Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.

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autumn in new york, and a maple, pumpkin & brown sugar creme brûlée with toasted pecans

Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted PecansIMG_6533Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted PecansIMG_6529

A grad school friend of mine handed me a pair of headphones once; a very large, oversized pair meant for heads and ears much more sizeable than mine I have to believe.

“Okay, can you hear the music?” he asked me, as he adjusted the heavy earpieces to keep them from falling off my head entirely. I’d replied that yes, yes I could hear it and I instantly lowered my voice when it became apparent, judging by the alarmed looks of the folks nearby, that I was speaking very loudly – too loudly, given that we were in the library. “Yes,” I whispered. “Loud and clear.”

“Good! Now, go ahead and walk a full loop around the quad and tell me what you think, and make sure you really stare at everyone you pass; really check them out okay?” You see, my friend had this idea that people look more attractive when set to the sounds of classical music, and he wanted to test his theory out on me. Growing tired of studying for whatever test we had that day and looking for any excuse to procrastinate, I was up for the job and happily volunteered to help him test it out … this very serious, procrastination-driven theory of his.

“Roger that,” I’d said to him, and after giving a mock salute, the world’s most cumbersome set of headphones and I set off on our stroll around campus to see what we could see. Or, more specifically, to see who we could see. The utterly stunning sound of Bach’s Orchestral Suite Number 3 in D Major was playing in my ears as I began my little experimental walk, and I couldn’t help but laugh. My friend was right. Things somehow seemed brighter, better, more beautiful. Passersby seemed more peaceful, collectively so, and I was more inclined to smile at everyone, to offer a wave. People did, in fact, seem more attractive and it was the music that did it. For the full five minutes and some odd seconds of that walk, campus was radiating a sort of serene beauty that I’d yet to experience there, prior to this experiment. By jove, I think he’s on to something here …  

As it turns out though, he really was on to something, that friend of mine. His theory that music can enhance our sensory experiences has been tested and proven by scientists time and again, and it has even been applied to the culinary world. Psychologists have found that certain types of music can enrich the enjoyment of food and wine, and researchers have even figured out how to sonically embody various flavor profiles. Sourness is high-pitched … sweetness is richer and rounded at the ends … bitterness is deeper, more mordant … 

Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted PecansIMG_6537 Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted PecansPumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted Pecans

“Musical pairing recognizes that our senses play off each other in ways that we do not yet fully comprehend – that our ears unconsciously inform our taste buds … We have found that people even experience 15% more pleasure if music matches the wine. It is an exciting area: how soundscapes come together with taste to make the whole experience more enjoyable … It’s a kind of digital seasoning.” – Professor Charles Spence, Oxford University (www.theguardian.com)

Digital seasoning. Hmmm … I think I like that, I mused, upon first reading an article about this topic in The Guardian. I felt inspired – implored – to test it out myself, as a bit of an extension of the theory-testing fun I had with my friend in grad school years ago. This time however, my subject would not be the innocent bystanders around a university campus but rather, a sweet and warmly spiced creme brûlée. Because thanks to some hardworking scientists in Oxford, England, this dish can apparently reach new heights when enjoyed to the sounds of none other than the lovely Billie Holiday.

Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted PecansIMG_6539Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted PecansPumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted Pecans

The song, “Autumn in New York, is a jazz standard that was initially penned by Vernon Duke for the Broadway musical, Thumbs Up. Becoming somewhat of an instant classic, the song has been performed by many artists since its initial composition in 1934, from Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughn to a fantastic duet by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. All of the versions are lovely, an opinion of mine that is both new, as I had never heard the song prior to this week, and live, as I am listening to the songs on a loop as I write this post. What is it though, about Billie Holiday’s version that makes it the perfect pairing for a Fall-spiced pumpkin dessert? Are the psychologists pulling our legs? Is it more of a suggestion than a literal thing? Is it because pumpkin = Autumn, and vice versa? I wondered these things as I happily whisked together my custard, pouring it into the ramekins and sending them into the oven in their comfy, hot water bath.

Dreamers with empty hands may sigh for exotic lands;

It’s Autumn in New York;

It’s good to live it again.

There really is something warm, inviting and almost magical about her voice as she sings this song. Listening to it feels like the musical equivalent of wearing a thick, cable-knit sweater and sipping on a mug of hot cocoa. It’s completely pleasant and wonderful; almost like I’d heard it a hundred times before, even though it was totally new to me prior to my first listen just a couple of days ago. Comfortable …

I licked the pumpkin-filled batter off my spatula as I washed the dishes and, incidentally, felt a very similar sentiment. The flavors in the custard gave me the nostalgic satisfaction of the first bite of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day: cozy … a little spicy … comfortable. But it was something new though, something I’d never tried before. Just like Ms. Holiday’s “Autumn in New York.” I’m sure this isn’t why the scientists paired this particular dessert with Billie’s version of the song, but maybe that part is up for interpretation? Maybe that is my interpretation? Maybe.

I am not a scientist (but my husband is). I am not a professional singer (but my mother-in-law is). And I am not a professional chef (but I have multiple relatives and friends who are). But the good news here is that you do not have to be a professionally trained anything to gain real, full satisfaction out of either of the test subjects in this experiment, be it the creme brûlée or the jazz standard. Enjoy them alone, enjoy them together – the experience will be a happy one to be sure. But if you seem to be having trouble finding the special something that Billie’s “Autumn in New York” is purported to add to a pumpkin creme brûlée eating experience, then might I suggest you take your dessert and song with a small glass of a good Bourbon? Because this good Kentucky girl has learned that sometimes experience can garner wisdom as reliable as science, and my experience has proven the following hypothesis to be true: if good music can’t make your food taste better, then good Bourbon probably can.

Cheers and Happy Holidays, everyone (be it Billie or otherwise).


Pumpkin, Maple & Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée with Toasted Pecans RECIPE



(This recipes serves 4)


2 cups half and half

5 eggs yolks

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin, unsweetened

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

8 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted (I do this in a small dry pan for 2 minutes over medium-high heat.  stirring a couple of times as they toast)



Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half just until small bubbles form around the edges.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, pumpkin, maple syrup, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk everything to evenly combine, creating a smooth mixture.

When the half and half is just beginning to bubble slightly, very slowly whisk it into the pumpkin/egg mixture until you have a smooth custard.

Place 4 (ungreased) 4-inch ramekins, or round tart pans into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set this pan on the oven rack (in middle position) in the oven and pour the pumpkin custard mixture into the ramekins/dishes. Pour boiling water into the pan, around the dishes, until it comes about halfway up their sides (this allows for more even baking and is often done with custard-based dishes).

Bake the custards for 18 – 22 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centers of each comes out clean. Take the dishes out of the pan and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour (this will allow the custards to set).

After they have chilled for at least one hour, remove the custards from the fridge and place on a baking sheet or back in the baking pan you used previously (no water this time). Cover each of the custards with an even layer of granulated sugar, about 1/4″ thick. About 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of sugar should be fine. Position your oven rack to the top/highest position. Place the baking sheet with the custards into the oven, on the highest rack. Broil the custards until the sugar has melted, bubbled and begun to turn a deep amber color, about 65 to 75 seconds in my oven. This works best if you keep an eye on them though, rather than adhering to a strict time, as broilers and ovens vary.

Top the creme brûlées with chopped, toasted pecans and enjoy.



the chocolate locket (and a five-minute, single-serving molten lava cake)


Sometimes when I watch Elle playing outside, throwing damp fistfuls of mulch into the air, diving in piles of dried leaves, and making mud angels, I can’t help but marvel at (and enjoy) how different she is from the little girl version of myself. On any given day during any given year of my childhood, I would have much preferred playing dress-up to playing in the leaves, covering myself instead with fistfuls of sparkly costume jewelry rather than fistfuls of mulch, and slathering on prettily scented mud masks as opposed to making dirty mud pies. “Girly girl” is a term that would have been an appropriate descriptor of three-year-old me, and is so very far from how I would ever describe my three-year-old Elle – and I sort of love that.

Playing dress-up was (and still is, admittedly) a favorite pastime of mine when I was a little girl. I know what you must be thinking, Wow, Lauren. What a revelation! A little girl who loved playing dress-up … imagine that. But even so, while there may have been (and probably were) thousands of other little girls playing dress-up at the exact same times as me, I bet no two of us were dressed exactly alike. That’s part of the beauty of creative play, I think, and it’s a big reason why I spent so much time engaged in activities like dress-up when I was younger. It wasn’t so much about looking pretty as it was about feeling unique … a never-ending quest for originality. You might say that creating a food blog is founded in similar desires. You might.

I bet no one in the world is doing the exact same thing as me right now. I’d think this, as I hopped up and down on one high-heeled foot, crossed my eyes and stuck out my tongue. And I KNOW nobody has a chocolate locket on either … IMG_6454IMG_6420IMG_6441IMG_6474

My chocolate locket. THE chocolate locket. In all my 32 years on this earth, I’m not sure I’ve ever loved a piece of jewelry more (wedding ring excluded, of course). And this is coming from a girl with a penchant for pendants, and the like. A gift from my Grandmother, I regarded this locket as the most beautiful thing I’d ever been lucky enough to wear. I felt so grown up and lovely whenever I had it on. There was such beauty in knowing that my Grandmother had worn it … maybe to fancy parties … or on dates with my Grandfather. Imagining these romantic scenarios made that particular bauble all the more appealing to me, and infinitely precious.

I was only about seven or eight years old when she gave the locket to me, so I wasn’t exactly “courting” any boys at the time. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed and really pondering what photo to put in this most valued of pieces, this new/old locket of mine. I would have just added a friend’s photo, but I wasn’t sure which friend to choose and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I also figured that I would get in big trouble if I took scissors to any family photos, so I erred on the side of caution there. The only thing I really DID know, the thing of which I was positively positive when it came to proper locket wearing, was that you were supposed to “lock” a picture inside of something that you loved very much.


Knowing this rule about lockets, I grabbed a pair of Fiskars scissors and a stack of my Mom’s magazines (Southern Living, People, Traditional Home), and I commenced my hunt for the perfect photo … the perfect chocolate photo. After much deliberation, I settled on a small picture of a slice of chocolate cake that was used in an advertisement for sour cream, of all things. It fit perfectly, I recall thinking proudly as I gazed down at my handiwork. Hence, The Chocolate Locket was born. IMG_6412IMG_6468IMG_6410
I don’t think I ever showed the cake photo to anyone besides my Grandmother, not so much because I was embarrassed by my odd choice, but more because I felt like there should be some sort of mystery involved … that I should conceal its identity, or something. As a fellow chocolate lover, Mimi seemed wholly approving of my photo. I remember standing before the small vanity mirror in her bedroom, watching happily as she fastened the antique clasp for me and with a single approving nod, she gave me a look of utter seriousness, pledging to never tell anyone about the chocolate in my locket. Cross my heart … 

I giggled and we made our way into the kitchen to steal a few pieces of chocolate from her not-so-secret stash (it was all in the microwave), in honor of the chocolate locket, of course.

The locket featured in the photos here is a vintage one that I plan on giving to Elle one of these days, seeing as how she’s got a growing interest in the jewelry I (try to) keep hidden in my bedroom. I’ll lay down the rules for her, those of proper locket wearing, and I’ll let her know that she needs to use a photo of something that she really loves. I’m curious to see what she chooses to lock up in the little gold heart, but if I had to put money on it … I bet it will have something to do with chocolate. Because in Elle’s world, the only thing that has yet to trump a mud pie … is a chocolate one.

She gets it honest, though. When it comes to a love of all things sweet, the apple doesn’t fall far.


Single-Serving Molten Chocolate “Coffee Cup” Cake RECIPE

I find it difficult to articulate just how much I adore this recipe. The simple fact that you can make a delicious, molten, and scratch-made chocolate cake in five minutes (including cooking time) is such a happy thing to me. There are so many days/nights when I find myself wanting something sweet and decadent but I don’t want to put in the time to make an entire batch and wait for (whatever it is) to bake. This is the perfect solution. A few everyday ingredients + a few seconds in the microwave, and you’ve got a coffee mug chocolate cake that will satisfy your cravings, and then some. I have never had people respond so enthusiastically to a recipe before, so it was only a matter of time before it made its way here. This one is special, y’all. Trust me. 



1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons brown sugar (or white, that works as well)

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder (you can use regular cocoa powder if it’s what you’ve already got on hand)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon chocolate chips

Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving



In a 10-oz coffee mug, melt the butter (in the microwave, about 30 seconds or so). When the butter is melted, stir in the milk and brown sugar, using a fork (works best here, I think). Next, stir in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. Add the tablespoon of chocolate chips to the center of the batter, and push down to fully submerge. (NOTE: my friend Jane mentioned that she tried this recipe with peanut butter chips and that it was also really nice, so you could mix it up and try a small caramel, some white chocolate chips, maybe even a small candy bar? Oh the possibilities …)

Microwave the cake for 33 seconds and serve right away (with ice cream!). Now, it is important to note that there is a big difference between microwaves and that it might take some fiddling to figure out the best cook time for your cake. One second can make all the difference, and in my microwave, 32 seconds isn’t quite enough and 34 is a bit too long. So, I suggest starting with 33 seconds adjusting your time as needed. Enjoy!



winter spiced cream scones with chai tea glaze, and a giveaway

Winter Spiced Cream Scones with a Chai Tea GlazeWinter Spiced Cream Scones with a Chai Tea GlazeWinter Spiced Cream Scones with a Chai Tea GlazeWinter Spiced Cream Scones with a Chai Tea GlazeWinter Spiced Cream Scones with a Chai Tea Glaze

I remember the first time I visited a farm – a real working farm. It was on an elementary school field trip, and my young classmates and I couldn’t wait to see the animals and crops up close and personal, live and in living color. The milking cows and goats, the chickens with their strangely colored eggs, the pigs, the rows upon rows of corn, sorghum and tobacco, and the horses. Growing up in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region, I maintained a special affinity for the noble, statuesque creatures grazing proudly in the fields and farms that are so plentiful in that part of the state. At age eight, I was even a card-carrying member of the American Quarter Horse Association.

We filed off of the big yellow school bus, my classmates and I, and we trampled down a long dirt road that led to “the farm.” Thirty-something second and third graders all chomping at the bit (so to speak) just to check everything out. I even wore special boots for the occasion. There were corn shucking contests, egg races, and cow milking lessons that concluded with tastings of fresh sweet cream butter, passed around a long farmhouse table in small handmade crocks. I was utterly smitten with the whole thing. I have a similar crock in my kitchen now, and I rarely use it without thinking about that time at the farm and the simple but lasting sensory experiences that colored the entire day.

I was captivated by the foods I shared with my friends and teachers; the butter, the cheeses, the fresh deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. The fact that I could see exactly where my food was coming from was such a profoundly special and eye-opening experience. But perhaps more poignantly, for me, were the people I saw on the farm that day, the workers whose responsibility it was to keep things running so people like me could eat every single day. It struck me as very important and very cool. Continue reading

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squid ink spaghetti aglio e olio with ghost chili salt

Squid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili Salt

Squid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili Salt Squid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili SaltSquid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili Salt

Squid Ink Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ghost Chili Salt RECIPE

I typically try to keep my posting frequency here on H & H to once a week, but I couldn’t let Halloween come and go without giving it a nod of some sort, and this has got to be my favorite dish to make on this most macabre of holidays. It’s got spookiness in spades – black pasta, extra garlic (vampires beware), ghost chili salt – and it is really simple and fast to put together. The ghost chili salt is a blend that I got from Jacobsen Salt Co. out of Portland and you can easily order some and have it shipped to you as well. But if that’s too much hassle, just use regular flaked sea salt. No harm, no foul.

