Monday, May 20, 2024

Mill Creek Baptism


I visited Caren and Jake over the weekend and as I usually do when visiting, went to church with them on Sunday. They use old-fashioned hymnals and I like that. I am confident my kids started to recognize repeating patterns as their eyes followed my finger keeping  track of the words we sang in church when they were small. One of the songs we sang was ‘Revive Thy Work’ and with the crazy economic attitudes hung over from the covid defugalty I said a fervent prayer for the working folk of our nation.

It just so happened that this was the Sunday for baptizing in Mill Creek with a potluck to follow. I didn’t know ahead of time, so we stopped by the store and picked up some ready-made cookies. The package held less food than I prefer when going to a potluck (but I had a good time anyway). I usually take three cups by volume of food per person because I figure two cups is a meal and I want to contribute at least half a plate for the next guy or gal who might not be able to bring anything. We all gathered at the creek, a little different from the mighty river my home church baptizes in. The banks on either side of the creek bed were steep and high, evidence that come high water the creek becomes a river. I laid my offerings for the potluck on the long table covered in white plastic then turned my attention to the pastor who asked an elder to read words from the Good Book (King James Bible). After the reading, a bright yellow rope was attached to a thick trunked tree and tossed down the embankment so pastor and those getting baptized could get to the water and they got busy getting wet to make an outward profession of their inward faith.

Then someone said a blessing and we got in line to pile our plates full of fried chicken and mostly home cooked side dishes. Caren took one bite of an unassuming looking desert and started to rave. “I want to find the old woman who made this and ask for the recipe. It’s delicious.” “Old woman?” I asked. “No young woman cooks like this.” Caren told me in a tone that suggested I should know that then she gave me a nibble and I had to agree. It was delicious!

So, I asked the pastor who made it… He was no help, but his wife was. She sent me to Dori who told me, “It’s not really a recipe. I just threw it together like a cobbler. Grandpa picked the black berries,” she nodded towards an elderly gentleman in a cowboy hat and a handsome western shirt. I nodded and smiled at him; he grinned back. “I mixed in some sugar and cinnamon; sprinkled a dusting of cornstarch over the berries and topped it with a Betty Crocker cake mix and a cube of butter. You know, mix the butter in with the cake mix really well.” She waited for comprehension to shine in my eyes. I nodded; she saw the comprehension only old women who’ve ruined many a desert share; she continued. “Sometimes I mix in some oatmeal if it needs it. But I don’t think it needed it this time.” I knew exactly what she meant. “375?” I asked.

“Yep,” she responded, “for a good 45 minutes. Want bubbling and a crispy crust.” She told me. I grinned and thanked her. Recipe is as follows:

Dori’s Blackberry Cobbler

(From the kitchen of Dori Bennett)

3 cups of blackberries picked by Grandpa

1 to 1½ cups sugar

Pinch to 1 teaspoons cinnamon

A ‘dusting’ (1-3 Tablespoons) of cornstarch sprinkled over the blackberries.


1 box of Betty Crocker cake mix (your choice)

1 to 1½ cubes of butter (1 cube=1/4 lb.)

½ to 1 cup instant oatmeal cereal (optional)

Mix blackberries, sugar, and cinnamon together in a 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle a dusting of cornstarch over the top of the berries. Set it aside. In a large bowl, mix cake mix and cube of butter (not melted) together. If the cake mix-butter mixture feels too oily, as if once the butter melts over the blackberries there will be no substance left behind, add instant oatmeal cereal until you are satisfied the solids will make a crust for the cobbler. Sprinkle topping over the blackberries and bake at 375℉ for 45 to 55 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is crispy and browned.

Note: My late husband would have called this a ‘crisp’ but this is Dori’s recipe not his.

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes.

Michelle Priddy:



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