Barbara McClellan

Thank you, thank you for all the nice notes, emails, messages, calls and “in person” comments about our 53 years of friendship.

You know I think of each of you as a friend. Now, since we are all friends, I feel the need to confess something that I wrote in a column about tips and hints for success in cooking. The very first advice I gave you was to read the recipe you are preparing thoroughly before beginning. Check to see if you have the ingredients and the right size pan or container. Even more importantly, read the directions for preparing the dish (not just the ingredients).

This is where the absurdity on my part comes in. In fact, I would not have even told you about it if it were not so funny that I broke every single rule about cooking a new recipe. I will admit, I feel free to “spread my wings” on recipes that I have tried or that I am setting out to create. But on a new recipe I usually follow the recipe exactly.

The two that I tried recently were from the computer and I will admit that I have tried some that were not easy to interpret and were not clearly stated. But this time, the blame strictly goes to me. I did not have or could not find the correct size pan. Secondly, I just assumed the steps would be the same as similar recipes I have made. They were not. In fact, one (made in the wrong size pan) was less than wonderful but was an easy dessert and it was lemon — my favorite of all flavors.

Well, it was for a church potluck supper. Another bit of advice: Never make a recipe for the first time that you are taking to an event. If mine had been the only dessert there, it might have been totally eaten. I experienced, though, one of the most embarrassing things a cook can face — I took home at least half of the food I brought. We all know that a dish or pan needs to go out the door totally empty.

The other recipe I tried earlier in the week looked so pathetic. It was ugly, but it did taste good. I was delighted to have friends who were kind enough to take part of this disaster cobbler, not rejecting it at the door and actually even saying how good it was. It really was worth trying again and reading thoroughly before having it look like a small truck had run over it.

I am sharing a version of this recipe with you today, which I put together with more exact amounts and specific directions than the computer version had. It is, I think, one of the easiest and quickest desserts I have made in a long time. I will warn you that it is a bit expensive because of the cost of the frozen berries.

Three Berry Cobbler


6 cups frozen berries or cherries

I used the following

2 cups strawberries

2 cups blueberries

2 cups red cherries

1 package (17.5 ounces) sugar cookie mix

1 can 7-up or Sprite


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray, grease or butter a 9-by-13-inch pan. Place berries in order given, ending with cherries.

Sprinkle the dry mix over the fruit, breaking up any lumps. Slowly pour the soda over the mix.

Do not stir after pouring on the soda (you will be tempted).

Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown. It might be even better with a scoop of ice cream or whipping cream on it.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her at or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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