Thursday, July 27, 2006


I've been thinking a lot about the five senses, and particularly about touch as it relates to the other senses. The other day, I was making an apple pie to use up all those apples we bought. (sure, that's my excuse) No, the truth is that I love apple pie..and most fruit pies. I like the way the cooked sweet fruit tastes like velvet and the pastry crumbles into flakes on the tongue. I've been on a quest to make a decent pie crust for years. It's not in the recipe, really, it's in the ingredients, the temperature, the humidity, and the touch of the baker. I'm thwarted in this by my husband, who far prefers crumbles to pies..and crumbles are easier, so my quest isn't really a full time one. I only make pie every once in a while.

This last apple pie was a good as they come. The quick to spoil and soft Lodi apples didn't need to be pre-cooked and the crust was right---well, messy on the top crust--it didn't roll out neatly, but tasted lovely--just as buttery flakey and firm yet crisp as it was supposed to. Here's the other little secret. I ate one piece a day, every day for breakfast, with a cup of tea and a glass of milk, until it was gone. It didn't last long...

The few minutes a day I spent with my nearly perfect (that messy crust top) apple pie left me thinking about my personal experience with each of the five senses--and my own aspirations. I am happiest when immersed in these tangible pleasures of touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell, but I'm always pushing myself to do better, more thoughtful work--whether it's a pie crust or a design or a piece of writing. I think these high expectations keep me learning and trying harder. I've had people say tell me that I'm always dissatisfied and that I'm overly intense, that I push myself (and others) too far. I try to understand what it would be like to just be satisfied, to turn off the intensity, instead of continuing to struggle towards something that might be better around the corner. I can't really imagine it, because while there are fabulous moments in life to enjoy.. I feel there's always so much more to learn and to do, if I just tried a little harder.

Harry the dog is so enthusiastic about this straining towards others that he broke a window pane the other day. He put his paws on the window sill, put his head up and began to bark at something outside. His head broke the glass-he is fine, and the window will be fixed. We are all a bit over-zealous here sometimes... maybe it's not just me.

If you were here, I'd invite you to pull up a chair in my dining room so we could just eat a little more pie and talk about this. (I'd seat you with your back to the broken window--it's a little embarrassing for Harry and me!) How much is enough effort? What is too much? I'd have to bake another pie for us, the apple pie didn't last long enough for me to even snap a photo! That experience, of taste and smell and touch, was so very satisfying.


Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

What a great entry Joanne! Someday I will take you up on it:-)

July 27, 2006 at 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh but combine the best of both worlds - a buttery flaky crust on the bottom, wonderful apple filling and then a crumble-type topping over the top. Flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter - adding oats if desired.

July 27, 2006 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger PBnJ said... pie.....Drool.... :)
This was a nice post, Joanne. :) (not just because of the pie references...)

July 27, 2006 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger jenknits said...

OMG, I am glad to hear Harry is ok! Mocha ran through the greenhouse door and shattered it this summer. I am thinking of replacing it with bullet-proof glass.

August 1, 2006 at 1:22 PM  

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