Just a Little Something
Made some blueberry boy bait Saturday night and it was not bad. It’s one of Mr. S’s favorites, something I made for him back when we were dating. It’s what I had to work with – that, and my love for good conversation and my affinity for long walks and working hard and going out dancing now and then, and quiet hours reading together – and who’s to say something homemade for someone you care for doesn’t have a power all its own?
It’s true. Some of the great gifts I’ve received were things homemade, small labors of love when the giver wasn’t sure of what to do or say or share. There was an apple galette when I was feelin’ lonely, a batch of chili and some cornbread when I had pneumonia, a pot of chicken and dumplings when I was down and out, a spread of roasted meat and vegetables when I was so deep in transition I thought I might come apart. And all of those random plates of bars and cookies, the loaves of fresh bread “just because,” the carefully wrapped truffles packed in small tins, the brown lunch bags holding “just a little something.”
It is said there are five Love Languages, and I’m all for the notion, and I’m thinkin’ giving gifts of home-cooked or baked goods is one way I show love. But when you think about it, the number “five” is a bit limiting. If you Google the population of Planet Earth, the number 7.4 billion shows up and the numbers are rising. That’s a mother load of lives and it seems to me every person on the planet speaks his or her own love language. After all, every person is a whole life, a story, an exhilaration of inclinations and longings and quirks.
My life is half over, but I haven’t yet met half the people I’ll meet, and I like that thought. And the thought that we are each our own person, with our own ways of dancing and fighting, dreaming and working, giving and taking and loving, too. And what a thing it is that we – each and all of us – want, basically, the same one thing. To feel noticed, cared for, heard. Somehow, each day, each of us.
Consider then, how you will speak your language today. Might be a plowing a field. Might be a touch. Might involve a road trip. Or listening to someone vent awhile. Or telling a story. Making people laugh. Might be NOT doing a thing today. Or it might be making a strawberry rhubarb pie, or coconut cream, or a pie you’ve not yet made and is daunting and it’s hot out and you’re really not in the pie-making mood, but there’s this person you care about out there, weeding the garden and hauling brush to the compost heap, this person for whom a pie would bring a bit of joy, so you make it, and as you do, you think about that person, and realize, as you roll and cut and mix and pour, that it’s not so much the end product as it is the lovingness in motion, and you get to thinking what it would look like to have that much in you, to make a pie for every person on earth, oh my gosh, and the oven buzzer rings and you hear the screen door open, and for now it’s you and this one person, and this pie. Oh, yes.
Time to get out some of those berries you’ve buried away in the freezer. This recipe is simple enough to make in the morning and share in the afternoon, and it’ll go with anything. Or nothing at all but a cup of good coffee.
Blueberry Boy Bait
2 cups plus 1 tsp flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup blueberries
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup sugar
½ – 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9×13 cake pan. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl and set aside. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated, and reduce speed to medium. Beat in one-third of flour mixtures; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining 1 teaspoon flour. (If using frozen blueberries, do not let them thaw, as they will turn the batter a blue-green color.) Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
For the topping: Scatter blue-berries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)
Serves up to 12.
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