More even than wood carving, taking knife to fruit is a supremely meditative act of creative destruction.
Care is needed lest you cut yourself, of course, but even if you mangle the fruit, who cares? It’s going into a pie anyway, so make with the blade, kiddo, and let your mind wander.
I’ve been doing a lot of peeling recently, trying to decide how best to proceed with this project.
2015 has been a tumultuous year. My book was published and I was riding high. Then my mother died suddenly and I was left feeling high and low at the same time.
Knife to peel.
Try to get it all in one.
Don’t cut yourself.
So here I am at the close of the calendar, trying to decide whether I care much for calendars. It’s tempting, oh-so-tempting, to think in these discreet blocks of days, months, years. It tempts you to take up the blade.
Peel away the questionable bits.
Cut around the bruises.
Save the good fruit, dispense with the bad.
It’s just a pie, it doesn’t have to be pretty.
To think in calendars is seductive. It makes it easier to just pretend you can bin the entire year at will or pick or choose in phases of the moon or turning of the seasons. Hell, this entire project is and always has been dependent on calendars for its framework.
In January, can you really begin again? Boot the old man to the curb and pick up the baby in the tophat?
Time is seductive but false.
You can’t time a pie, it’s done when it’s done.
Density, moisture, relative humidity, too many factors at play.
Keep an eye on it and yank it before it burns.
I am about to pick this project back up again. For those of you who have waited patiently while I run off to be an author and have family tragedies, I thank you for your time. I hope you don’t feel I’ve wasted it.
Going forward, we’re going to take a more meditative approach and we’re going to ignore the calendar. I was wrong about the artificial frameworks for this. I was wrong to think I could just peel it and pop it in the oven and set a timer and it would be done when it dings.
We’re going to carve around the worst bits and bruises and try to use the best of the fruit. And we’re going to watch the food and let the pie tell us when it’s done and time to move on to another pile, another peeler.
Our knives will be sharp and our pies will sometimes be ugly.
I hope you’ll join us.
In the meantime, have a happy Christmas or a happy whatever celebration brings you together with your kith and kin this winter’s turn. Draw near to those you love and remember those who are missing. Share food and companionship and warmth and remember that they are the only real light that matters in the winter’s darkness.
And volunteer in the kitchen when there’s stuff to peel.
It’ll be good for you.