In France, for some reason I cannot fathom, I’ve had the opportunity to sit through more than one dinner in which the bulk of the conversation was a debate about the various differences between a “crisp,” a cobbler and a “crumble.” Crumble pronounced CROOMBOOL. The French take this differentiation very seriously was my takeaway. This was not the most scintillating meal conversation I’d ever had but at least I was able to keep up with the language thing. The vocab wasn’t beyond me in the way a conversation about, say, the effects of monetary policies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific rim might be. In my memory of these meals, we were served croombools which had somehow gained remarkable popularity in France.
Last week I made a crisp not a crumble. Willie’s Crisp (recipe here) to be precise. From a recipe I got from Kathy Sherwood like 30 years ago (long before this article in Saveur was printed). The topping, I imagine the “crisp” part of it, wasn’t exactly crisp. It was more graham crackerish. Only softer. It was good, though, and I served it with coconut ice cream.