A wedding sets up a train of events. Bliss, sometimes. Divorce, often. Children, frequenty. Queen
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 Victoria 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
, and was enjoyed (but probably not cultivated) by the Romans, and found its way to China 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 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? England
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.
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.