In all of my years I have never met a cobbler I did not like. For a man of my age I do believe I have more than the average1 amount of cobbling demands but that is beside the point. This past weekend I needed the sole on a pair of oxfords repaired so I ambled down avenue A to find a cobbler that had Sunday hours2. I stopped in at AK Shoe Repair on East 9th where I was happily welcomed. In all of my years every cobbler I have met has fit this description:
• Under 5 foot 6 inches
• Most likely under 5 foot 2 inches with some sort of hunch from decades of cobbling
• Over 75 years old
• Owns store that has not changed in 50 years
• Works in a dimly lit space with shoe laces and cedar shoe tress covering every last inch of the wall
• Speaks a mumbled version of English where all the consonants seem to blend together
• Oh so nice and definitely someone's grandpa
• Charges $10 dollars for any and all type of work plus $2 for shoe shine
• Extremely proud of work and can’t wait to tell you.
Continually every cobbler I have met has always been so excited to show me the work he has done, whether it is replacing a heel seamlessly, fixing the sole of the shoe, or replacing a heel seamlessly. I’m always waved in to duck down and see the meticulous detail that has been a result of decades of experience and effort. All for which I am then charged ten dollars plus an additional two for the shine.
This is a recipe for blueberry cobbler3 from Thomas Keller’s book Ad-Hoc at Home.
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
8 cups blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For topping, in medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using hand mixer, mix on low speed, then beat on medium until mixture is light and creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk in 2 batches. Scrape down sides; mix again to ensure all ingredients are combined.
For filling, in medium bowl, toss blueberries with sugar, flour and zest. Spread in 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spoon mounds of batter over berries, leaving space between mounds. (Makes about 12 mounds.)
For cinnamon sugar, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over batter. Bake in preheated 350F oven 40 minutes or until juices are bubbling and topping is golden and cooked through.
Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. (Refrigerate leftovers up to 2 days.)
Makes 6 servings.
1 plus two standard deviations
2 cobbler day of rest