I spend so much time outdoors at the farmers’ markets. Sometimes all I want on my day off is to trade extroversion and sunshine for my laptop and a cafe con leche.
Also — and it happens only every so often — there are days I can’t bear to look at fruit.
So when I opened the fridge Friday to find a half-bushel of pears, my heart sank. I had carted them home Wednesday after the market and then managed to completely forget they were in there.
I was going to have to do something with them.
There was also an apple pie pending. I need to practice for the next pie contest. But making a pie sounded like work.
On top of all this, I was dealing with stuff — frustrating in the way that stuff can be.
I sat down at my kitchen table. For a good hour, I listened to Josh Ritter sing about stuff — he knows what it’s like! — while I peeled, cored, and chopped fruit — apples for pie and pears for pear butter.
I made some dough. With a bench scraper, I split the batch and formed it into two discs. One became the bottom crust. I piled the apples — Jonathans, RedCorts, and a Macintosh or two — into the crust. I rolled out the other disc, wove a lattice top and slid it over the mounded apples.
Into the oven for an hour and out of the oven onto a cooling rack.
Now, some people can make pie with their eyes closed. I am not one of them. I can, however, make a pie that looks as though I made it with my eyes closed. My lattice top was less than convincing.
I moved on to the pear butter, by now simmering away on the stovetop next to an enormous pot of boiling water. The recipe was supposed to yield six half-pints; it only produced three. And one of the three jars didn’t seal properly. Still, it felt better to worry about allspice and butter and cinnamon and shortening and flour and mason jars.
The pie dough, the pears, the apples. These things were in my hands.
Some things are out of my hands.