It is fairly safe to assume that in three weeks time, at dinner tables across our fair Village, the Thursday evening meal will conclude with triangular slices of dessert. Counting down the days, pie shell by pie shell, I am adrift in a blizzard of all-purpose flour. Painstakingly hand-cubing sweet butter and carefully measuring generous pinches of sugar and salt, I’m on a roll.
The bakery window is all gussied up for November with its gratitude window. A very specific felt tipped marker (not the Sharpee) is used to pen a sentiment expressing one’s gratitude. One of my bandana-clad compatriots asked me what I was going to write on the window. I paused. “I’m grateful when someone else answers the phone in the bakery.”
One of the things I’m truly grateful for in November is the quince. A member of the Rosaceae (rose) family, I can relate to a fruit that is just a little bit snarky, demanding a leisurely honey bath before baking. Eaten raw, the fruit is bitter and astringent, difficult to slice. But poached in honey, lemon and vanilla bean, quince teams beautifully with apples and pears.
Unlike the apple and in keeping with the pear, quince does not offer instant gratification. It does have a bit of a cult following, but not among the mainstream. At our local overpriced organic market, I overheard a woman identifying quinces as persimmons to her young daughter. I longed to correct her but noticing the rolled up yoga mat in her shopping cart, I moved on.
Edward Lear captured a romantic notion of the quince when he penned The Owl and the Pussycat.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
We will be dancing by the light of the moon in the month of November, working evening hours, attempting to right the runaway train that is Thanksgiving. Despite the chill in the morning and the early sunset in the evening, this baker’s well-being is dependent upon fresh air. The maple leaf carpet of crimson and gold beneath my running shoes reminds me it’s a good idea to stop and smell the quinces.
Where does one get their hands on a runcible spoon?
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm