My father had a story to tell but unfortunately I was not ready to hear it when he was alive. I know that he was the youngest of seven children and that his father died shortly after my father was born. I don’t recall my father sharing many stories about his siblings, extended family or even his mother. Perhaps the loss was so painful that he just couldn’t bring himself to speak of them, or maybe he thought his stories couldn’t compete with my mother’s colorful delivery. Either way, there are holes in the family history and nobody left to ask.
My mother was a storyteller and spoke warmly of her large family and their lives in the small shtetl of Mogielnica. We grew up hearing about my maternal grandfather’s tannery, about her aunt who owned the bakery in town and whose sisters were also bakers, about her unruly brothers who she clearly adored. The meals, the food, the holidays, the memories were vivid and sharp and I can recall many of them to this day.
My daughter recently traveled to Germany and realized that she doesn’t know as much about my family as she had thought. She has asked me to write down what information I have, but I must admit it is very limited. It is a tall order and it feels like I am trying to recreate something without knowing all the ingredients. So instead, I spent the afternoon baking a Fruit Cobbler, in memory of all the family bakers that preceded me, and in honor of my daughter who wants to know more and is ready to ask.
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tb baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fruit ( I used blackberries and peaches)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Place butter in a large round baking dish and melt in a 375 degree oven. In the meantime, mix 1 cup of sugar with the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add milk, stirring gently but not thoroughly. Pour batter over melted butter but do not stir.
In a medium pot, cook fruit with sugar and cinnamon for just a few minutes. Pour over batter and sprinkle with more cinnamon. Bake for about 45 minutes or till golden brown. There is liquid in the center even when the cobbler is fully baked, just take the juices and spoon over each serving. Serves 8