Life has been moving at lightning speed, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and breathless at times. What was my burrito-sized newborn, swaddled in flannel, is now my sprouting seven year-old with two missing front teeth, a sharp increase in emotional-intelligence (Me: “Caleb, I’m feeling frustrated with you right now.” Caleb: “I’m listening to your feelings, Momma.”), and large quantities of energy I wish I could harness and sell for profit.
Caleb’s play dates, which used to involve little sweet, energetic, runny-nosed boys named Jordan and Miles, are morphing into dates with bright, attractive, and opinionated girls named Judith and Eva.
Judith (envision tall, blonde, supermodel / Ph.D. candidate in the making), Caleb’s desk mate in first grade, came over today for their inaugural play date. With an abundance of fall fruit rolling around the breakfast table and an ice cream maker suffering from abandonment issues, I declared this a pie and ice cream play-date! A perfect activity for a crisp, sunny day in early November.
This morning, when Caleb popped out of bed before the sun, we cuddled on the couch and discussed the upcoming activity. He asked if I knew how to make a “checkerboard pie,” which I understood to mean pie with a lattice crust. I was inclined to say no as I didn’t know how much attention span I would be working with that afternoon, but instead, I said yes. What the heck…we’d give it a shot.
With several of the ingredients prepped in advance, my little pastry chefs quickly fell into step following my instructions and no recipe in particular. With the sun streaming through the kitchen window and music playing in the background, we filled the room with laughter and plenty of goofball energy. Before too long, a simple vanilla ice cream recipe was prepared and congealing in the freezer and an honorable attempt at a lattice-top apple pie was made.
While Caleb, Judith, and Sadie played throughout the house, the aroma of baked apples and cinnamon followed them from room to room. Once out of the oven, we could not stop ourselves from hovering, taking in big inhalations of sweet, spiced apple pie, redolent of this season.
Before their play date came to a close, the kiddos sat around our dining table with generous portions of warm apple pie à la mode. They were practically bouncing off the walls with wild energy. I think we were all feeling proud, accomplished, and ravenous. Looking up, we saw it was pie o’ clock – and we began eating! We next fell into an apple pie induced happy trance. Caleb clearly loved the apple pie but was not as enamored with the ice cream. Judith’s experience was the opposite. Sadie enjoyed it all.
For someone who grew up in a family proud of being unconventional, I am inexplicably drawn to the All-American apple pie experience. I find it grounding – truly gratifying. It is also a practical use for our extra apples.