Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sal's Blueberry Cobbler

It was only a year or two ago that I learned that Robert McCloskey, author of Make Way for Ducklings (which is the state book of Massachusetts, by the way), is a sort of regional flavor.  McCloskey wrote eight books and illustrated 10 others, and statues based on Make Way for Ducklings are a must-see when in the Boston Public Gardens.  My mother read us his books at the same time as Dr. Seuss's, so I always assumed that everybody knew him... and yet, any time I ask somebody who isn't from New England if they've read his work, they say, "who?"  Which is a cryin' shame, if you ask me, because these books are a treat. 

But this post isn't about Make Way for Ducklings at all.  In fact, it's not even based on a recipe from a book - it's inspired by a book.  Ok, I know that's kinda cheating.  But after you taste this, I think you'll forgive me. 

Blueberries for Sal is a story about a little girl named Sal and her mother, who go blueberry picking on a hill.  Sal's mother tells her to put the berries she picks in her bucket - "plink plank plunk" - so they can save them for winter.  On the other side of the hill we find a mother bear, who tells her cub to eat as many berries as she can to fatten up for winter.  At one point, Sal and the bear cub each end up with the wrong mother, which is very scary for all involved, but - spoiler! - they're all ok in the end.  Sal and her mother go home and make jam.  But as I said, I didn't make the food in the book, since I'm saving jam for another story.  I made blueberry cobbler instead.  With bears in it.

Sal's Blueberry Cobbler
4 1/2 cups berries (I used all blueberries; it goes well with the theme)
4 tbsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter (that's 3 sticks)
Handful of bear-shaped graham crackers

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, mix berries and sugar.  Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Cut in the butter into this mixture with two knives (or squish with your fingers! Wash your hands first).
4. Press half the mixture into a 9x13, or two 8x8, pans.  Cover with berry mixture, then crumble remaining crumblies on top.  Sprinkle bears on top, or push them into the cobbler so they're swimming in gooey deliciousness.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until berries are bubbly and topping is golden brown.

I found a version of this recipe on, under the name "triple berry crisp," which obviously uses more than just blueberries.  I love that it has both a top and a bottom crust, because the crust is half the fun of a cobbler.  There is a lot of butter in this, so don't fool yourself that this is healthy because it has fruit... but for a special occasion, and for a taste like this, a lot of butter is ok.

And look how happy the bears are!  If I could swim in a pool of blueberry goo, I'd be happy, too.


  1. I love this idea! I am a school media specailist and I will be checking your blog regularly since I serve refreshments at my monthly book club meetings.Thanks!

  2. Thank you for doing this. I am an elementary librarian and can't wait to try some of your recipes with my stories.

  3. I love this idea for a book blog! Of course my two main hobbies are reading and cooking, but still I think it's a great idea!

    You say you're a librarian in training in the Boston area. Do you go to Simmons? I'm a part-timer there myself, so I was just curious.


  4. What a fun idea for a blog! Two of my favorite things! Keep it up! It'll be a super resource for you (and everyone else!)as you begin your journey as a media specialist!

  5. Hi!
    Wow, what a response! It's so exciting to me that everyone is as excited about this idea as I am.
    Yes, I go to Simmons (go sharks!), and I'll be graduating next summer, which I'm kind of excited about (not the leaving school, which I love, but the being certified).
    If anyone has questions or suggestions, please feel free to email me or post here, and I'll get back to you.

  6. I grew up in Northern California and owned and loved all of McCloskey's books!

  7. Oh, good. This is one of those times when I'm glad to be wrong. McCloskey should be spread all over... and it will make it easier if I make Homer Price Donuts. :)

  8. How can I email you? I'm asking why you're not posting anymore. Miss your recipes. Today I read the Children's Book Almanac book of the day, where you commented on Blueberries for Sal. So I got here via your link. Let me know if you see my comment!