“If life is a bowl of cherries, why am I in the pits?” asked humorist, Erma Bombeck. I know what she meant, literally.
Every time I open the refrigerator, beady little cherry eyeballs stare up at me. I slam the door quickly. I’ve never liked cherries. In spite of their sweetness, they always seem to have a tart aftertaste to me.
So, why do I have cherries in the fridge? It’s my son’s fault. They probably looked good in the produce section, so he bought them. Unlike the seedless grapes I usually buy, cherries have pits. He remembered this important fact the first time he bit into one.
I need to get rid of them. Maybe I’ll make a cherry cobbler, I thought, in a domestic moment. I used to bake when had to cook for a growing family. In later years, I’ve grown complacent. Cooking is no longer a challenge, no longer fun like it used to be. Or, maybe I’m simply too lazy.
Regardless, I am determined to get rid of those beady-eyed cherries. I remember having a recipe somewhere, I think, flipping pages in the cookbook. On the third flyby, I find it, Magic Peach Cobbler — but you can use any kind of fruit, it says in the directions.
The first order of business is to cut the cherries in half and remove the pits. Cherry in the bowl, pit in the trash, cherry here, pit there, cha, cha, cha, one cherry at a time. “This could take all day,” I thought, shifting from one foot to the other. Persistence paid off, and finally they were finished.
“One and 3/4 cups of fruit,” said the recipe. I knew from experience that a few cherries, more or less, would still work. “Don’t want to waste them,” I thought, looking at my red, cherry-stained fingers.
“One cup flour, one cup sugar, one and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and ¾ cup of milk.” I can do that if I can find the baking powder. I found it at the back of the top shelf. As I removed it, a box of chicken bullion cubes tumbled out and fell on the floor. Where did those come from?
“Melt one stick of butter.” I will turn on the oven and melt it while I mix the rest of the stuff. I know I have a mixing bowl somewhere. Hope the flour doesn’t have mites in it. I can’t remember the last time I used flour. What’s that hard lump in the flour? Oh, my measuring spoon. I wondered where that went.
“Pour the flour mixture over the melted butter and do not stir.” While I removed the butter from the oven, the spatula fell out of the mixing bowl onto the floor making a gooey mess to clean up.
“Sprinkle the fruit over the top.” I carefully picked out a pit that I missed. Now, “Sprinkle with a cup of sugar.” I hope I have enough sugar, I thought, turning the canister upside down and shaking out barely enough.
This thing must have a zillion calories in it. Now I remember why I don’t bake any more. I add some cinnamon whether the recipe called for it or not. I want it to smell good baking.
I put it into the oven at 350 degrees and turn unhappily to the sink full of dirty mixing bowls and spilled sugar. The timer! I forgot the most important part. “Bake for 30 minutes.”
I was barely done cleaning up my mess when the alarm went off. I smelled something burning. Oh, no! I ran to the oven, but the cobbler had only cooked over and juice was burning on the bottom of the oven. The crust had risen to the top and the fruit was on the bottom. That’s why it is called “Magic Cobbler.”
In spite of sticky spills, a dirty oven and being red-handed, I’m no longer in the pits.
Erma would be so proud.