My apple pie universe
Not my pic, but it’s made the rounds on the Internet and I can’t find the original photographer.
Thank you, whoever you are.
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. – Carl Sagan
The details are irrelevant. I’ve been busy inventing the universe. And what a tasty, tasty place it is. My universe is an endless cupboard, a timeless watch, and the mashed up philosophies of Kahlil Gibran, Julia Child, and yes, Carl Sagan. I’ve been reading Shakespeare’s Sonnet #75 – So are you to my thoughts as food to life – and Like Water for Chocolate and How to Cook a Wolf. And in between I’ve been comforting myself with spaghetti-o’s, sustaining myself with small batch pickles and slow braised ribs, and quenching my thirst with Pellegrino laced with leftover vanilla bean pear-poaching syrup. In between, I’ve been a busy little bee. That is my apple pie universe.
Summer is also taking its sweet time dying. I’m an autumn girl. Give me Orion in my sky and pomegranates in my bowl and pumpkins in my bread. Without summer, I can’t make pickles. But without fall, I can’t make everything else that fosters the giddy within me. Cooler weather makes me bake things that I have to share – it’s just me and my guy and we have yet to find a way to eat 13 scones without killing our cholesterol. Sharing is the best part. Which brings me to a daunting proposition.
I’m creating a seasonal compendium. A formulaic reference. A culinary guide through the equinoxes and the solstices. Probably 200 recipes total, which over the course of a year is about half a recipe a day, but we’ll say about three or four recipes a week. The subject?
Canning and preserving. Small batches. Seasonal. For the urban and suburban dweller with a lack of counter and cupboard space, but a gourmet kitchen-sized desire to make and share delicious and sustaining things. It will not teach people how to preserve a 12 lbs. bag of roma tomatoes for winter – the USDA and countless other resources have that covered quite expertly. I’m talking a small set of half pints of homemade ketchup, enough lemon curd for a few tea parties and gifts, and Sagan-inspired “Invented Universe” canned apple pie filling.
The project is already vitalizing. I get to be imaginative and make scrumptious things for my guinea pigs friends. I’m also a bit of a seasonal siren and cook by a sort of meteorological clock. Maybe I’m not the only one who needs a few weeks notice before setting up to make my favorite pickle recipe. But this fits my food focus like a glove. The “four recipes a week” thing may be daunting, but nothing ventured, nothing stained.
I have all the credentials of an insanely curious home cook with Internet access, a copy of Strunk and White, a herd of supportive friends and family members, and pretensions of canning grandeur (Can those two words be paired? Why yes. Yes they can.).
I think it will all set up quite nice.