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Cornelius Cooks

Irene Slaughter shares recipe for a strawberry-rhubarb crisp


Irene Slaughter, who lives in Bailey’s Glen, comes from a family of seven children.

“We were all expected to take our turns in the kitchen when we were old enough. Our kitchen was always a gathering place for family and friends, sitting around the table enjoying milk or coffee and a sweet,” she says.

Her mother was a good cook and loved to bake. “That’s where I developed my love of cooking,” she says.

She also belonged to the 4-H club which was a popular group to belong to and a great place to learn basic cooking and sewing. Her white cake won top honors at the LaPorte County Fair back in Indiana.

She grew up at a time when you always finished a meal with dessert.

Saturday mornings were spent baking for the weekend, which consisted of making sweet rolls or coffee cakes for Sunday breakfast and desserts for both Saturday and Sunday dinners.

“Then we made big batches of cookies for snacking and to start off the next week.  As you can imagine, a family of nine could plow through desserts pretty quickly,” she says.

Her family had a farm so there was always lots of fresh vegetables to can or freeze in the summer.

Of course, owning a small neighborhood grocery store—and before that, a dairy farm—was handy for such a large family. “Our life revolved around food,” Irene says.

She and husband George have three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “My husband and I have been married for 54 years, were high school sweethearts and still are,” she says.

The recipe Irene chose is a favorite because it combines two things the Slaughters love: Strawberries and rhubarb. Rhubarb is more of a Northern crop but you can find it in most produce sections.

Why do you like this dish: “We like this crisp because it is a sweet-tart combination and different from the usual dessert.  It has also become a favorite of some of my friends here at Bailey’s Glen, who always want to make sure they know when I bring it to a potluck dinner.”

Strawberry-rhubarb crisp


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups diced rhubarb
  • 5 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (I use regular, not minute oats)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Mix 1 ½ cups flour, brown sugar, butter and oats until crumbly. Sprinkle the crumbs on top of the fruit mixture.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned.