It is rather amazing how a free-form apple tart can conjure up a wealth of emotions. I made this when my parents, sister, and niece came to visit. It is so simply, really. A pie crust rolled out to whatever shape will fit the pan....cut up apples (whatever you have handy)....spices....raisins.....and yes. Love.
And as I rolled this out...
.... I thought of all of the women in my family. Those ancestors who made food for their family with heart and soul and body. Did they enjoy baking? Or did they do it purely out of necessity? Oh how I wish that I could sit and chat and learn.
..... I remembered the apple tree in my Grandma and Grandpa Krystofik's yard. The one that would drive my Grandma crazy because she couldn't pick them up fast enough and would even drop them onto her head. And then, their sun porch would be filled with that heavenly scent of ripe apples. Ready for pies. Ready for sauce. Just. Ready. I would stand in the sunlight in that porch, wanting to bottle up that smell forever more.
...... I remembered picking apples with Joe when he was little, and seeing him on my dad's shoulders, reaching for that one that was just too high. Laughing. Giggling. As the orchard felt like it was the most heavenly place on Earth.
..... I remembered toting a heavy bag of apples over to my Grammie and Grandpa Olenick's home, which was just across the backyard from Gma and Gpa K's yard. Through freshly cut grass, past both gardens, and I was in another home that was filled with love and warmth. Handing over the apples, we would talk about what to make. Apple cake? And as we talked, she would slice one and hand me half.
..... I realize how much I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and my mom's apple-cranberry casserole. It's become a favorite and even when I am not with her for Thanksgiving, I bring it to dinner for Tom's family. Recipes crossing hearts and homes. I love that.
And as I continue on this month, the month of giving thanks, I recognize the precious gifts that I have been given:
faith ~ my beautiful Catholic faith that celebrates the simple joys of togetherness
family ~ connected by faith, still alive in my heart...even after death
memories ~ lovely times of connectedness that live on
joy ~ always joy
May your month of thanks be filled with remembrance and love.
Peace to you.