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Comic relief, anyone? Also, how about some peach cobbler.
It’s a sunny Saturday in Toronto and the street festivals are back in action, including Jazz Fest — and I simply don’t have the emotional fortitude to wade into the abortion debate. I’ll have another post for you tomorrow with reading recommendations on the headlines from the week, including the overturning of Roe v Wade.
But for today, I’m going to assume that at least some of you could use something lighter, as I certainly could.
I have several offerings.
Here is Tracey Ullman’s classic sketch on wokeness, which a friend recently sent me:
Next: I went to see humorist David Sedaris speak last night to a packed audience at Indigo. (Hooray for in-person events!)
The appearance was classic Sedaris. He started off with a joke about Pride — saying he was coming out as straight, since, with the advent of the term queer, he’d grown tired of being rebranded — and then read a charming essay, from his new collection Happy-Go-Lucky, about his long partnership with artist Hugh Hamrick:
The surprise is that sometimes all it takes is a mutual aversion to overhead lights, or to turning the TV on before 11 p.m.You like to be on time and keep things tidy, the other person’s the same, and the next thing you know thirty years have passed and people are begging you to share your great wisdom. “First off,” I say, “never, under any circumstances, look under the hood of your relationship. It can only lead to trouble.” Counselling, I counsel, is the first step to divorce.
Sedaris proceeded to take questions from the audience, go off-script with commentary on crime in NYC, tell a story about being mauled late at night by a randy homeless woman, and mock a young fan’s poor fashion sense. He then embarked on a marathon book signing, as you would expect. It was all very fun.
I interviewed Sedaris a few years back in Vancouver. We talked about his bizarre hobbies — feeding spiders, cleaning up garbage on the side of the road in England, obsessing over Fitbit steps — and about the years he’d spent doing odd jobs, getting high on crystal meth, drinking coffee in IHOP, and observing American life. I remember laughing a lot.
A week or so later, he sent me a postcard making fun of the ripped jeans I’d been wearing when we’d met, which made me laugh all over again.
This week, after I ran this piece on the implosion of the food world, I got a request for my peach cobbler recipe. I am happy to oblige.
Easy Peach Cobbler
This recipe is originally from Gourmet, so I can’t take credit for it. It really is a shame that the magazine folded, as its recipes were outstanding. I could say all sorts of things here about the decline of print media, and my sadness about that, but you have probably already guessed that I’m a bit of a Luddite. Which is to say: I would get rid of my cell phone if I could. Then friends would have to come and knock on my door if they had something to tell me. Which wouldn’t be bad at all. I generally have coffee brewing, and cookies on offer, and I’m usually up for a good gab.
To get your old school Gourmet fix, you can read Ruth Reichl’s mouth-watering Substack here.
Now, to the peaches…
• 6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For biscuit topping:
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1/4 cup boiling water
1. First, cook the peaches. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a 2-qt. nonreactive baking dish and bake in middle of oven for 10 minutes.
2. Make topping while peaches bake. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
3. Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake in middle of oven until topping is golden, about 25 minutes. Topping will spread as it bakes.
This is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made, and certainly among the most satisfying. It’s best savoured on a breezy balcony at dusk, gazing out at the glimmering lights of the city of Toronto, with the Fugees playing in the background.
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