Sunday, September 4, 2011

- Published in the New York Times: Peach cobbler

Oh frabjous day … my Peach Cobbler recipe made it into Reader Photos and Recipes: Essential Summer Dishes in the New York Times!           

Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve made it into the Times, having written a Letter to the Editor that made it into the print edition during the 2008 presidential campaign (see the second letter on the page, which obviously didn't convince anyone). But getting published in the NYT, even if it's only on the website, feels every bit as good the second time around.

I probably would have missed the online call for recipes, avid print reader that I am, had it not been for the critter that chose to deposit some scat on our Thursday morning paper as it sat in the driveway. So it was that I found myself reading the online NYT during breakfast, clicking various “Most Emailed” links which eventually led to the summer recipes retrospective.

Cobbling together an entry (sorry, I couldn’t resist) with a poem and a recipe from an earlier blog post, along with a picture of the beach in North Carolina had to be done in half an hour, lest I be late for work. To which I went without giving much more thought to the matter … until I returned home to discover an email request for a peach cobbler picture to go along with my submission.

Woo hoo! I made the cut! And I figured taking a picture would be a piece of cake: just make a cobbler in the morning, send off a picture and wait for magic to happen. Published in the NYT … again!

Except. Have you ever found perfectly ripe peaches in the store? Ever?

I ended up at the HEB on Friday morning surreptitiously squeezing peaches. The produce manager’s eyes narrowed, prompting me to offer an explanation, “I need to make a cobbler, the perfect cobbler, today, this morning, for the New York Times. I can’t wait for the peaches to ripen. Could there possibly be some over-ripe rejects in back?” Eyes softening, the gentle man said he’d see what he could do. Alas, there were no perfect peaches to be had.

So I bought 2 dozen  peaches that barely yielded to thumb pressure, hoping to cull the 3 or 4 cups needed for the recipe. Slicing into one peach after another, I muttered under my breath, “What was I thinking?” But it all worked out. Don and I took some pre-baking pictures,

the cobbler went into the oven, baked to a perfect turn, and then I impatiently waited for it to firm up enough to cut. Finally, the requisite picture was taken and sent off.

The few hours that passed between emailing the picture and seeing it online were spent shopping for seafood stew ingredients in a vain attempt to keep from clicking the Dining website link like a demented pigeon in a Skinner box. Until finally, they appeared:  my poem, my recipe, my picture.  Oh joy!

Except. The poem didn’t quite fit. And got cut (too suggestive apparently). Later.

Oh well … the recipe and the picture are still there. As for the poem, it’s been here on the blog all along, and here it will stay.

Sunrise on the Outer Banks, courtesy of Keith Cline, Labor Day 2011
For Peaches

On a Carolina highway,
air rippling with early summer heat,
my thumb
seeks the reassurance
of soft flesh
ripened to perfection.

Rose and gold and palest jade
rim the edge of heaven,
nexus of sand and sea and sky;
the sunrise a recapitulation
of summer sun imprinted
on fragrant orbs.

Silver blade in hand
I cleave flesh
into wedges drenched with juice,
sweetened with sugar,
freckled with cinnamon.

Then open the oven
to air rippling with heat
that will meld
flour & butter
sugar & cream
into a cobbled bed;
a perfect end

for peaches.