Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

August 3, 2015
Irene Saiger


Blueberry Cobbler

IMG_2911It’s on summer days when the hours are long, that I miss it the most, the kind of communal feeling  that existed when I was growing up in our apartment in the Bronx.  It was a time when everyone knew the names of their neighbors, and had a relationship with them.  Most of the women stayed home, and although they worked hard, they also socialized, played cards, caught up with each other while hanging laundry on the roof, shopped together, had a glazileh tea over something they baked, or sometimes even a small glass of wine.  They took turns looking after each other’s children, one day a week my sister and I had lunch at Fanny’s,  and once a week Sarah and Liba came to us. I think our mothers went to the Lower East Side on their days off.  There was no day care, and no nannies.  Need was their motivation and it was expected that you pitched in to help each other out.

Even though the various accents could have presented a barrier, these women had a common language, the language of immigrants sharing a similar experience.  The kids?  We had no barriers, we all went to the same public school, we came home to milk and cookies, and we went back outside to play.  There were so many parallels, including the fact that we all  had one thing to do before we were really free for the day, the Italian kids had to go for religious instruction at the local Catholic church, and we had to go to Hebrew school.

There was never any lack of companionship.  If you were bored, your nearest neighbor was less than a foot away.  We didn’t feel that an unexpected knock at the door was intrusive, or invasive, we didn’t worry about boundaries, or setting limits. Women wanted to get together and if your neighbor wasn’t home, you walked downstairs to the stoop, where someone was always taking a break from the sweltering apartment heat.

This week I baked a blueberry cobbler, (blueberries were and still are my favorite berry to use in desserts) but we didn’t finish it and sadly there was nobody upstairs or downstairs to call and invite over to share a piece, with or without a glazileh tea.  So that’s what I miss.


Blueberry Cobbler  adapted from Mark Bittman

5 cups blueberries, washed and strained

1/2  cup sugar plus 2 Tb

1 tsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and place in a lightly greased pie dish.

In your food processor, combine flour, margarine or butter, baking powder and salt and process for less than a minute, just till blended.  Then remove blade and mix in egg and vanilla.  Use a large spoon and drop dough over fruit but don’t spread it.

1 stick frozen margarine (for pareve cobbler) or cold sweet butter, sliced into 6 pieces.

1 /2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg, beaten

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Bake cobbler till golden, about 40 minutes.


10 thoughts on “Blueberry Cobbler

  1. SUch a beautiful memory. I do think with all the gains in modern society , there is a loss and you captured it so movingly!!!

    • Wow, thank you Barbie! I STILL would love to have a story from you and your Dad! I think you would capture something special about L.A. and your Dad’s contribution to the food scene through your eyes. You can do it!!!

  2. I am so making this recipe before the end of summer. Irene, I loved being transported back to those days in the Bronx. It painted a picture for me of the days when my dad was a kid and then when my brothers were born in New York how things must been. thank you for this,

    • Hi Susan,

      I guess you didn’t make it the other night?? I always loved hearing your Dad talk about the Bronx because I felt he had the same good memories and it was nice to have that in common.

      Thank you!!!

  3. Hi, Irene.

    There is something about being a child and the experiences we have as children that can never be replicated for most of us. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories of summers in the Bronx and Lakewood.
    Love, your shvester

  4. Hey, I’ll finish your blueberry cobbler any time!

  5. I live a few blocks not feet away and would always love a glezel tea with epis zees. You are a wonderful neighbor that drops off milk when you receive an emergency call. It is not perfect like your sweet memories of NY but as we move on in life, it is always wonderful to have terrific neighbors, we just have to walk a bit further

    • Thanks Estelle!! I have to be more pro-active after work and do that!!! I was so thrilled that I could do something for you, for a change, but the best part was that you called me to ask!!!! AMEN!!! I love that last line. Poetic!!!

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