This week in the great state of Utah, we celebrate Pioneer Day, to commemorate the Mormon pioneer's entrance into the Salt Lake Valley. The pioneers began their dusty trek in a little town in western Illinois called Nauvoo. Located on a bend of the Mississippi River, Nauvoo has been restored to recapture the 19th century charm of a little midwestern town. It's a bit like colonial Williamsburg, except that Nauvoo's attractions are 100 percent FREE to the public. The little red brick town contains a bakery, a gunsmith, printing press, blacksmith, brick factory, all operated by volunteers in pioneer dress. My children love the Pioneer Living Center best of all, since they can participate in candle, rope and quilt making, plus see a real bustle oven for baking bread. During the summer months, Nauvoo really comes to life with an outdoor theatrical known as the Nauvoo Pageant. Professional actors plus scores of volunteers make up the cast for a musical interpretation of life in Nauvoo for the Mormon settlers. (My parents, who normally live across the street in my southwestern town, spend their entire summer in Nauvoo as pageant volunteers.) If you live anywhere near Western Illinois, hitch up your wagon and head to the Pageant, which runs until August 1st. For more information about times and location, click here. I've been to Nauvoo about 7 times in the last ten years, and I'm so smitten with the place, that I wish it were 8. If you can't make it to Nauvoo, but want a taste of the Nauvoo Pageant, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll get you a free copy of the Nauvoo Pageant CD.
Now, for today's recipe, I'm sharing a fantastic blackberry and raspberry cobbler, which seems perfectly in keeping with today's pioneer theme. Make some homemade vanilla ice cream on the side, and you'll think you've died and gone to Nauvoo.
Money Saving Tips: Use the cheapest berries you can find, even if that means using frozen. Look for a U-Pick location. If you can't find good black berries, substitute blueberries or even peaches or apricots.
Blackberry Raspberry Crisp
Estimated Cost: $6.00 for 8 servings
4 cups berries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, divided
Prehea oven to 350 degrees. Layer berries in 9 inch square baking dish. Toss berries with sugar, flour, and lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, combine oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and salt. Rub in 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle oat mixture over berries. Dot with remaining four tablespoons butter. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly. Serve with ice cream.
I leave you with a poem by my mother.
MORNING IN NAUVOO
The sun’s rays move slowly
Up, over and through the
Wooded trees and ferns
Here a shimmering ray and there
From the deepest of green
To the palest of light - shadows
Cast across the lawn as
Brightly the solar star ascends.
“Good Morning children of
The earth, it is time to begin once more.”
No, it is not for man solely
To welcome the light of day
God’s creatures all join
This joyful wake up call;
From the tiniest of birds
To the cautious fawn silently
Stepping from her secluded haven.
Or even as the golden butterflies join in the joyful throng
Across this scenic canvas. No artist can truly paint the
Grandeur of the awakening known as morn
The radiance of flecks of gold,
The sounds of nature stirring.
And clamoring for its own daily bread.
The soft chattering of the insects
Or the wind that moves amongst
Thee trees with the pleasant whisper
“It is here, your rest for the night is o’er.”
Nor can be depicted by that same skilled brush
The anticipation of this human heart as I go forth
To a discovery of my very own
This a brand new day.
Nauvoo, IllinoisComing Next:
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