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.

• • •

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

• • •

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

• • •

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.  🤨

Fashionable Or Not, Here Are My Answers To The Fashionista Questions

Over the weekend I saw that Carol had answered these questions. She got them from Melanie who got them from Rory who asked them originally. I thought this looked like fun so I did it too. Here are my answers.  

• • •

Q1 How important is colour in your life?

It’s very important, so much so that I have a blog tag for it: Colors Of My Life.

Q2 What is your most favourite colour to wear?

Blue, all shades– but not at once.

Q3 Is there a colour that you wear that brings the best out in you and in others – in so far as compliments?

Teal or aqua.  I get compliments when I wear either of those.  They bring out the color in my blue, sometimes greenish, eyes.

Q4 Are you a person who likes to overdress for the day or are you a follower of the credo, less is more?

Less is more, my gentle readers.  Overdressing makes me feel silly and contrived.

Q5 What are five of your best items of clothing that you simply couldn’t be without? [and l don’t mean underwear/socks]

T-shirts, cotton sweaters, Birks, denim jacket, jeans.

Q6 Do you dress for the season, as in colour wise, or just throw on whatever is warm and practical?

Remember the book, Color Me Pretty by Carole Jackson?  With a hat tip to her seasonal color analysis [learn more about yours here], I dress for each season using colors I know flatter my skin tone;  I’m a summer.  Then I add a shade or two associated with whichever season it is, so that I “blend” with the world around me.

Q7 If you were going for an evening out and the dress code was ‘smart casual’ what is your ideal outfit and why?

Dark jeans, silk blouse, a spectacular necklace + simple hoop earrings, leather flats with a bit of attitude.  Why?  ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

Q8 If you were having to attend an important meeting or appointment and the dress code was smart – what would your outfit be then?

Dark pants or a pencil skirt in wool [maybe], a blazer or v-neck cardigan, white blouse or t-shirt, small necklace + stud earrings + watch, flats or pumps [depending], a stylish leather purse.

Q9 How many pairs of shoes do you own, and what is the breakdown [as in casual, smart, evening, leisure]

Flats [5], sandals [12], pumps [3], boots [5], athletic [5].  This means I have 30 pairs of shoes.  Is that a lot?  Seems like it to me.

Q10 Do you have classic clothing, or classic items in your wardrobe that you have had for years and never go out of fashion if so name three?

Of course I do!  I’m all about classics.  Three items are*: cotton cardigan sweater by Lands’ End, three-quarter-sleeve blouse by L.L.Bean, Court bag by Coach [from before they lost their mind].

Q11 Are you into plain colours, wild colours or outlandish designs or a mixture and which do you favour more?

Clear colors, simple textures, as little pattern as possible.  Nothing too match-y, match-y.  I want people to see me not some goofy overpowering pattern or unflattering trendy color.

Q12 Do you have a favourite quote with regards fashion or design – if so what is it?

Yes, it is bien dans sa peau, a French saying that means to be happy + comfortable in your own skin.  ‘Tis a goal and a mantra.  I read about it first in French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano and the idea has stayed with me.

Q13 Knee high socks, ankle socks, shin socks or no socks?

No knee socks ever.  Ankle socks sometimes in the winter when it’s cold everywhere I go.  Sans socks when possible.

Q14 Can you see the connection between colour and music and if so does it influence your dress code for the day in any way?

No, I don’t see a connection between color and music.

Q15 If you are going out somewhere special and want to listen to some music to put you in the mood whilst getting dressed up, what do you listen to? [Provide link please]

I play no music while I’m getting dressed.

Q16 How often do you buy new clothing for the season or the year?

I HATE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES, however I may buy one or two new items each season… if I have to… preferably while shopping online… so I don’t have to go near a store… with other people in it.

Q17 Remember tie-dye from the 70’s was it a thing you followed, bought into or worse, how do you feel about it now?

I have no strong opinions about tie-dye.  I’d wear it on a t-shirt or scarf, if I liked the colors in it.

Q18 What is the brightest coloured item of clothing you have in your wardrobes/drawers?

I have a bright pink [blue undertone] fleece jacket that I wear more often than you might think I would.  It goes with everything I own.

Q19 What is the most expensive item of clothing that you have in your wardrobe? How often do you actually wear it?

The most expensive item of clothing in my wardrobe is my lined wool winter coat that I wear when it’s below 30ºF outside.

PQ20 Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Nope, answered them all, thank you very much.

Q21 Is being ‘fashionable’ important to you, or is being comfortably attired more so?

Being stylishly attired is important to me, which means that occasionally I’m fashionable, but for the most part means I follow my own aesthetic that I’d describe as relaxed classic with a little boho chick thrown in for fun.

I have a casual vibe.  I like simple structured clothes in natural fabrics, with an occasional foray into animal print or ethnic print or lace or tiny shiny bling.

I want NO extra fabric draping all over me, NO sports team apparel, NO tacky jewelry or makeup.  Just me, pulled together without fuss, comfortable in my own skin**.

