My older son has a weekend job restocking supermarket shelves. No one calls him by his name; they summon him by yelling "stock!" He walks around with a clipboard, checking to see what's run out and is constantly scrambling to replace the diet Raspberry Snapple. He's still new at the job and though he knows he is allowed to help himself to as much as fountain soda as he wants, no one told him the rules for eating lunch. The day before, he had texted us, asking us to bring him something to eat.
Can one of you please come here and feed me!!!
My husband told him to go to the lunch counter and order a sandwich.
I don't feel comfortable doing that I work for them I can't just have them make me a sandwich.
My husband said he could, as long as he paid for it.
Maybe I'll just have a muffin.
Eventually, my husband drove over, ordered a turkey club and gave him half.
My older son has another job during the week interning at a bank. He doesn't have any days off and works harder than I ever did in high school. I had part-time jobs, babysitting and clerking, and spent summers working as a sailing instructor at a sleep away camp and as a salesgirl at Laura Ashley, where I was deemed too fat to appear in the fashion show, but was allowed to sell dresses and give out fabric samples. I never had two jobs simultaneously and my hardest job involved sitting and typing as a temp at Nabisco, where we got free Oreos at lunch. I never came home sweaty or collapsed at the end of the day on the couch, as my older son does.
I had started broiling peaches and mixing up a brown sugar pecan crumble at 9 on a Sunday morning because we'd run out of cereal and my son had gone to work without breakfast that morning. I would use up my ripe peaches and make a glazed peach and brown sugar pecan crumble and bring some to my son in a little Tupperware container. I would be that kind of mom.
Okay, fine, I wanted to see him at his new job.
I love ripe peaches. But there's a thin line between ripe and rotten and when I blithely bought a bag of eight peaches at the farmer's market on Tuesday, I'd forgotten that my husband was going to be away part of the week. Plus, my younger son isn't wild about peaches. By the time I opened that bag on Sunday morning, the peaches were soft and bruised. I knew cooking them and dousing them with brown sugar and butter would save them, especially if I mixed them up with the pecan crumble I had learned from Kathleen Sanderson, an awesome and funny cooking instructor who teaches at Kings Cooking Studio. Kathleen was the first person to teach me how to make brisket in 1999 and her recipes always work exactly as she says they will. In class, she had showed us how to make grilled peaches and pecan crumble. All I had on hand was a can of mixed nuts---there were some pecans in there but not enough for the recipe, so I used the whole variety of nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and peanuts.
The crumble takes almost no time: The hardest part is melting the butter and chopping the nuts in a blender. Then you mix it all up with the sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour - this is the fun part: mixing it together with your hands. For the lazy among us, crumbles are perfect. They are more forgiving than pies. There is no rolling or pressing or cutting around the edges as you sweat to make everything fit precisely. Crumbles accept whatever you have to offer.
The peaches were more work because I had to cut off the brown parts. Then they took a mere four minutes to broil (two minutes on each side).
"It's really delicious," my husband said.
"This is pretty good, for peaches," my younger son said. His friend, who will grow up to be a successful young man because he made his own bed two mornings in a row, left his dirty sheets on top of the washing machine and put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher without being asked, ate the peaches silently and happily.
My older son was going to be so excited. I couldn't wait to bring the peaches over. I texted him and said I was coming by.
"No. Do. Not."
He ate the peach crumble when he finished his shift, then tumbled into bed.
Today is his birthday. He's turning 18 and is applying to college in a few weeks. My days of making him snacks and lunch are coming to a close. Perhaps they've already closed. I hope he always finds ways to give new life to old fruit.
Hot Peaches with Nut Crumble
(4-8 servings, depending upon how many peaches you use)
4-8 peaches, split and pitted (You can also use nectarines, pineapples or apricots.)
1-2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
If you are grilling fruit, turn grill on. If you are broiling peaches, turn the broiler on and cover a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Lay peach halves on a clean work surface. Brush with butter. Place peach halves cut side down on grill or if you are broiling, lay peach slices, cut side down, on cookie sheet. Broil/grill peaches 2 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and cook for 2 more minutes (4 minutes altogether). Sprinkle peaches with brown sugar and let melt slightly.
While the peaches are in the oven, assemble your crumble.
Brown Sugar Nut Crumble
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped nuts (pecans are ideal, but a combination of nuts is fine)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet pan with parchment. Combine flour, nuts, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add butter and rub the mixture into coarse crumbs (use your hands!). Scatter crumbs onto sheet pan and bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before adding to peaches.Add vanilla ice cream for an extra thrill.