Friday, September 05, 2008

The Aftermath of a Wedding.

A wedding sets up a train of events. Bliss, sometimes. Divorce, often. Children, frequenty. Queen Victoria referred to childbearing as one of the ‘unavoidable inconveniences’ of married life. Nevetheless she did her wifely and royal duty and provided her husband and the nation with nine heirs, and the royals of most of Europe with spouses.
Apple pie is the universal Western symbol of motherhood, for reasons, I suppose, that apples and mothers are everywhere. In the case of my young friend who has inspired this week’s stories, it should be apricot pie – for reasons that I wont explain because no matter how funny they are, some stories should be kept within the family circle. Or at least not made public on the eve of the Bride’s Big Day.
The apricot originated in China, and was enjoyed (but probably not cultivated) by the Romans, and found its way to Europe in the mid-sixteenth century. It required some clever horticultural work before it could be grown well there, and apricots did not become easily available in England for another two hundred years. The name of the apricot seems to come from its early ripening, and is derived from the Latin word praecox (from which we also get precocious). Perhaps a nice symbol for a young woman in the prime springtime of her life, pre-motherhood?
The recipe for apricot pie is not a secret, so here it is. The pie in the family story was a double crust pie – a ‘real’ pie, in my eyes, not a wimpy pot-pie style. And it was also made from canned apricots, for reasons that I wont go into, because that is part of the story. I know, because I made one for the girl-who-will-be-bride.
Apricot Pie.
Pare, stone, and halve the apricots. Place them in a pie-dish, piling them high in the middle. Strew over them a little sifted sugar, and a few of the kernels blanched and chopped small. Cover them with a good light crust, and bake in a moderate oven. Time to bake, three-quarters of an hour. Probable cost, 2s. for a moderate-sized dish. Sufficient for four or five persons.
Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery, c1870’s.
Quotation for the Day …
Talking of Pleasure, this moment I was writing with one hand and with the other holding to my Mouth a Nectarine – good god, how fine. It went down soft, pulpy, slushy, oozy – all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like large beatified Strawberry. I shall certainly breed.  John Keats.

4 comments:

Birdie said...

The adptly named Cracking Up Pie! In my memory, the BEST pie ever made. Tinned apricots and all. Thank you TOF, for your wedding wisdom this week. You will be pleased to know I have passed on the tips to the Almost-Husband, so that he knows how to keep me in the style to which I am accustomed!

I hope that tomorrow's wedding menu may be discovered centuries from now and be posted on The Future Foodie's web blog!

Love the Almost-Wife

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Birdie! I thought you would be far too busy today getting beautiful for tomorrow (Memo to Self: try not to outshine the Bride or the Mother of the Bride in the Beauty stakes.) Advice from one of your "other mothers" - No cracking up on the day, unless it is in laughter - which I am sure will be in as good supply as the champagne (there will be champagne, wont there?)

Figment said...

Where did you find such a luscious keats quote?
~ Fig

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Fig - sorry to be so long getting back to you on this one - it got 'lost' before I went on holiday and I have only just remembered it. The quotation is from one of Keats' letters to his friend Charles Wentworth Dilke.