BARBARA MCCLELLAN

Barbara McClellan

People, places and things. Are there some of these that you will never forget? We each have memories of all three that will be with us for as long as we are alive, I think. I had a professor at Baylor University who said something that made a deep impression: He said that the mind was not a remembering organ, but a filtering and forgetting mechanism. That is, this remarkable thing called a brain keeps what is necessary or the things that we found great pleasure or sorrow in which are stored deeply and can or will be triggered by a sight, sound, or most of all, a smell.

I have said so many times that recipes can keep memories of people in our lives forever. The first recipe I am resharing with you might be the No. 1 recipe (along with my mother’s Strawberry Pie) that I hear most about from friends and family. If this is your first “Peach Season” in East Texas, you have a great treat in store. I know that peaches are grown in many parts of Texas (and the world), but I will put our East Texas peaches up against any, anywhere, for beauty and taste. I cannot resist telling you about this recipe. I was married to my first husband, the father of my children in 1959. We received two cookbooks (The Betty Crocker 1957 version, and the red and white checkered “Better Homes and Gardens” books). A year or so after we were married, one of the savings and loan companies had a promotion. If one made a deposit of $100 in a savings account, a gift of the McCall’s cookbook was given. I have no idea how we got an extra hundred dollars, but that book, the other two wedding gift cookbooks and the books I wrote are still the cookbooks I use the most. If you can get your hands on some fresh East Texas peaches, make this peach dessert that I gleaned from that old McCall’s cookbook.

Fresh Peach CrispIngredients

8 fresh peaches (or more depending on size)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar (I now use brown sugar instead of granulated)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 stick butter, melted

Steps

Peel and slice peaches into a 9-by-9-inch baking dish or pan. Mix dry ingredients and pour butter over them. Stir and crumble this mixture over peaches. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until topping is golden and peaches are tender. Makes 6-8 servings. You may top with ice cream, but we think it is fine, as is. I advise doubling it. When you smell and taste it you will see why. The next is a “blast from the past” recipe also. My sister, Virginia Stanley, was one of the finest cooks in East Texas and was also very creative. For various parties for her children, she made Beefburgers, also known as Sloppy Joes. Her recipe is a true family favorite, and instead of grilling burgers and hot dogs this year, we are having these for my favorite holiday — the Fourth of July.

This mixture can be made several days ahead and refrigerated or frozen.

BeefburgersIngredients

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 can (10 ounces) tomato soup

Steps

Sauté ground beef until no longer pink. Add vegetables and cook until slightly tender. Add seasonings and soup. Simmer over low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns. Makes 4-6 burgers.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.