As we enter the New Year it has been unusually warm and it doesn’t look like winter. The landscapes are painted in toasty yellow ochre and sepia tones, not the high contrasts of bright white snow and stark grayish blue shadows we’ve come to expect from our winters here in Iowa.
With the beginning of a new year I like to take inventory of the previous year. I believe it’s important to reflect and recognize the little things that made us happy during the year. Of course there are always a few things that stand out. One of my favorite memories of 2011 was just a simple little thing. In June, I picked a bowl full of tart cherries at the farm while my daughter was busy climbing the fruiting trees. Cherries don’t hang on the tree forever; there is a small window of opportunity and if you miss it, you’re out of luck. Fortunately for us, our timing was perfect.
After I filled my bowl to the brim with tart cherries I brought them inside and began to whip together a pie. I followed the same techniques my mother has used for the past 15 years. I have made my fair share of pies in the past but there was something about the freshness of the fruit that made me feel more confident than ever.
My pies really are more of a galette, folded toward the center from the edges with some space in the middle where you can see the filling. It came out of the oven gurgling and the crust was golden brown. It looked and smelled toasty and delicious. The scent filled the air and everyone came to the kitchen to see if it was ready. Of course, it had to cool for a few minutes, wearing on everyone’s patience. When the pie was cool enough to eat I brought it out to the porch.
In our family the big pie lover is Sophia. She is 10, soon to be eleven, and has explained to me that her motto in life is, I Like Pie. Sophia took one bite and the look on her face was priceless. It was delightful. Nothing is better than freshly picked tart cherry pie, fresh from the oven. I confess we ate the whole thing.
There were some years in the past when I was too busy to check on the cherry tree and then when I did the birds had already eaten everything. There were also years when the trees didn’t fruit at all. I’m so glad that I was able to use this fruit to create, not only a delicious treat, but a moment that I cherish. I don’t take that cherry tree for granted anymore. Life is a little like that, you have to live in the moment or it will pass you by and if that happens you’ll miss out and you won’t get your cherry pie. If you don’t like cherries there is always Mulberry….Happy New Year and remember to savor every moment.