occasional: lemons|sugar

07 November 2005 @ 20:21

baking quince in autumn

How taut a Monday: a fraught day, tangled-knot day, bundled with deadlines and fragments of words. It's almost a poem, heading home in the gloaming toward an empty apartment and the persimmon stained sky...
Will the budget bear yoga? Or the body bear babies? Or is it just cheaper to swim in the night? Bourbon is tempting, but my figure's relenting so of course I plunge into baked quince: a delight.


Am trying not to freak out about finances, however I find that being married to an economist can tax my peace of mind. Our pillow-talk lately features talk of Our House. Except that it is not Our House in terms of giddywistfuldreaming hopes nor even pragmatic preferences, but numbers. Big numbers. And their impact on loans and interest rates, ahh mortgages. Savings plans and payment plans (hello: credit cards and my school loans) and planning for emergencies or Surprises.

Egad, the trepidation makes me feel like I'm on the Great Wall again: faced with a basically vertical trek, bad legs, and certain knowledge that our ride will abandon us if we do not make it to the end in time. Yea, that was me, simultaneously struggling to catch my breath, not vomit or cry, and somehow take in the incredible scenery around us.
steep, ne?

From Jinshanling to Simatai, the Beloved was resourceful (haggling with guides who new the locals' shortcut) and mostly patient. As we cut through tiny valleys and fields, homesteads connected by dirt footpaths up and down the mountainside, the Beloved stayed behind me chatting with one of our guides and occasionally shouting encouraging phrases from his track-and-field days. Things along the line of, "If it HURTS, that means you're still ALIVE!" Sounds awful in plain text, but how it made me laugh.

The pearl carried away from that is this: sometimes the only thing we can do is try to keep one footstep following the next, ad nauseum, until the long downhill slope is finally underfoot and the bus is in sight, and we're both inside before the sky opens up to rain. We got through that, we'll get through this...

Our fruit purchase last week included a pair of quince that we've yet to consume. They're my first quince ever, outside of poetry and Japanese symbolism, and I was unsure of how to consume them. I washed one of the lumpy, yellowy fruits and cut it open, finding it very apple-ish inside with seed pips and whatnot, except that the outer flesh was strangely dry - hard and bitter at a nibble and not easy to peel. My cookbooks failed me. No quince!

Not to fear: we've just gotten internet service into the budget. Google to the rescue! Now I know that quince is currently very popular in Australia and historically very popular in the Mediterranean - not so much in the U.S..

The quince itself is wholly interesting in shapes - tree, branch, flower, and fruit. I'm already yearning for a garden in which to plant quince trees. I found a wonderfully evocative line of poetry describing the fruit-laden branches of a quince tree as, "the Kannon-armed quince" - Kannon being the Japanese goddess of Mercy(or Kwan-Yin in Chinese)/Buddhist bodhisatva: a multi-armed figure bearing different symbolic objects in each hand. Mmmm...quince.

The plan is to bake it for an hour at 350F (cut into quarters, patted with butter and heaped in sugar) with a little water and a foil cover helping it become juicy and golden. It could be an adventure...

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