As for the squid ink pasta, it’s something that I’ve seen in both Whole Foods and Fresh Market, and just about any Italian specialty store will have it in stock. It is easily found online as well, and just requires a little bit of planning in advance if that’s the route you choose to take. The pasta itself is a little pricey, due to the amazing squid ink with which it is filled, but the rest of the recipe’s ingredients cost next to nothing (literally).

Happy Halloween, everyone!



1 lb. squid ink pasta (this is almost a non-recipe, and you can adapt the ingredients to the amount of pasta you want)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 – 2 teaspoons red chili flakes

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus extra for the pasta water

Ghost chili salt to finish (or flaked sea salt)


FIll a large pot with water (not to the top), and add a couple tablespoons of Kosher salt to the water. Continue cooking the pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, chopped garlic, chili flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir and cook gently, not allowing the garlic to brown at all (this changes the flavor and causes bitterness). This should only take a few minutes, as you’re just infusing the flavors here. When the pasta is cooked, transfer it to the pan with the oil using tongs (no need to drain it, just add it straight to the oil). Toss to coat and serve with a sprinkling of the ghost chili salt (or flaked sea salt).

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leave it to the trees


I had a favorite tree when I was in college. It was a lush, shady specimen under which I would sit – sprawled out on the grass, books spilling out of my bag – with the boy on whom I had the most devastating of crushes. Under the shade of that tree, set to the subtle but unforgettable soundtrack created by its rustling leaves, I would listen to this boy read excerpts from books and poems that he loved.

she walks in beauty, like the night

of cloudless climes and starry skies;

and all that’s best of dark and bright

meet in her aspect and her eyes;

thus mellowed to that tender light

which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Byron. Shelley. Keats. To a romantic-leaning 19-year-old liberal arts school girl, it really didn’t get much better than that. This is just like the movies! I’d sit and think, totally content with my current station in life, under that tree. We went our separate ways, eventually, that boy and I. But even so, I still managed to steal some peaceful moments between classes under that tree, “The Poetry Tree,” as my friends teasingly called it. I usually swapped the poems out for a sandwich though, if we’re being honest here. Not nearly as romantic, but a satisfying swap nonetheless. Continue reading

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a double-decker club, a triple chocolate cookie, and the road trip that wasn’t

Smoky "Barbecue" Club Sandwich with Barbecue-Spiced Bacon and Barbecue Mayo and Triple Chocolate Brownie CookiesIMG_5829

“Someday girl I don’t know when 
we’re gonna get to that place 
where we really wanna go, 
and we’ll walk in the sun. 
But till then tramps like us 
baby we were born to run …” IMG_5737Smoky "Barbecue" Club Sandwich with Barbecue-Spiced Bacon and Barbecue Mayo

Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” played on repeat throughout the entirety of our 6-day cross-country road trip. If not from the car’s actual speakers, then most definitely inside my head. It seemed a befitting soundtrack to what I was sure would be a grand adventure. Lucas and I packed up our belongings and crammed them into my small silver Hyundai (the “diet coke can on wheels” as I often called it) and we set out for the West Coast. This six-day road trip across the country bookended our 3-month stay in Portland (three days getting there, three days getting home) where we lived with my most hospitable and ever-welcoming family so Lucas could do some research and I could do some exploring. From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters, we were just a couple of kids setting out on the long, open, American roads to see what this great country of ours had in store. That was the idea, at least. Romantic. Spirited. Admirable. However, such was not the case for us on our cross-country adventure. We explored no forests, swam in nary a body of water, took zero photos in front of “the world’s biggest ball of twine” – none of that. Thanks to some miscalculations, unpredictable Montana forest fires, and some strict deadlines, Lucas and I made it all the way across the US of A and back without seeing much of anything – at least not the “supposed to’s” –  those bucket list places that you’re just supposed to see before you die.

