A month ago I got a Facebook message from my nephew Jonathan about a conversation he had had with his six-year old daughter—my grand niece—Emma.
“I was taking Emma to spend the day with the mule trainer that the ranch owner flew in from California for the week. I told her to listen and pay attention because one day she might be a mule trainer or a vet and it would be great to learn early. She looked at me and said “Yea, that sounds great and everything, but I’m gonna be a chef like aunt Pam.”
Hah! A story like that makes you proud, and knowing I was going to see Emma at our annual Anderson family reunion this past week, I asked Jonathan to pass along a message to Emma: start thinking about what she wanted to cook with me.
We got to the reunion last Thursday night and Emma and her younger sister Annie were waiting for me. After making a date to play with my make-up and paint nails, we turned our attention to the kitchen. What we were going to cook?
As it turns out, her mother Melissa had stopped en route at a farm in South Carolina and bought nine very large crates of rapidly ripening peaches. Bingo. Peach cobbler was our destiny.
We made a shopping list. Milk, check. Butter, check. Salt and peaches, check, check. All we needed was flour, sugar, baking powder, and almond extract.
We returned from the store and with a little help from some of the older cousins and a few sisters-in-law, we quickly peeled, stoned, and sliced the soft fragrant peaches. Now it was Emma and Annie’s turn. They unwrapped the butter and put a stick into each of three pans, which we set in the preheating oven to melt while we prepared the batter.
They took turns—very impressive for young sisters—measuring the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Then they both stirred and whisked as I poured in the milk and extract. That was it. We divvied up the peaches and batter and then set the pans in the oven to bake for a scant hour. It couldn’t have been a more kid-friendly recipe—short, simple, forgiving.
After late-afternoon games and a barbecue picnic, the seventy of us returned to the cabin for our peach cobbler, apparently so good that some of the latecomers complained of not getting any!
I don’t know if Emma and Annie will remember our peach cobbler session, but I sure will. Both girls are certainly bright enough to become vets, savvy and sensitive enough to be mule trainers. If either decides to become a chef, however, they’re off to a very good early start.