Posts Tagged ‘apple tart’

What Are You Doing

November 5, 2017

For self-care?

My group supervisor asked me after I checked in around a client that I have to do a lot of outside resourcing for.

I blurted out, “baking!”

And it’s true.

Last night I made cookies for a dearest ones anniversary.

It was the first time that I have made cookies in my little home here by the sea.

You could say this person is extraordinarily important to me.

So.

Important.

And I knew that I wanted to make cookies for them.

Peanut butter chocolate chip.

Oversized.

Soft and warm.

Full of love.

I was fluffing the butter and creaming the sugar and adding all the super extraordinary rich smelling ingredients together in the bowl and reflecting upon how much I love this person.

I was thinking of Isabella Allende’s book “Like Water For Chocolate,” and how the main character cooks her emotions into her meals.

How the other characters in the book respond to the emotions in the book, bursting into flames with love and passion and feeling.

Cooking and baking for me are a kind of meditation and they are soothing and full of self-care.

Granted.

I didn’t eat any of the cookies.

I didn’t taste them.

I don’t eat sugar or flour so to make them was sort of a big deal.

It was the first time I had sugar in my pantry in four years.

I found it was fine.

I wasn’t tempted, I wasn’t at all.

Not even to lick my fingers.

And I sense that was the lynch pin for me, that I didn’t have a motive for the cookies except to show this person how much I love them.

Not.

Ooh.

“I’m being secret and baking cookies in my house and all the goodies are going to get eaten.”

There was purpose there and in the purpose, such pleasure.

In fact.

I forgot how much I enjoy baking.

I have been baking a lot at work too, a pear tart, an apple tart, banana bread, plus I make a ton of food, pastas mainly, for the family that I would never touch.

“You’re the best cooker ever!” And, “these are better than granny’s,” are compliments I have gotten from my charges.

I have to take their word for it.

I almost never taste the food I make for them.

But.

I can smell it and sense what works with what and I think about the woman who owns and runs Tartine Manufacturing and how she is known to make the most extraordinary bread.

And.

Oh, the Universe is sly and funny.

She doesn’t ever eat any of it.

She’s gluten intolerant.

But like, me, I presume, there is a great satisfaction in the baking.

I know I felt super happy baking my cookies last night.

Really good and sweet and loving and I planned it so the cookies would be warm when I handed them over.

I love little details like that.

I like giving.

I am remembering when I used to make sugar cookies at Christmas time and bring them into work.

Or candy.

I made a lot of Christmas candy, back in Wisconsin mainly, after I moved to San Francisco I still did a bit of baking but not the candy making and after a few years, 2009, I stopped baking, when I began to get abstinent around my food.

I occasionally made something for someone.

A pie here or there.

But it’s really been years since I have had all the ingredients in my home to bake.

Heck.

I had to buy a cookie sheet last week.

I didn’t mind though.

I had such a good time doing the baking.

And.

I also did a lot of cooking over the last two days.

I roasted a chicken too, yesterday.

I figured I would be using the oven and if I could get some food prep out-of-the-way it would be super helpful as next weekend I’m in classes and I like to have my meals made up before the weekend of class.

I just grab something out of the freeze and a piece of fruit and I’m set.

And today.

Well.

I was up late last night and decided I was going to let myself just sleep today.

Skip yoga, coddle myself, be sweet to myself and just sleep.

Of course.

I forgot I had set an alarm to go off so that I could go to yoga.

Haha.

Can’t sleep in even if I wanted to.

And it was good, I needed to connect with the outside world right away.

Although, I didn’t get out of bed to do so, just lay in bed talking on the phone for an hour.

Slight aside.

Talking on the phone is magic.

I am happy that I have people in my life that still like to talk.

There was luxuriating in the being in bed and not making myself go to yoga, don’t worry, I’ll be going tomorrow, there’s only so much “laziness” I can condone in myself, and being gentle and soft and slow and letting the morning have its way with me.

And it was extraordinary, I didn’t feel rushed and yet I did get all sorts of things done.

I wrote a lot this morning, always helps.

I got a hold of the dealership where I am interested in getting a car from and started some preliminary work, submitted an application and talked to the manager of the sales department and got some good insight.

I wrote my mom’s birthday card and got that in the post.

And.

I made chicken soup with spicy Andouille sausage.

Yup.

All before I left for my internship.

So when my group supervisor asked what I was doing for self-care, baking popped right out of my mouth and was followed up by, “making soup.”

Comfort.

And.

Love.

The best kind of self-care.

Showing up for myself.

And showing others how much they mean to me.

So much gratitude for my life.

So much love.

So, so, so much.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

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You Are A Magician!

October 10, 2017

I got the sweetest text tonight as I was wrapping up at my internship.

My boss had sent me a message extolling my baking prowess.

I made the family an apple tart tonight.

It was going to be a pie, but they only had tart baking dishes so I changed up what I was doing and made a butter pastry, yes, by hand, it’s not that hard, and did my version of apple pie filling.

The nice thing about it too.

All the apples came from their tree in the front of their house.

It reminded me of when I learned how to make apple pies.

