The Balance of All Things
The View from Mrs. Sundberg’s Window
Made some apple crisp Saturday and it was not bad. I had spent the day out and about, giving a baking talk at a local orchard and – being an introvert – I was a bit wrung out. It’s just that way. I talk with people all day and I feel as if my nerves are exposed. Nothing I feel badly about; it’s simply how I am wired. Being an introvert isn’t about being shy or quiet. No, Siree. It’s all about where you get your energy. I get mine from the quiet hours. Not that I have to be alone. In fact, I get energy at parties and gatherings just like extroverts do. Thing is, I like to be on the edge. The fringe. The periphery. Where I can sit and sip a drink and look out the window and talk in the candlelight and lean back against the wall.
Spent a good part of my life talking, in fact. Mr. S is always teasing me because sometimes it takes half an hour to mail a letter since my good friend Colleen started working at the post office. And I’ve been known, when the kids were around, to spend a good three hours shopping for groceries on a Saturday morning. I have cut down on my phone time for sure, but even a stranger knocks on the door and I welcome a good conversation. Everyone has a story, and I’ve met a very few people who didn’t have something interesting or important to say.
At the orchard Saturday I talked about pie and cobbler and crisp and Brown Betty, bars and pork chops and fritters and pancakes. All the things you can make with apples. And I listened, too, to all kinds of stories about so-and-so’s mother’s apple pie, and the best road trips for color this fall and how one couple were on their honeymoon and that one sweet little girl said her first word that day. (It was “pie,” and once she said it, she didn’t stop. For over an hour.) I listened to a couple argue about which apple is best for pie, and to a silver haired man playing guitar under a tree. Come to think of it, I didn’t talk much at all on Saturday; I mostly listened.
Maybe that’s part of the whole introvert thing. Maybe we are the listeners in a room full of talkers. Makes sense, you know. The Balance of All Things. For every thunderstorm, a sunny day. For every passing, a birth. Lovemaking, sleep. Fear, comfort. Dinner, dessert. Storyteller, Listener. It’s the way of it, I think. Always something to keep us level and sane. Think of it.
I’m a big fan of the crisp. Apple, blueberry, cherry, peach. But apple, my friends, is first in line. Try this recipe over a weekend. Makes a nice snack while raking leaves, after the hike, just before a nap in the hammock.
Caramel apple crisp
½ cup caramel topping
½ tsp ground cinnamon
6 large baking apples (about 2 3/4 lb), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 6 cups)
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
In large bowl, stir together caramel topping and the cinnamon until blended. Add apples; toss until evenly coated. Spread in ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish.
In same bowl, mix 2/3 cup flour and the brown sugar. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through mixture in opposite directions), until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in oats. Crumble mixture over apples in baking dish.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 375 or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Serve with home-whipped cream and some more caramel topping.
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