Friday, May 23, 2008

[napa 2001] 2. peaches from our tree

fragrant, originally uploaded by sassyradish.

In the summer of 2001 I was banned from making pies. This is the story of how that judgement came to be.

I was born across the alley from an apricot tree. A huge apricot tree in the backyard of a large brick Victorian with a turreted tower with a resident clan of hippies. Those apricots were my first food, and I remain fascinated and comforted by ripe apricots. As a kid, sometimes we still had access to that huge tree. At some point in my childhood, the monster was cut down. I would not encounter limitless access to seasonal fruit, except for semi-yearly apple orchard trips and hot days gorging in pick-your-own strawberry fields, until the summer of 2001. In the interim, my appetite for picking ripe fruit grew unchecked for 20 years.

Finding myself in baking ingredient paradise, I commenced with an unchecked pastry manufacturing orgy. Meyer lemon meringue pie (our own eggs! our own lemons!), a meringue-frosted tall cake decorated with tiny marzipan toys for a baby shower, a double-stacked plum upside down cake, blackberry pie, strawberry pie, blackberry crisp, peach cobbler, and an endless stream of peach pies. Eventually, K --who despises mushy foods as a category and consequently seems to loathe Thanksgiving, banned the making of pies. I still came home from work and, after a trip to the tree, sat at the oak kitchen table prepping peach slices for freezing. The juice ran in streams down my forearms, pooling at my elbows. It was heaven.

Thanksgiving 2002 I showed up at their house with 9 pies, including a still-controversial fresh pumpkin pie made apple pie-style. I figured I could get away with flaunting the pie-making ban. I'm not sure that I did.

Story two, in a series of 48.

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