My mother had six sisters (and even more brothers) and they were all excellent cooks. Three of those sisters lived in Pittsylvania County, Virginia (think Smith Mountain Lake). My own sisters and I were always happy to hear "we're going down in the country tomorrow". It meant we'd have good food and even better entertainment. They were witty these three aunts. With a great sense of timing, they would keep us laughing throughout those visits.
Aunt Emma would have a delicious looking cake under a glass dome when we arrived. "I've just baked this and it has to sit three days before cutting" she'd say. She always relented, however, and great slabs of the cake would end up on dessert plates for us.
Aunt Ruth made the best fresh ham and her vegetables were plentiful and so good. She said that corn should not be picked until the water to cook it in was boiling!! I once told my mother that I felt sorry for Aunt Ruth because she had to grow her own vegetables while we went to the supermarket and purchased ours already canned and/or frozen. Mother got me straightened out right away on that matter!
Aunt Lizzie set a "groaning board" of a table with at least two meat dishes and many bowls of perfectly prepared vegetables. Dessert would consist of a fruit pie as well as chocolate or lemon meringue pie, a cake and a cobbler. My favorite of her cobblers was rhubarb. When my neighbor asked if I'd like some of that tasty stalk, I could hardly wait to pull out Aunt Lizzie's recipe. It is one of the simplest and, in my opinion, the best.
Rhubarb Cobbler from Aunt Lizzie
4 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups of diced rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
350 degree oven
1. Place butter into an 8-inch round or square ovenproof dish and place in the oven until melted. Remove.
2. Stir the 1/4 cup of sugar into the rhubarb and set aside.
3. Whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and whisk until batter is smooth. Pour the batter into hot butter. Do not stir. Sprinkle the rhubarb evenly over the batter and pour any collected juice over the rhubarb. Again, do not stir.
4. Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the batter is browned, about 50 minutes.
5. Serve as is or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.