Of Garden Apples and Maternal Neurosis
We have a wonderful apple tree in our backyard, and this year it is producing well: the apples are incredible, sweet and sour at the same time (just enough sour), crispy and juicy, and the kids are loving them. It's a special variety called Anna Israel from a nursery called Trees of Antiquity (looking for a rare tree? Try them!).
Today, Elizabeth asked me for "a garden apple." This struck me as so adorable: she knows the difference between a store-bought apple and a home-picked one, and she knows which one she prefers. It was lovely to be able to step out into the warm day, pluck the ripe apples from the tree, retrieve a few that had already fallen, and slice them up for lunch. Here they are:
Warm from the sun, nothing beats a garden apple.
While picking apples, I thought about how this was just the perfect kind of thing for someone's blog. Someone else's blog. Someone who takes beautiful food and cooking photos; someone whose garden is always in picture perfect condition, whose kitchen is always ready for whipping up amazing dishes, and whose personal style is classic and comfortable. Someone who walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to slow, local food.
That someone is most definitely not me. I, like my kitchen, am always a wreck, never prepared for meals, dashing around like a looney trying to get decent food into people's stomachs, wishing I had more time and skill to cook good food, with local and organic ingredients. I look at people's blogs, with pictures of the scones they whipped up that morning, with the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of the bell peppers that went into their enchiladas, and I know: They must have better lives than I do. They must really have things together. I bet their kids even eat that delicious looking food, without spilling anything, without complaint, and with pleases and thank-yous sprinkled throughout.
The recipes, which the uber-bloggers always include, sound easy. So I try them, and the food comes out OK, but the process is total chaos and angst for mama. I cannot document the cooking process, cannot photograph my kitchen while I'm cooking: it's a horror show.
But then: a glimmer. Hey, I can stage a photo as well as the next blogger, can't I? I can zoom in on one little corner of the kitchen and crop out any sign of reality, right?
A friend of mine gave me a lovely plaque that I keep on a built-in in my kitchen. It and its wise message have lately been obscured by a trophy hospital (where broken trophies wait for krazy glue), a few thomas trains, some phone equipment, and a couple of cracked picture frames. So I simply moved the junk out of the way, swiped the surface with a baby wipe, and placed the garden apples just so.
Ignore that bit of electrical cord that didn't quite get tucked into the drawer. Instead, read the warm words of "The Real To Do List," imagine the curve of a garden apple nestled in your hand, and think of me, slicing apples to Mozart and handing them to angelic, grateful, loving children.
I am empowered. Armed with a blog and photoshop, I can crop the neurosis right out of my life.
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