Those hands have been peeling peaches for 75 years! My grandma was one of ten brothers and sisters who grew up on a farm in Northeastern Indiana. This time of year, they would get up to seven bushels of peaches at a time, and the five girls would sit on the front porch and peel them for canning, to put up for the winter. In the summer months, my great-grandma, Margaret Beck, would do all of the baking in the morning on a cook stove. On special days, she would bake pie. She used giant pie tins and always made at least two at a time. My grandma came to stay with my mom this week, the first week for peaches in our area. I visited one day after work and spent time with her in the kitchen. That night I sat at the table with my mom and grandma and ate peach pie off of my great-grandma’s dish.
A porch swing. What’s better than a porch swing? Pie on a porch swing! My sister came up to her in-laws’ this week and somehow through the magic of text messaging and family recipes they put together a lovely spontaneous cookout. Not bad for the middle of a workweek! She made some pies, her father-in-law did some grilling and we all ate well. The cherry pie is a Southern Living recipe, and the peaches and cream pie is from Great Grandma Manges’ family cookbook. The internet is pretty great for recipe finding, but family recipe cards and books are among my personal treasures. Later I will have to say more about spaghetti squash and shrimp on the grill, but right now I’ll appreciate the coziness of a welcoming front porch.
Last summer my sister went to a teacher’s workshop in Shipshewana, IN. She returned with homemade fudge, taffy, cheese curds, pecan brittle, and a story about a homemade fried blueberry pie. A young Amish mother and her two boys kept a fried pie stand; the boys took the change while the mother served fresh fried pies! It sounded so delicious that I didn’t forget about it, and since blueberries are in season I had to try it out myself. I used my grandma’s pie shell recipe and a version of Betty Crocker’s blueberry pie filling with extra lemon juice. The combination of late spring fruit and fried pastry really felt like summer was underway. More versions must follow!