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The Mandarin Cobbler

Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010, at 3:09 PM

If I live to be a hundred (and I'm getting close), I'll never understand men.

Now I have this email buddy, who evidently has been watching all this holiday cooking on television. In fact, almost all talk shows are featuring chefs and holiday recipes.

This friend told me he seldom cooks. He eats out all the time at McDonalds and other fast food chains.

Sometimes he also splurges and eats at restaurants using his gift cards.

And he enjoys Starbucks coffee when he isn't drinking senior citizen coffee at McDonalds with the guys.

So I decided to email my recipe for quick cobbler to him. It is in last year's Clay County Relay for Life cookbook.

It is a simple one-pan recipe, easy to make and bake.

The very next day he decided to try the recipe. All he needed was one large can of sliced peaches.

He went to the store and purchased it. He had all the other needed ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder, margarine.

It was a success, easy to make and delicious, he emailed back.

He did, however, make one small change. He used a half stick of margarine rather than a whole stick the recipe called for.

I said that was okay.

The next week he invited his son and daughter-in-law over for Sunday dinner. That's when he went all out and cooked a pot roast with potatoes and carrots. He also made the quick cobbler for dessert.

So far, so good.

Then a few days later while tooling home from McDonalds, he pondered what he would eat for lunch.

He decided to make another cobbler, even though he's trying to maintain his weight.

However, this time he would make only a half recipe since he couldn't eat a whole cobbler by himself.

He made up half a recipe, turned on the oven to heat, then reached in the cabinet for his peaches. It was just a small can, not a large can.

The can was the same color and the picture from a distance looked like peaches.

Turns out, the peaches were not peaches, they were mandarin oranges.

Not to be deterred, he decided to use the oranges anyway. Why throw out all the mixings. He used the oranges.

No, the cobbler wasn't as good, not as sweet because of the juice. But it was edible, he emailed.

Perhaps he was trying to emulate tv celebrity Emeril Lagasse, renowned chef and cookbook author who often appears on Good Morning, America, cooking up delicacies for viewers.

Emeril has been quoted as saying, "I had these recipes that say do this, do that. Who makes these rules? I'm gonna do it my way!"

The noted chef, who considers cooking an art and passion, also says, "The problem with cooking is too many rules. You don't have to have perfect squares. Who cares, you know. Like we got some architect judging us at our table."

I wouldn't be surprised if Emeril could turn out a masterwork peach cobbler, with mandarin oranges. If he can prepare a twice-baked goat cheese souffle, he can do anything.

I guess it's tough for a guy to learn to cook for himself.

I know one Clay County bachelor who has mastered the art of cooking a pot of soup beans.

Well, hey. That's an accomplishment. There are a lot of cooks who can't make a decent pot of beans.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all you would be chefs.

Take a cooking motto from Emeril - "Let's kick it up a notch."



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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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