• • •

*Hello FTC! As usual no company has paid me a cent to talk favorably about their products here. Fear not, my old friend, The Spectacled Bean remains an ad-free blog.

** In case you’re interested, three personal style blogs that I like are: GIRLS OF A CERTAIN AGEThe Vivienne Files, & une femme d’un certain âge.

As College Begins, A Conversation About Time-honored Clichés & Proverbial Wisdom

Fawn sleeping in our Pachysandra. Posted here just because.

Here’s a fun conversation I had with a friend.

Friend’s youngest child, a girl, is going to college this fall.  Friend and husband didn’t go to college and their other children either didn’t go to college or lived at home while pursuing a degree.

Friend, who knows I went away to college and lived in the dorms [oh yes I did], was asking what advice would I give to her daughter.

Based on my experiences.

During the Dark Ages.

The question stumped me. I mean, it was soooo long ago, and while I admit that going away to college and living in the dorms helped define who I am today, my immediate answer was the somewhat less than articulate: I DUNNO.

Friend, of course, was taking none of that nonsense so together we got talking about time-honored clichés & proverbial wisdom.  You know, the things we say to each other, meant to be inspiration or balm for the soul, as we listen to each other’s woes and joys.

Eventually we realized that our advice could be put into five categories.  We might be phrasing things differently, but we were saying the same basic five ideas over and over again.  They are as follows.

BE WARY: take care don’t be a pawn in someone else’s game make no assumptions ask yourself, where is the lie?

BE YOURSELF: follow your dreams reach for the stars  well-behaved women rarely make history define yourself

DO YOUR BEST: never give up if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again the same fire that consumes the straw, refines the gold positive begets positive

PEOPLE SUCK: stupid is an iceberg no matter what, someone will take it too seriously never make as your priority someone who considers you optional “no” is a complete sentence

OH WELL, WHATEVER: don’t let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon tomorrow is another day  build a bridge, get over it plans change, often

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What did we forget? What else should be here?

Do tell, in the comments below. 

In Honor Of My 800th Blog Post, I Give You Daisies & Zinnias

Daisies for Quality, Zinnias for Endurance. Living in harmony in an ikebana vase on our kitchen counter. I like the symbolism.

~ ~ ~ ~

Would you believe this is my 800th post on The Spectacled Bean?

Never would I have thought I’d stick around here as long as I have. Yet something about blogging caught my fancy.

It put a little pep in my step.

A little bounce in my pounce.

The izzle in my fo’ shizzle.

Certainly I must have something profound to say about this, right?

Some wisdom to impart…

Some life-affirming conclusions to share…

Some fricking how-to advice to foist on you…

But you know what? I don’t.

All I can think to say is that I’ve learned oodles while writing this blog and that I’m delighted by how many people read and comment on it. I may not fit into any one niche, but I do have a sense of community here.

And that’s what personal blogging is about, I do believe.

Thank you. You’re the best.

~ ~ ~ ~

How many posts have you published on your blog?

Do you know? Do you care?

Just curious.

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Popular Store In Ohio’s Amish Country

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos + a few more photos taken at Lehman’s in Kidron, OH.

Lehman’s, originally a small hardware store in Ohio’s Amish country, is now a 35,000 square foot retail store [plus online company]. According to the store’s website, “the full shopping experience is nearly a quarter mile long!”

I believe it. We had lunch, then wandered around the store for over an hour, purchasing gardening tools– and sustenance for the road in the form of fudge.  

~ • ~

DOORS to the east entrance into the store.

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South end of a north bound water wagon, sans horses to pull it.

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DOOR [faux] painted on side of building.

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A large well-kept farm as seen while driving to Kidron, OH, in northeast Ohio.

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Painting of cow, that has nothing to do with doors, as seen on side of building. *moo*

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Grinding stone that at one time would have had a practical purpose, now part of a pretty flower garden.

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DOORS [faux] painted on side of building.

~ ~ • ~ ~

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Carillon, Learning About Said

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door + gate photos– and a bit of information about carillons.

I took these photos at Dogwood Park in Mariemont, OH. It is a village east of Cincinnati, OH, and is one of the nation’s first planned suburban communities. The park is charming and within it is the Mariemont Bell Tower, a carillon with 49 bells.    

Carillons are musical instruments that contain at least 23 cup-shaped tuned bells. Often, as is in the case of this particular carillon, the bells are hung in a belfry and are connected to a keyboard. When a musician hits the keyboard, using his or her fists, each bell rings, creating a pleasing loud sound.

There are only 166 traditional carillons in the United States, and many of them are on university campuses or in city parks, like this one.

Here’s what I saw in Dogwood Park on a sunny summer afternoon. The whole place looked like it belonged on a Hollywood movie set– that’s how perfectly maintained it was.

~ • ~

GATED DOORWAY into Mariemont Bell Tower.

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Looking up at Mariemont Bell Tower while standing in front of it.

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DOOR to restroom within Mariemont Bell Tower.

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Side of Mariemont Bell Tower as seen through trees.

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GATE [open] to the park that surrounds Mariemont Bell Tower.

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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 ~