Save for a quick but highly successful stop at Mt. Rushmore, we zoomed along and eventually became impressed with ourselves for how bad our planning had been. It was so bad, it was actually impressive. We pulled up to Yellowstone just as things were shutting down for the day, stopping long enough to use the restroom near the park’s entrance. At least I can say that I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park, though. My claim might be based purely on a technicality, but I’ll take it. We flew through the entirety of the Idaho portion of our trip when it was too dark to see anything. I hear it’s a great state though; a real stunning place. I even had my “Idaho? No You Da Ho!” shirt on just for the occasion. That flashback brings with it a hint of embarrassment, I’ll admit. Oh, the things we think are great when we’re in our early twenties …

I never even got to enjoy playing, “Badlands” in the actual Badlands, which was a silly yet unquestionable must-do for me on our road trip. The Diet Coke Can on Wheels transported us swiftly through that most intriguing section of our country in the dead of night. Seriously?!? I remember thinking. We couldn’t see a thing. What a couple of morons. Still though, Bruce belted out the tune and I opened my window to breathe in the fresh Badlands air as we passed through them. Better luck next time, I suppose. We’ll be back someday. 

This road trip of ours wasn’t a total loss though. We’ll always have Rushmore! I thought this, as we pulled into our Norfolk, VA neighborhood on the last day of our trip. We had a fantastic time, enjoyed great weather throughout (almost) the entirety of our journey and listened to a better-than-average book on tape. Oh, and I won the lottery. There was also that.  Continue reading

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sweet apple-berry and granola gratin with a rosemary-honeyed yogurt

IMG_5596 Sweet Apple-Berry & Granola Gratin with a Rosemary Honey YogurtIMG_5685 IMG_5691 Sweet Apple-Berry & Granola Gratin with a Rosemary Honey YogurtIMG_5712 IMG_5617

October 8, 2014

The Fall apple orchard is such a great equalizer. Who doesn’t love an apple picking trip? My recent orchard excursion with my little family brought out the eavesdropper in me, I’ll admit. As my husband, daughter, and I entered the vast field of trees, bespeckled with its ruby colored fruit, I couldn’t help but notice the impressive diversity of apple pickers all around us, and I may or may not have listened in on a few conversations. I lingered around a little longer than usual as I perused the selection of fruit, playing it off like I just couldn’t decide which apples were destined for my little brown basket, and I gained a real appreciation for the overwhelming adoration that is generated by a simple, unassuming apple orchard. Everyone was happy; clearly enthusiastic about their choice of Sunday afternoon activities, as was I. From vintage-clad hipsters clamoring for the best apples with which to infuse their homemade gin and tonics to large families who had made the trip from afar to enjoy the scenery, sunshine, and festivities –  people all around me were singing the same song, just with slightly different tunes. My favorite orchard observation of the day, however, goes to the lovely elderly woman who was meticulously combing through bushels of pre-picked apples to determine which ones would make the best contribution to her soon-to-be apple pie.

“It’s a county fair prize-winning recipe!” She told me, pride escaping from her kind eyes. This was a non-eavesdropped deduction, as I actually did engage in a small conversation with her. She had slightly weathered hands that undoubtedly had crafted many a pie and while I did not ask, I’m going to entertain the notion that most of them had taken up residence on a windowsill in her kitchen. Because in my humble pie opinion, a windowsill is the best place for one. People just don’t do that enough anymore, do they? You’d better believe that the mile-high pie I plan to make with my apples will reside on my windowsill during the entirety of its short existence. A windowsill pie carries with it a little something special, almost like it’s on stage. Cakes can have their stands and fancy plates. But I’ll take a no fuss, no frills windowsill pie any day. Continue reading


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