our spartan kitchen: inside-out pear crumble

Okay, I just can’t take it anymore. I have been denying myself the pleasure of truly blogging, making myself wait until I finish those “Cusco: A Study in Food” posts, since I may never get them done otherwise. But, I quit! Putting off something I like in an attempt to force myself to do something I do not has never worked. I once brought my math homework along on a 28-hour car trip (to Grandma M.’s house and back) and left whatever enjoyable book I was then reading at home so that I would do my math. I stared out the window all 28 hours and finished not a single problem. See? I am hopeless. So, someday you may see the rest of my tragically abandoned food series from Peru, but I can nearly guarantee that if you do, it will be brief and unsatisfactory. Sorry.

I imagine that if you were expecting anything from my next few blog posts, it was food, since I did lead you to believe I would be finishing that food series shortly. Well, even though I am not posting on the series, I do have food for you.

I confessed once that I like to cook. Three months in Peru did not dampen that affection. Lately, I have been attempting to invent recipes more frequently than I cook other people’s. Generally, they turn out rather mediocre. Good, but not great. I care not a whit, though; I thoroughly enjoy experimenting! Pity my family.

Today I am going to play Pioneer Woman, or any other food blogger for that matter, and post a recipe with step-by-step instructions and pictures to illustrate. Wheee!


Inside-Out Pear Crumble


  • 3  ripe pears
  • ¼ cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • a dash ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Wash the pears and remove any bad spots if necessary.

Oh look! Orange zest! Why does it look so pale and pathetic? No one knows.

Please ignore the fact that I had not yet added the zest or oats, nor had I cut the butter into chunks.

Combine all of the crumble ingredients except for the butter in a small bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks. Cut the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until it is crumbly and free of large chunks of butter.

Cut the tops off of the pears where the neck of the pear begins to widen out into the body. Using a melon baller or very small spoon, scoop out the middle of the larger part of the pear to remove the seeds and surrounding toughness, leaving the good flesh. Be careful not to puncture the bottom of the pear. Scoop out a little bit of the inside of the top of the pear, also.

Stuff the pears with the crumble filling and replace their tops.

Place the pears in a greased bread pan or casserole dish, leaning them against the sides so they do not fall over.

Bake the pears for 30 minutes in the 350º oven. Around minute 15 you can take the pears out of the oven and turn them so that the sides that were facing the inside of the pan face the walls, so that they will brown evenly.

Eat them while they’re still warm! I’m sure they wouldn’t be bad with whipped cream. We just don’t keep that lying around in our house, unfortunately for our taste buds.


That’s the recipe, people. And some of my blatantly obvious attempts at styling. Ha! It really is quite fun, though.

Oh! I forgot to mention the reason for the first half of this post’s title, “Our Spartan Kitchen.” The other day Hannah and I were discussing the difference between our families and our houses and, more specifically, our kitchens. My mother values function over form, without a doubt. First it must work and work well, then it must match and match everything (think grey, black, or white). And she dislikes having appliances or tools with overlapping functions. Why have two appliances that do the same thing when you can reduce clutter by having one that does both? Therefore, our kitchen is rather spartan. You will not find seasonal, decorative dishes or flower-patterned mixers or (until a few months ago when I finally convinced her we really needed one) zesters. Now, mind you, I am certainly not complaining about our kitchen. Nope. Not in the least. I like it. Mother and I think very similarly, as is becoming more and more apparent to me with every passing day. But, back to the kitchen: compared to other – perhaps more normal? – kitchens that might actually contain heavily patterned dishes, colorful cloth napkins, ramekins, or delicate glasses, ours is spartan. Hence the name, “Our Spartan Kitchen.” Like I said, I like it that way. Though, I did admittedly just purchase some ramekins… and asked for a silicone-coated whisk for Christmas. ahem.



  1. your pear recipe sounds delicious, grandpa and I might have to try that for dessert since this is the season for pears. So very timely. I also never thought of your mom’s kitchen as spartan since you and she seem to produce very tasty, nutritious and attractive meals there. I guess using the definition of “flower patterned redundant” items, you are most certainly correct. Good to read more of your blogs after a brief hiatus upon returning from Peru. Love, Grandma L.

  2. Your Spartan Mother and I are on coach, planning our year, and we thoroughly enjoyed your assessment of the kitchen. You adoring spartan parental units.

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