My cousins Gerry and Cookie affectionately called me Pinochi-nose.
They thought my small turned-up nose was cute (Or that I stuck said nose into business I shouldn’t. I’m not really sure).
My nose is small but powerful. My dad has an impressively large schnoz. At the beach, we never needed an umbrella because we luxuriated in the abundant shade of his proboscis.
Years ago I had a cranial CAT scan. The doctor informed me that while outwardly I didn’t inherit Dad’s honker, on the inside, I had. My nose innards were way too big for me.
The upshot of all of this is that my sniffing abilities could give a bloodhound a run for his money. I smell the cigar smoke coming from two cars ahead of me on the freeway. I can tell when the milk’s gone wonky—days before anyone else. Walking past a house I know whether or not they own a cat, and if they need to change the kitty litter.
All of these olfactory ramblings bring me to peach cobbler.
It’s Petey’s very favorite dessert. But because he likes it so much, I want it to be perfect each time I make it for him. I always make sure I have some vanilla Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s to serve with it.
And I never make it unless local peaches are in season. And the way I can tell how ripe and sweet the peaches are, is that their aroma is so strong to me I can smell it from the parking lot. The scent grabs me, and physically pulls me into the store by my nose like an old cartoon gag.
Petey’s summer peach cobbler
4 cups peeled, sliced fresh peaches
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed into ¼ cup cold water
Combine all ingredients except corn starch slurry and lemon juice in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and thicken with corn starch slurry. Remove from the heat.
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 cup milk
½ cup cream
2 teaspoons vanilla or the caviar from 1 vanilla bean
Preheat oven to 350.
Pour the melted butter into a 9X13 baking dish and swirl to coat bottom.
Mix sugar and flour with whisk. Combine milk, cream, and vanilla. Whisk into dry ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir.
Spoon fruit over batter, carefully pouring in the syrup. Batter will rise to top during baking.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove pan from oven and coat top with a thin layer of granulated sugar. Put under broiler and watch carefully until sugar’s crusted and lightly browned.
Serve warm or cold.
If I could pick a superpower, I’d probably take the power of flight, or spinning straw into fully loaded debit cards. But having a turbo-powered nose is kind of neat.
I can tell when winter is over by the perfume of the warming earth. Mostly my world is a place redolent with evocative aromas. But I’m also able to discern when a skunk has had his knickers in a twist anywhere within a ten-mile radius.
It’s both a blessing and a curse.
Thanks for your time.