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Autumn, cobbler season approaches

By Staff | Sep 2, 2016

GARY FRAHM, a poet, Episcopal priest and “a foodie ahead of his time,” shortly after his retirement in 1983. Frahm enjoyed sharing his culinary skills, preparing special treats and dinners for friends, family and fellow members of the clergy.

“I should otherwise, like it or not, have been home sweating in the kitchen canning peaches.

For, after all, the Idahos were in: all the groceries had them, great and juicy, rosygolden, loose in bins and packed in crates stacked high, the prices not too dear, considering …”

-Plains Songs, Poems, by G. J. Frahm

SIOUX CITY – The above poem by the late-Rev. Gary Frahm hints strongly of a precise poet and one who desired to use the right ingredients for the best outcome of the oven-finished, ready-for-friends-meals.

Frahm, a 20-year Episcopalian priest, was precise in the kitchen and often treated his fellow clergy members in Le Mars, Sioux City and anywhere else he was posted in Iowa to a meal or dessert.

PEACHES AND APPLES are perfect for Mom’s Cobbler, a fall favorite.

He grew up on a family farm in Nebraska, where fresh fruit and vegetables were staple foods.

Andrea Gates, a former Sioux City resident who now lives in Nashua, was among those who frequently received an invitation to be seated at Frahm’s table, which included other parishioners, neighbors and friends.

“Gary to me was a foodie ahead of the television food shows, a gourmet cook who enjoyed baking favorite cookies as well as holiday duck,” Gates said. “There was no other way to describe what he could do with food.”

“And if you happened to spot him in a grocery store, he was what to many was an especially fussy shopper.”

Gates said Frahm once returned a roast to the meat counter of a prominent Sioux City supermarket because he felt it below the store’s normal quality.

Peaches were one of Frahm’s favorite fruits in the fall, with apples running a close second. He often used both in autumn, when it came time to bake his cobblers.

His fruit cobbler recipe was handed down by his mother. His Sioux City home contained many shelves of cookbooks acquired during his 20 years in the priesthood and following his retirement due to illness in 1983.

Acquaintances said Frahm, who died in 2002, was always looking to new in-the-kitchen opportunities, adding to his cookbook collection and catering to the eating enjoyment of his frequent guests.

Beside a recipe for double gingersnaps in a well-used, kitchen-stained Wellesley Cookie Exchange cookbook, Frahm noted, “This is a fine recipe, worth making even though it calls for an amount of expensive spices. Great for dunking! A real old-fashioned gingersnap.”

Elsewhere in the same book, his endorsement for a lemon sugar cookie reads, “This is a truly superior cookie, certainly one of the very best in this book.”

Mom’s cobbler

Melt 1/4-pound margarine or butter in an 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

Mix together:

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup milk

Mix above thoroughly and pour over fruit fresh or frozen.

(If using fresh fruit, sprinkle additional sugar over fruit dependent on sweetness desired.)

Bake in 350 degree oven 45 minutes.

Let cool before cutting.

Double gingersnaps

Makes five to six dozen

1 1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 eggs

2 teaspoons ground cloves

1/2 cup molasses

2 teaspoons ground ginger

4 cups flour

Sugar for rolling

Cream butter or margarine and sugar. Add eggs and molasses and blend well.

Sift dry ingredients together. All half of dry mixture to creamed mixture and blend with mixer.

Add remaining half and blend by hand.

Chill dough for several hours. Bake whatever portion of the dough you desire and refrigerate/freeze remainder.

(Dough keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week. To freeze, wrap dough well in plastic or foil.)

To bake, pull off pieces of dough to make balls the size of a walnut.

Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 150 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Balls will fatten out and tops will be crackled.

(Recipe may be halved or doubled)

Lemon sugar cookies

Makes more than four dozen.

2 3/4 cups flour

2 eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup butter

1 cup quick oats

2 cups sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl.

Beat in lemon rind and juice. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in oats.

Chill dough thoroughly (at least two hours).

Roll level tablespoon of dough into balls and place on greased cookie sheet, allowing room for cookies to spread.

Using a flat-bottom glass or custard cup that has been dipped in sugar, flatten each ball to 1/4 inch. (Dip glass in sugar each time.)

Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned around the edges (about 8 to 10 minutes.)

Cool for one minute and remove carefully from cookie sheets.

Cool on racks.

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