to do with this Napa cabbage that I don’t want?

ME: Put it back. On the shelf. With all the other Napa cabbages.

{pause}

HER: I can do that?

ME: Yes, and down the way, to our right, there are bags of romaine lettuce that have three–

HER: THREE!!! Yes, that’s what my dad said.  Bags of three. Where are they?

ME: Down the way. To our right, where the big sign talks about–

HER: Yes, yes.  I see it.  How did I miss it?  Thanks.

[She scampers off to buy a bag of romaine lettuce, leaving me to finish my sentence, unheard and definitely unheeded.]

ME: — where the big sign talks about the current dangers surrounding consumption of romaine lettuce.

~ The End ~

Orange Sky At Night, Tomatoes Take Fright

A SHORT STORY

One day the Lady of the House carefully planted a few pots of herbs + one pot of small patio tomatoes.  There was joy in the land.

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The sky was blue above, forsooth.

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Cardinals, sitting in trees, shooketh their tail feathers.

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Cute garden tags proclaimed what was in each herb pot.

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However, one evening a magical thunderstorm rolled through the land turning the sky to a weird shade of orange, creating a beautiful unexpected rainbow.  Things had changed.

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At first, the Lady of the House was charmed by the rainbow, until she saw that the storm winds had snapped her tomato plant in two.  She was sad.

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But the Lady of the House, being ever hopeful and raised on fairy tales, put the little green tomatoes in a dish on the kitchen table near a sunny window.

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Where, alas & alack, despite the Lady of the House’s tender care, the little tomatoes remain green and inedible to this day.

THE END

T Is For Turnip, Like Totally

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.02.08 AMJust Fell off the Turnip Truck

…  is an idiom meaning that someone is naive or gullible.  It refers to the idea that someone riding on top of the produce in the back of a flatbed truck is a country bumpkin who will be taken advantage of in the city by the smooth-talking folk.

I’ve never seen a truckload of turnips, which probably comes as no surprise to you.

What will also come as no surprise to you, my gentle readers, is the fact that I’ve got nothing to talk about on the topic of turnips.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I could tell you that I have a t-shirt that has a turnip printed on the front of it with the words “turnip the volume.”  It’s a dumb pun, but the shirt is comfy.

But do you care about that t-shirt?

Probably not.

So instead of pretending I’ve something to say, allow me to suggest that we once again agree that I showed up here, in good faith, and posted something as per the challenge guidelines.

Thus I hereby declare that I have written about the letter “T.”

And the A To Z Challenge continues on Monday…

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{ SOMETHING TO DO FOR FUN }

Here’s a link to a lovely downloadable “fabric swatch” that features, among many vegetables, ye olde turnip.  Very cute.

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S Is For Succotash, So Sayeth I

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.01.38 AMSufferin’ Succotash

… is what Sylvester the Cat says when confronted with yet another dilemma.  Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr., is a Looney Tunes star who almost always fails at what he’s trying to achieve.

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{ Image Source }

But did you know that his famous saying, “sufferin’ succotash,” is an example of a minced oath?

A minced oath is a term that refers to a word or phrase modified from rude, crude &/or blasphemous to a more benign saying that does not offend, but still imparts the same message.

For instance, when you say darn it to heck, that is a minced oath of damn it to hell.  When you say egads [and you do say egads, right?], that is a minced oath of oh god.

And when you say sufferin’ succotash, that is a minced oath of suffering savior, which at one time was vile thing to say.

[… and you doubted the value of a liberal arts education!  How else would I know something this obscure, yet arguably, interesting?  Hmmm?]

• • •

• • •

R Is For Rhubarb, Rightly So

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.01.10 AM“Lady, you know what happens at a sale, when two women get hold of the same dress? THAT’s a Rhubarb!”

~ Rhubarb, a 1951 baseball movie

~ ~  ~ ~

I chose rhubarb as my letter “R” because, beyond knowing that it’s a tart vegetable with great health benefits, I knew there was a cute old movie about baseball and a cat named Rhubarb.

I remember seeing the movie somewhere along the line, and from that movie I knew that rhubarb was a slang term in baseball meaning a disagreement or a fight.

What I did not know when I started researching rhubarb is that the word is sometimes defined as nonsense.  As in you might say: “Jane is talking rhubarb.”

I also did not know that “rhubarb” is the word that extras in a play say while onstage to create background noise.

I also did not know that “on a rhubarb” was WWII fighter pilot slang for being on a strafing mission on enemy ground.

Finally, I also did not know that “hitting the rhubarb” is slang for getting so drunk that you can’t drive without going off the road.

~ ~ ~ ~

And that, kids, is today’s installment of my A To Z Challenge theme, FOOD: Talking The Talk. 

Q Is For Quince, Let Us Quote

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.00.12 AM“They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon, the moon.
They danced by the light of the moon.”

~ Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

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{ Image Source }

• • •

I like quinces.

They’ve been around Europe since before medieval times, mentioned in literature by both the Romans and the Greeks.

If you’ve ever seen one in the produce section of the grocery store here on this side of the pond, you know that they’re pretty to look at, a nice yellow color.

Albeit they’re as hard as a butternut squash when you go to cut into one, they have an interesting shape, as seen in the image above.

They taste like spicy pear to me, and are delicious when made into a jelly or jam.

Or yummy as Membrillo [aka quince paste] with some Spanish Manchego Cheese OR Irish White Cheddar Cheese.

On an English Water Cracker, of course.  OR on an Italian Crostini, if that’s what you have around.

Perhaps with a glass of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc while sitting on a North American deck, waiting for the sun to set and the moon to rise, enjoying nature.

Yes, this is what I think of when I think of quinces: charming words, delicious international nibbles + kicking back to relax.

See why I like ’em?