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The peace potential of cobblers and crisps

Since relocating our recycling bin system a few weeks ago, my husband and I have been contemplating the potential of the space it formerly occupied. It’s a significant amount of square footage and we’re both eyeing it with gleeful anticipation as to how it could relieve some of our household bottlenecks. To give both concerned parties fair consideration, we agreed to each formulate a list then compare notes.

Here’s how that meeting began:

Me: Since my issues center around a lack of convenient storage for heavy counter-top kitchen appliances, oversized pots and bowls, and odd-shaped casseroles, I’m visualizing a lovely set of shelves.

Steve: What does any of that have to do with tools?

Desserts can be polarizing, too. He likes his chocolate-chip cookies to be dark and crunchy. I prefer a soft and chewy approach. He leans toward vanilla ice cream with a fine-tuned chocolate sauce, whereas I’m a Cherry Garcia kind of girl.

But we’re completely aligned on the topic of cobblers and crisps: we love ‘em. And right now, while there’s still fruit galore tumbling in from nearby fields and orchards, it’s a no-brainer way to inject some fruity sweetness into our life.

The best thing about fruit cobblers and crisps is that they're so forgiving. The flour and shortening don't have to be in perfect harmony, and if you use too much fruit, an extra scoop of ice cream will remedy the situation. So when fiddling with the recipes on this page, don't be afraid to experiment.

You can glamorize your cobblers and crisps with different toppings. Match the ice cream or frozen yogurt with the flavor of the fresh fruit, or use the topping as an accent: butterscotch on apple, vanilla or lemon custard on berries.

It's easy to forget these simple, classic desserts, but summer’s the best time to reacquaint yourself with the concept. After all, using fresh, seasonal fruits is both classic and stylish. Which proves, once again, that there's no time limit on good taste — or, more to the point, what tastes good. And it’s typically something the entire family can get behind. Even when they can’t agree on where to stash the Shop-Vac.

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a cookbook author and columnist in Corvallis. Reach her at janrd@proaxis.com.

Peach crisp