Saturday, November 21, 2009
LIFE AS APPLESAUCE
Last Wednesday was a lovely fall day here in the Confederate States of America. The sun was shining in that autumnal, muted way, the air held a trace of warmth in it, and it was simply, as always, a good day to be alive. A die-hard holiday purist, I refuse to ditch the harvest theme till after Thanksgiving. These two pumpkins remind me of my friend JoAnn and I. In these last years, we have become quite the fundamentalists when it comes to certain verses of Scripture. Particularly the admonition to "delight thyself in fatness". Back when it was written, fatness would be a sign of blessedness, since there was no such thing as food security, pickings were slim, and most folks would be pretty lean.
Well, we have taken that verse to heart, and run with it, almost to the point of heresy. Heresy is when you take a biblical truth and emphasize it to the neglect of other, balancing points.
When we go shopping for clothes, we look for size Fat and size Fatter. We now go by those nicknames (but we are the only ones allowed to use them on ourselves, mind you). Fat and Fatter. That is why those pumpkins out there on the bench glorifying God in their plump, cheery way remind me of JoAnn and me.
Plump, cheery, and usually hanging out together. That's me on the left.
Big Bob was outside mowing the lawn while simultaneously sucking up leaves with the ol' mulching mower. I use all that for compost - ain't life great? Big Bob was originally called "Big" because our son Bobby Jr., was necessarily Little Bob. But times have changed and Big Bob, apparently also a fundamentalist, has grown into his name. Let's just follow him around a bit and watch him work.
Nice job. Good man.
Meanwhile, inside the house, I was trying to make the best of things. I pride myself in always trying to look on the bright side and making the best of things, whether it concerns people who still haven't learned their lesson, or being content with whatever circumstances I'm in, or aging fruit.
Stop thinking about those pumpkins; I'm moving on to apples and pears here.
So yeah, I decided that I would like to take the last of the New York apples and a couple of past-their-prime pears and make some sauce out of them. Thanks to my young friend, Madelyn (one of those nice young people who often have a lot of time on their hands), our day was documented by her picture-taking talent. Great job, Maddie, much thanks.
Here we go.
I really do not know what I am doing here. Looks like I am adjusting my halo. The crucifix in the kitchen typifies my favorite decorating style: 1950's Convent.
So yes, indeed, the following pics demonstrate me chopping apples and the unhappy pears, followed by pics of other ingredients, and me putting it all together.
I really want to stop and talk about this photo, which to me says tons about real life. If you look past my "not ready for tv commercial hands" chopping the apples, you will notice an iron which was used recently to iron starched doilies (they are lovely things), but the iron should have been put away by now. Then you see the Folgers coffee can, which unbeknownst to you, holds vegetable scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds soon to meet their friends, the leaves and grass clippings, in ye olde compost pile. Now look into the background and you will see why friend Madelyn had time to take pics. Her friend, Michael was engrossed in something on the Internet, probably that Youtube video of the legendary Mexican devil-dog, the Chucacabra, haunting the Sangre de Cristo mountains or some such place.
Michael needs to get a job.
Notice that there is more than one computer in the family room, and a whole lot of wires. My oldest son is home from the Air Force, and these belong to him. It seems little Bob has a BIG fascination with computers and wires. Thanks for that, Bobby. It's just those little touches like that, that make me want to.....
Since the family room has been altered somewhat, I decided to give in to the chaos and throw a poster on the wall which is a copy of a painting I saw in Ireland. I loved it, so I bought the poster online at Allposters.com. It was a much LARGER poster than I thought it would be. But anyway, there it is, in all its romantic, melancholy loveliness.
After I bought it and put it up, I discovered that the story it depicts is much sadder than I had planned on, so I am in the process of inventing a new story for it in my mind.
Back to the applesauce. I do not really measure anything out when I make stuff like this. I added a little water, sugar, about a tablespoon of butter, a few drops of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, and of course cinnamon.
Then I cooked it all down, stirring occasionally.
Here is a nice photo of the apples and a pot of wonderful chicken soup I was cooking.
And here, after I ran it through the food processor, is the finished product:
So this was a very nice day. And this is me, looking rather smug when I'm in my own element. And behind me on the fridge, are decorations that my children made when they were small. And the reason I do all this is not to necessarily brag to you about my life or the way I operate. I just want to explain WHY I cook and bake and wear aprons, and have cheery colors and sweet things around me and pretty pictures, and my children's artwork from long ago. And why I give young people a chance to do something they love while keeping them out of trouble. I am trying to make lovely applesauce out of this life. I am taking what I have and making the most (well, not always, but often) of everything and every day and every minute I have on this earth. I want my family and those who spend time in my home to feel safe and happy and to know that God loves them. And to know that if things aren't so good sometimes, we can simply get busy and do something. And just like for those poor pears, life is full of second chances and we always have the opportunity to change our minds and reinvent ourselves if we don't like how our lives are going.
I hope you enjoyed your visit with us. So have a nice day, and now we must get ready for the mother of all cooking days, Thanksgiving.
To be continued, one hopes.
P.S. I have friends who read this blog but do not leave comments here, because they say they do not see how to do it. Simply click on the word "comments" you see below the post, and well, comment. Thank you!