Paul makes an amazing peach cobbler. One night, he shares the secret ingredient with you.
|“Uncle Paul, this peach cobbler is the best I’ve ever had,” I remarked after the first bite. “I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before.”
Aunt Betty nodded and smiled at her husband as the family finished eating. “This peach cobbler won a blue ribbon at the fair last year, didn’t it, Paul?”
Uncle Paul nodded as a blush came to his cheeks. “Ah, Betty, it ain’t no big deal,” he protested.
“Then why were you beaming for days after the fair?” Aunt Betty grinned.
“I’ll help clear the table,” I interrupted. “But I’d really like to know your secret, Uncle Paul.”
Uncle Paul said nothing as he helped me clear the table. Once we got to the kitchen, however, he muttered to me, “You plannin’ to make peach cobbler or somethin’? I ain’t pegged you for the cookin’ type, girl. You city folks don’t like stuff like peach cobbler.”
I raised an eyebrow at this. “I guess we don’t really know each other that well after all,” I answered, not sure how to feel. “I did make an A in cooking class, you know.”
“Nope, didn’t know that,” Uncle Paul admitted, his tone softening. “What kind of stuff did ya cook?”
I rattled off the list as if by memory. “Beef stroganoff, egg custard, brownies. All sorts of stuff. I even made a pear cobbler with the recipe on the Bisquick box.”
“Is that so?”
I nodded. “So how did you learn to make peach cobbler?”
“Just ain’t gonna give up on that, are ya?” Uncle Paul chuckled.
“No, I’m not. Not just because I want to make it myself, either.”
“Whaddaya mean? Ain’t that why you keep pesterin’ me for the recipe?”
“It was at first,” I replied, shaking my head. “I just thought…cooking was something we could talk about together. I told you a bit about my cooking experience. I guess I’d just like to know a little more about you.”
“Ain’t just funnin’ me, are ya?”
“All righty then,” he relented, opening the cabinet where he kept spices. “Ain’t no need to tell Betty ’bout this,” he whispered conspiratorially. Was that a smile on his face?
“It’ll be our secret,” I promised, holding out my pinkie.
With a nod, he pointed out the window. “See that there tree? That’s where I get my peaches. Ain’t no way we’re gonna eat ’em all, so we sell most of ’em.”
“I’ll bet peaches fresh off the tree taste really good. The ones at the supermarket don’t really taste like anything.”
“That’s why city folks need to spend time here, close to Mother Nature,” Uncle Paul asserted. Standing on his tiptoes, he reached into the cabinet and started unloading jars and bottles. Finally, he handed me a small bottle. “I put this stuff in the peach cobbler.”
I opened my eyes wide as I read the label. “Lavender honey? But where did you get this?”
“Ah, Betty always wants to stop at those roadside stands,” he told me. “I ain’t never heard of no lavender honey ’til she brought it home.”
“It smells interesting,” I smiled. “How’d you get the idea to add it to your peach cobbler?”
Uncle Paul took a deep breath. “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Betty and me, we like goin’ to the fair. But she ain’t got the know-how to make no desserts. My mama done give me her recipe for peach cobbler, but it wants brown sugar. Didn’t have no brown sugar, so I done used that honey. ”
“And that’s when you won the blue ribbon.”
“Yep. Got 25 dollars, too.”
“You’re amazing, Uncle Paul,” I told him sincerely. “I’m glad you shared your secret with me.”
“Remember now, you can’t tell Betty,” Uncle Paul reminded me. “She still thinks I done used that honey for toast.”
“I already promised you, it’s our secret.”