Chef Don Sexauer's recent blog with its recipe for peach and blueberry cobbler sent me looking in my cluttered recipe box for a dessert I remember from my childhood. Blueberry pudding cake with its sponge cake texture was something my mother often baked during the summer. I don't know why she didn't call this dessert huckleberry pudding cake, as she used the wild huckleberries from the woods surrounding our house as often as she did the blueberries that grew on my dad's fruit trees.
My siblings and I, of course, were the berry pickers. In those lazy, hot summer days of long ago, we would each get a plastic milk jug, cut off the top half, punch holes in two sides, and tie a string through these holes. We would loop the string around our necks, wearing the jug in front. Both hands were then free to pick our berries, and we could conveniently drop our produce in our jug/bucket.
Sometimes, we picked blueberries, and sometimes we picked huckleberries, depending on what was ripe and abundant. A huckleberry is really just a wild blueberry (or that's what I've always thought), and my siblings and I had no trouble selling extra berries of either type for 50 cents a pint at the stockyard where my father worked.
In the 1960s, $4 or $5 from berry picking was good money for a preteen. After all, it cost only 80 cents to go to the movies, and a quarter could get a girl a Pepsi and a bag of chips at the local country store.
But back to finding that recipe. I'll try Chef Don's peach and blueberry cobbler recipe, but now that I've thought about it, I'm determined to make blueberry (huckleberry) pudding cake, too. I can always call Mama out in Edgecombe County if my recipe has vanished in my jumbled cooking file. I'll bet she knows it by heart.