Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sticky business

If I had a husband and four children, perhaps then I could have a cherry tree in my back yard. Though I'm doing just fine without a full house right now, this crossed my mind as I pitted about 3 cups of cherries for a cobbler Friday afternoon. About 1 cup in, I was already tired of it and wondered who could possibly do this with cherries by the tree full.

Then I thought of the only cherry tree owner I know personally, a woman named Kitty. She's my friend Dana's mother-in-law and she has a husband and four children — a household equipped with enough pairs of hands to pit bushels of cherries. In my imagination, the cherry tree (perhaps even trees?) and the four children are all part of the same life plan, because how else could you handle so much fruit? Now that all those kids are grown, I hope she has neighbors who don't mind getting sticky.

I've never seen this tree because it's in Pennsylvania. But I have eaten its fruit, coincidentally, almost exactly five years ago now. It was the weekend of the wedding where Dana became Kitty's daughter-in-law. And Andrew's wife, of course. You know how I said weddings demand cake? That's not completely true. This wedding was an all-pie affair, which made it a thrill dessert-wise. It was thrilling in lots of other teary and moving ways, too, but one thing I loved about the reception was that instead of one tall vanilla tower of cake, a whole table was dedicated to all kinds of fruit pies. Really: pie after pie after pie.

And get this: the pies were on tiers Dana's dad built. Picture one of those wire cupcake trees but with nooks large enough to hold pie plates. And because he's a dad who loves nothing more than functionality, the welded stand was set on caster wheels. Mobile pies! Which makes me think of the pie trailer down the street... whoa. Did Cedric foresee Austin's food trailer boom??

The rehearsal dinner the night before was topped off with pie, too. Cobbler, actually, but lattice-topped, which to me is just about enough work to earn the title of pie. The cobblers were made with cherries from Kitty's own back yard, brought all the way to New Mexico. (Dana, remind me: Did she bring the cherries in and do the baking in Ruidoso, or did she bring the pies already baked? Also, how? Either way, I'm amazed.) Not only was it delicious, but entirely personal and memorable.

The other thought I had at my kitchen table was that people who have cherry trees probably also own cherry pitters. I don't. And let me tell you, it's slow going without one. Especially with the method I chose: a paperclip and a trick I learned on Youtube. I ended up with cherry juice running from my hands all the way down my arms and dripping — cascading — off my elbows and onto the apron I was soon thankful I had tied on.

So all this to say that when I sat down in my now juice-stained apron with a bag of cherries, I wasn't planning for my mind to wander to that wedding weekend in the mountains. But I'm pretty sure I can't eat a cherry now without thinking of lovely friends and all the fun we had. Dana and Andrew, happy anniversary. And thanks for getting married at the height of cherry season!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Beth!

    I can tell you what one does with two cherry trees in her yard when one's four children grow up: The Annual Telep Cherry Festival!

    Kitty provides the pie and cobbler crusts and a party of friends & family provide that crucial picking & pitting labour and everyone can bring home all the cherries they want. It seems like a great solution the problem you were so quick to pick up on.