I come into August HOT! With a bunch of great things happening in July, this month seems like a high. Not because of anything special lined up but because now I have the breathing room to really look back and savour the memories that whizzed passed. This is how I experience achievements in general. They don’t seem to phase me when I am experiencing them but as they become farther away in the rear view mirror, I seem to realise that those things have happened. While I am still reeling from the pop up that I got to host in Jaipur literally just weeks ago but this post is all about Besan!
We have never been a pet family. Before Besan, we once had goldfish named Franklin and Bear (characters from a storybook) who passed away quicker than all the time it took us to come up with the names. After many versions of the duo, we decided to let go of the aquarium and all the accruements that came with it. Whenever dad and I floated the idea of a dog, my mom would just say, “Guys, I don’t need a dog, I have the both of you.” That comment is enough to ward off any pet for a well over 22 years. Well, it was that and the fact that mom claimed that she was “allergic.” We let it go for a long time, to a point that we didn’t even feel the need to ask for a pet. Then last year, out of the blue mom sends us a picture of a Rottweiler on our group chat saying that she wants to get one. Long story short, we got Besan about 45 days later!
I gave him the name Besan because of three reasons: I wanted a name that was in Hindi, gender-neutral, and something whimsical because of the bad rap that Rotties have as ferocious “one-man” dogs. The first few months were the cutest. He was the tiniest little thing who’s paws were bigger than his face. Mom (an OCD clean freak who doesn’t allow home slippers in her room) made his new home in her room. It’s clear to say that that perspective has changed dramatically now— with bite marks on the wood, toys all over, and the smell of wet dog in the monsoons. But hey! It was worse— at least now you don’t have to walk looking at the floor to make sure you don’t step into pee. Unlike the “guard dog” persona that Rottweilers have, Besan has very little of that. He can be aggressive and jumpy with no idea of how large he really is but he was scared (mom likes to call it “cautious”) of everything. He hated going into the dark, he only barked at lemons, couldn’t figure out how to jump off the bed (or get on tbh), and his own toys.
Today Besan is 45 kilos (90 pounds) with insanely strong hind legs, perfect for his human-sized body weight to be on top of you while his fresh set of hormones kick in resulting in the kind of gyrating that new want to experience on the side of your arm with someone that has more body hair than you. The hormones aren’t all annoying; they have helped him be super protective about the people he loves which means a lot of barking at friends who come rarely to your house or anyone that comes to service the house. Interestingly enough, he does understand family structures and age. He knows dad is the oldest, mom is younger but equal in the alpha standing, and I am the youngest. So, when dad hugs me or playfully annoys me play-punching me, Besan covers me and is ready attack him— even though he absolutely loves dad and in fact, the first time he did it, he rushed back to his bed and vomited from the anxiety that went through. I love this dog so much and even though he’s changed so much (he even knows commands in both Hindi and English), he’s still so stupid.
Clearly, we needed to do something special for the best thing that has happened to us in a while so I decided to make a super easy peach cobbler. A cobbler is essentially a super fatty batter with fruit in a sheet pan. The batter is unlike cake batter which needs to be voluminous. Here we actually spread the batter making the inside gooey and filled with fruit and the top crispy! I really do hope you try this recipe. Besan gobbled this in a single breath, clearly a recipe that you NEED to make!
1 kilogram ripe peaches
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 ½cups granulated sugar
1cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon table salt
½ cup milk
For the Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup of whipping cream, chilled
2 tablespoons of icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
Heat oven to 175 C (350 F). Peel, pit and slice the peaches. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sliced peaches and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft and syrupy.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar with the remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk until combined.
3. Add 8 tablespoons of butter to a 9X13-inch baking pan and place it in the oven. When the butter is melted, reserve 1/3 cup of the batter and set aside. Add the rest of the batter to the pan, using a spatula to spread it out as much as you can. It will not fully cover the bottom of the pan. This is totally fine!
4. Spoon the peach mixture evenly over the top of the batter. Using a clean spoon, dollop small bits of the reserved batter over the peaches, and spread around a bit with the back of the spoon. (It will not fully cover the peaches).
5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm with a vanilla whipped cream (Use a handmixer to whip the cream, sitting in an ice bath, slowly adding the sugar and vanilla until you achieve soft peaks).