Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple Butter, Distractions, Time

Apple butter is a wonderful distraction.  If you're sad about something, make some apple butter.  If you have debts that you are worried about, make some apple butter.  If you don't know if you will ever find true love again, apple butter will help allay those worries.  If you're worried that you won't pass your driver's test, you'd be better off practicing your driving, not making apple butter.  Study up on the rules of the road, and leave the apple butter for another day.  Apple butter is best made when you have too much time on your hands, when the grey of Massachusetts greets you in the morning and then stays around all afternoon.  It's best made when your bank account is low and your income is low, too.  If you've just been promoted at the bank, I recommend a round of golf and neat bourbon at the nineteenth hole.  Apple butter should not be made after you have putted.  Apple butter should be made at the end of an outstanding apple season, and this season has been outstanding.  

The apple butter is the ketchup-colored stuff, but it doesn't start out ketchup-colored.  It starts out pale.  You have to cook the apples down, stirring them regularly, before they turn that color.  You also have to put them through a food mill to remove any of the seeds and chunks of core.  I actually put this apple butter through the food mill twice, from medium to ultra fine, because I wanted a fine result and because I am lonely and I have a ton of time on my hands.  Loneliness and time are good for many things.  When you're not alone, your identity gets mixed up with the identities of the people you love around you.  You become partly them and they become partly you.  It's not necessarily a bad thing—it can be a good thing—but when you're alone, you're really alone, and you often return to yourself.  I'm apparently someone who obsessively makes tamales and apple butter.  This is how the apple butter looked about seven hours ago...

After I'd quartered, cored, and cooked down the apples in some apple cider, water, and cider vinegar (a pretty standard recipe), I put them through the medium disc of my food mill.  Next I chucked in some sugar (half of what the Joy of cooking recipe called for) and some spice mix (cinnamon, crushed cloves, allspice, lemon zest), and then I cooked it down on low heat for about five hours, stirring about every 10 or 15 minutes, until it turned dark and viscous.  If you haven't understood my point yet, this took a lot of time, time that many people don't have, either because they're in a relationship or married with children, or because they're hustling their way up a demanding company ladder, or because of this, or because of that.  We're busy Americans.  It all boils down to time.  Apple butter is no different.  It boils down slowly.  It takes your time. 

1 comment:

Krissy said...

really enjoyed reading this. I believe if we all would take the time to slow down we would be as aromaticly wonderful and smooth as applebutter!