This morning after enjoying a bowl of Kashi and a ripe white peach that sat humbly on the dining room table, I went to take a shower and was momentarily distracted by my (fat) cat, Mrs. Newt LongJohn Bacon Squeejie. We call her "Mrs. Newt" for short. As I pet her silky fur, I glanced down to see the title, Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda on my mom's studio bookcase. Intrigued, I picked it up, to find an odd, yet satisfying assortment of odes- from French fries to a violin in California to a bar of soap.
I liked the Ode to the plate, so I will share it with you.
But first, I must tell you how much I loved this ripe white peach, briefly mentioned above. I found the basket while strolling groggily through the Farmers' market last Saturday, it looked like any old nondescript container of peaches; a faded green cardboard holding house for these rosy gems, soft and fuzzy on the outside, white juicy flesh on the inside. I wouldn't know until I got home that these are the best peaches I'd ever try… as you bite into them, they release a berry-like juice that evokes images of one picking peaches on a country farm on a bright sunny day, or maybe even of a picnic by the shoreline in California. Their skin gives way to flesh so tender that your teeth cut down so smoothly you don't even notice. They are hopelessly delicious and words will do them no justice.
As for the ode…
Ode to the plate
most vital disk,
planet and planetarium:
at noon, when
the sun, itself a plate of fire,
the tables of the world,
and the world
fills with food, and the universe
fils with fragrance,
and once again
the dining car is empty,
while the plates return
to the depths of the kitchen.
Smooth, perfect vessel,
you were spawned by a sponge on a stone.
Then the human hand
that perfect hollow
and the potter copied its freshness
time with its thread
could insert it
between every man and his life"
one plate, two plates, three…
moonlight precise within its halo,
rounded beauty of a diadem.
I made this peach cobbler without thinking about plates a couple of weeks ago when my Aunt Linda came to stay. I used many plates: various for mixing, a pie plate for the fruit crisp, others for serving. They get used, washed, put away, hardly ever being given a second thought. Yet they are vehicles for our prized and needed food, and play an important secondary role… if not for plates, what would we eat off of?
You need not use white peaches in this crisp; I didn't. Use ripe peaches (though not overly ripe!) at the peak of the season (now!) and watch how they caramelize in the oven and their juices ooze through to make this a lovely, yet simple fruit dessert.
Gluten-free peach crisp
Adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
Serves 4 somewhat generously
3 cups sliced peaches (if using frozen, partially thaw before using)
A drizzle of honey, to taste
½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
2-3 TBSP organic milk, as needed
½ cup gluten-free baking or pancake mix
½ cup organic light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3-4 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peach slices and honey, set aside.
In another mixing bowl, stir together the rolled oats and milk, just until moistened. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add the baking mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the rested oats and stir to combine. Add dabs of the butter and rub it into the oat mix between your palms until the mixture becomes crumbly and moist. If it's too crumbly, add a tad more milk.
Put the peaches into the greased pie plate and top with the crisp and crumble topping. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, tender but not too soft, and the topping is golden brown.