Don’t be fooled by the weather report. This weekend may be dark and stormy outside, but my kitchen will be warm and sticky-sweet. This is apple season.
The crisp beauty of autumn has been out in force up here in Maine. The air has been steady at a cool sixty degrees, with clouds that make me wish I could paint. Gold and crimson leaves are gathering curbside, bright and brittle and crunchy underfoot. The birds are noisily planning their road trip south, and squirrels hastily scour the backyard for their nutty hidden treasure. The true mark of the season, however, resides at the grocery store, as mountains of McIntosh apples, nestled in white paper bags, picked fresh from an orchard just miles from my home. And at just eighty-nine cents a pound, they’re perfect for satisfying my autumn obsession with all things cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. So if all goes as planned, I’ll be baking my very first all-American apple pie this weekend. There is bad blood between pie crust and I, but I’m determined. Lack of food processor be damned, I never leave an apple behind. Wish me luck.
This time of the year arouses a strange variety of emotions. My husband and I have talked extensively about it, and agreed that it all boils down to anticipation. It’s a feeling in your chest that swells with the wind and peaks with the rustle of leaves on pavement, as the mercury settles low and slow. Suddenly, I have an urge to buy things I really don’t need, spend a weekend in the mountains, drink apple spice martinis and have deep discussions about house-hunting and farming. There’s a bit of apprehension lurking around, too, a sense of urgent necessity. This can be easily quelled, though, with the proper application of scarves and thick sweaters. They help hold you together and tethered to the ground. Perhaps the anxiety stems from my childhood fear of being swept up in an October gale, like Piglet in Winnie the Pooh. If only Piglet had been wearing a sweater.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. ” Albert Einstein