March 28, 2013
I was sure the Lady Alice apples in the bin were heirlooms. I’d never heard of the red and banana-yellow apple with the well-heeled name before. The card above it said they’re good for eating out of hand and prime for cooking, too. Just as well. I love having a store of versatile cellar fruits around. When I got home I settled them in a mesh bag in the vegetable drawer to keep them separated from the Fujis, and the Fuji eaters.
Yesterday I pulled them from beneath a bag filled with parsley and mint and did a quick search online.
Lady Alice, as it turns out, is something of a toddler in the apple world. To thousands of years of apple cultivation, she has about twenty-five; she is to the world of apples akin to what humans are to the history of Earth (if you’ll excuse an unsound analogy).
The Lady Alices are held back for several months after harvest because their flavor improves in storage. That’s why I saw them only last week, and why they’ll disappear again in awhile, like any seasonal produce.
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January 24, 2013
Yesterday’s square on my wall calendar contains a blue highlighted rectangle around the words “check vinegar.”
For weeks we’ve peered at the concoction through the cheesecloth, swirling it around, leaning in and smelling its stronger-than-apples scent. From the side it looked right, the same color as the cider vinegar I buy at the store with tendrils floating on the bottom of the bowl. It made me feel like humming. I’m making apple vinegar right in my own kitchen!
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January 3, 2013
Today I strained apple cores and a handful of tired cranberries from a mixture that’s been sitting on the counter for a week. Without the fruit, it will sit for another two or three. I’ll mix it up periodically, to expose more of the liquid to the air, and otherwise keep it covered with cheesecloth.
I should have acquired a copy of Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation a long time ago. As it is I received it, along with his most recent book, The Art of Fermentation, last week, for Christmas. The vinegar chapter caught my eye and within a day of reading it I had this mixture of fruit scraps, sugar and water on the counter.
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December 20, 2012
For quite a few years holiday seasons felt a little forced. I hid curmudgeonly sighs as I rolled Mexican wedding cookies in powdered sugar. The lights, the tree, the commercial nature of it all felt exhausting.
Christmas is only a few days away and I’m not done with my shopping. I haven’t done a lick of baking. My gifts were priority shipped yesterday. But it doesn’t feel like it matters because we’ve listened to something like twenty-six versions of Winter Wonderland this week and almost every time both kids join in, my son bobbing his head in time. And a couple of days ago they tore around in the early morning snow. Domestically, the season feels lighter. I may not be organized, but I’m cheerful.
But there’s a dichotomy inside me, one that is, I’m certain, a reality for many this week. How, the one side of me asks the other, can you rush along in a typical holiday routine, scrambling to meet deadlines, thrilling over an app that helps organize and track your budget for gifts?
Because the one side is shattered, of course, watching like the bystander I am as a whole community struggles to come to terms with the horror of the past week.
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