In 1976, the Sweetie brought a 1965 Mustang, a blender, and a posse of friends with him into our relationship. In 1978 we sold the Mustang for $75 and this year I finally replaced the blender, but those friends are still at the top of our must keep list. I remember people, once important to me, who faded away for lack of my attention and am so glad that this group is still part of my life. During the last forty years we have shared professional lives, employed one another during the lean times, celebrated weddings, promotions, and births, mourned the passing of family members, and exchanged retirement scenarios. We trade books, travel tips, pictures of yearly adventures, new recipes, and old New Yorkers but never hashtags, pins, Tweets, Facebook likes or Instagram posts.
Last Sunday we all sat around the table for our summer “Succotash” gathering, looking out at Hood Canal. There were no phones present; no swooshes, marimba chimes, dings, or ringtones interrupted the seven hour conversation. We discussed Syria, Robert Redford, New York Times Op-Ed pieces, motorcycle travel, hiking pole preferences, rail connections between Paris and Amsterdam, Oliver Sacks, whether or not the pejorative term “squaw” originated from Native Americans, the World Series odds for the Toronto Blue Jays, French cinema, and Bernie Sanders. There was no mention of Donald Trump, anyone named Kardashian, the Seattle Seahawks, medical symptoms, the stock market, new diets, pets or grandchildren.
Hood Canal, Puget Sound
This year the menu was Korean: seafood pancakes with soy/sesame dipping sauce, bulgogi and grilled vegetables, bibimbap with tofu and kimchee, and plum cobbler. Our host, Beth, is more than just a good cook—she has an excellent sense of seasoning plus the skills and confidence to try something new.
Like smells and music, our sense of taste can trigger long-hidden memories. My first mouthful of plum cobbler brought back memories of a childhood dinner table and my mom’s fruit cocktail dessert. As this is a recipe from Beth’s mom, surely they must have been cooking from a similar recipe, passed along among friends–it’s a doozy. Thanks to Beth and Macgregor for sharing their beautiful spot.
Fruit Pudding (Cobbler)
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening(butter or Crisco)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- One 8×8″ pan
Make batter and spread in greased pan evenly. Then spread 2 cups of fresh or canned fruit over batter. Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar over top of fruit. Pour one cup boiling water (or 1/2 cup syrup from canned fruit and 1/2 cup boiling water) over fruit and batter. Bake in 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until lightly browned and cake springs back when touched.