I was twelve, we had just moved from Madison, Wisconsin, to Windsor, Wisconsin.

I went from being in an urban multi-cultural neighborhood and school to rural white country in a blink of an eye.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, the racial stuff, the class system and structure, I got lumped into the “farm kids” group even though we didn’t live on a farm.

And yes, I have drank milk straight from the pail underneath a cow’s udder, I remember very distinctly that it was warm, but I was no farm girl.

I can pass for one though.

I currently pass for very urban, the tattoos do that and my funky style of dressing, which has been evolving for years, but it is still quite urban.

However.

I can pass for a country girl too, not so much a farm girl, but I know a lot about living in the country and the seasons, canning and jarring, making preserves, putting up food for the winter.

We had a pantry in the cellar.

And it was a cellar.

Oh, sure, we had a basement, but we also had a cellar too, an unfinished one with a dirt floor, which was spooky as fuck and after one winter of storing stuff there I declined to ever go near it again.

Some places are just too goddamn creepy and I had a penchant for reading Stephen King in highschool, which did nothing to help matters.

Anyway.

This country girl can also jam and she can bake.

My mom taught me.

We had an apple orchard on the property–4 Red Delicious Trees, 1 Golden Delicious, and 7 Cortland trees.

I don’t know that there are any Cortland apples in California, there might be, but I don’t recall seeing them in the stores.

I have dreamed once or twice about having my own apple orchard.

A modest one.

Maybe a hobby one.

I would be a famous writer.

Or better.

A writer who just made money writing.

I would have a big house and a small barn.

I would put up apples and preserves and make apple jelly and apple pies, apple sauce, and oh!

Apple butter.

So freaking good.

And of course.

Lots of apple cider.

I would write in my office in the barn and have a braided rug and a rocking chair, a big desk and a fireplace.

I would drink hot tea while the snow fell and be super content listening to the hush and crackle of snow falling.

I would fall asleep under large comforters.

I would have my bunny slippers of course.

It’s a sweet fantasy.

One I could imagine having here, partially, but it would be outside of the city, obviously.

Or.

Maybe I could just have my own house and I would have the trees that I like, a couple of apple trees, the Envy varietal or Pink Lady, I also really like the Mutsu apples.  And a persimmon tree.

Fuck I love persimmons.

And it’s persimmon season.

When I get done with my blog I will be having both and apple and a persimmon as my evening snack, I shall cut them up, sprinkle them with cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt and pumpkin pie spice.

The best.

I might have a pear tree too.

And definitely a fig tree.

Then a little kitchen garden–tomatoes, lettuces, onions, herbs–rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, heck, maybe even some sweet corn.

But really I want tomatoes, like the ones my grandfather grew in his garden in Lodi.

My grandfather helped my mom quite a bit with the planning of our garden in Windsor, we had an acre of land and the back of it was a big sprawling yard, halved by a grape arbor and then the back was the orchard and the garden.

The garden wasn’t as big as my grandfathers and I remember my stepfather (step asshole, step asshat, step misogynist, oops, sorry, digression) got some weird ideas about what to grow.

One year it was a god awful amount of cabbage and he decided we were going to make sauerkraut.

We made so much sauerkraut that four years later I could still find it in the pantry in the basement, not the cellar mind you, but the basement.

Another year it was potatoes and broccoli.

There was also a small strawberry patch, some raspberries, and red currants as well as rhubarb.

One of my mom’s masterpieces was her strawberry rhubarb egg custard tart.

God damn it was a miracle.

And my mom taught me her pie crust recipe.

Which, to this day, I can see on its index card in her small recipe box, the way she wrote her letters and the fanciful swoops and curves of her lines and the flourishes.

When I think of my mom sometimes I think that her creative soul can be found in her cursive handwriting.

I didn’t even need to look at the recipe card after a few years, I had made so many pies that it was unnecessary.

I made apple pies, of course, until the cows came home.

This is a saying, not literal, although there was a farm just down the road that the dog liked to go occasion once in a while to piss off my mother by rolling in the cow manure.

There is nothing fouler to smell than a dirty dog in cow shit.

Anyway.

My mom taught me well and it was nice to dip back into those memories, to feel the seasons change, to think about fall abundance and harvest.

I miss baking sometimes and I’m a good baker, so it was super sweet and a bit special to make the tart for the family I work for.

I cooked a lot today for the family as it was a stay at home day for the kids, Columbus Day school observance, but the pie made me the happiest to make.

I didn’t need to taste it, I don’t eat sugar or flour, so that was out of the question.

But oh.

I smelled it.

And it was so good.

It reminded me of home, the days crisp and cool and the leaves turning and the grass still green but cold now on my feet when I was out picking through the windfall apples in the tall orchard grass.

I am so glad and grateful that I get to live in San Francisco.

But once in a while.

Yes.

I do get a touch nostalgic for the Midwest.

And baking today felt good.

Sweet.

Homey.

Cozy.

It stirred me and I was grateful for it.

And touched too, that the mom would send me such an effusive message.

I am glad they liked the pie.

I probably liked baking it more than they enjoyed eating it.

That might not seem possible.

But.

Well.

I think it is.


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