Apple, Date, and Pecan Pie
Many years ago, I attended an afternoon party held at the home of a lady from the Ashland Rotary Club. My husband was at work and he had suggested that I go to the party to meet some of the other members of the club. However, once I got there I realized that I didn’t know anyone and felt a little bit uncomfortable. I think I was hanging out by the food table when Chet came over to me and said something like, “Are you famous?” It was a silly question but it made me laugh and helped me relax and enjoy the party.
For the last few years, I have spent time with Chet, Donna, and other Rotarians at the Rotary Garden. It’s been such a great experience growing fresh vegetables for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank – and the camaraderie that develops as a result is pretty special too.
Last year at the garden, Donna told me that she had been inspired by my pie project (See Day 177). I was honored that she was moved to do something nice for someone that she had never met… and she seemed delighted too!
Last month, on Donna’s birthday, she brought some of her special Lemon Posset to my house. It was incredibly delicious and I loved that she included me in her birthday celebration.
Today I brought Chet and Donna a Dutch Apple Pie enhanced with dates and pecans. I want to thank them for welcoming me way back then… and also for their continued friendship. It means a lot to me.
Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
Yesterday I had a few pleasant surprises. In the morning I received two phone calls from friends asking if I was going to be home. They both said that they were just going to “drop something off.” Hmmm… I wondered, what could that mean?
A short time later the doorbell rang. There at the door was my friend Donna. She handed me a box and said “Happy Birthday!” What? “But Donna, today isn’t my birthday…” She looked at me and smiled and said, “I know that… it’s my birthday.” Donna reminded me that last year I had made her birthday cake… and this time she wanted to share a special treat with me. She calls it “Lemon Posset” and it is absolutely delicious! It tastes like lemon curd mixed with whipped cream… really incredible. What a delightful way to celebrate her birthday!
A short while later, the doorbell rang again. This time it was my friend JoAnn. She had brought with her a brown paper bag which she then handed to me. Inside were many of the ingredients for making one of my favorite treats, Pecan Pie. JoAnn said that she wanted to do something to support my pie journey and sensed that I really liked making Pecan Pies… which is true. What a wonderful gift and how generous of her to go shopping for me! I am very grateful for her thoughtfulness.
The last surprise of the day came in the afternoon when a friend called to offer us tickets to “The White Snake” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was a great show and a nice way to end a day of surprises. And just when I thought I’d received more than my share of blessings, this morning the doorbell rang. It was my neighbor Jae offering me tickets to another show at the festival! How lucky can one person get?
With so much goodness going on, it just seemed right to share some of my good fortune… in the form of a pie of course… with the Ashland High School Nordic Team as they prepare to compete at the State Finals this weekend. I send them all my very best wishes for realizing their personal bests and creating some very happy memories.
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens
A long time ago I worked at a restaurant in Ashland. One day the owner told me that we needed to replace a piece of equipment. He asked me to call a friend of his who sold equipment and to order it. Before I did that I found the model number and all of the details that I could locate and when that was done, I called his friend.
When I described the piece of equipment, the friend said he knew what we needed and that the machine in question was going to cost $800. That sounded like a lot of money to me and I told him that I would tell the owner and get back to him. And then I opened the phone book to the yellow pages and found the restaurant equipment section. Under that heading I saw this name “Curtis Restaurant Equipment”. I thought, “What the heck?” and called the number.
When the salesperson, Cheryl, answered the phone I told her what I was looking for and gave her all of the pertinent information. In a few moments she came back on the line and gave me a quote of $425. I thought I’d made a mistake and repeated the information once again and she confirmed that the quote was correct. “Can you fax a photo of the machine to me please?” I asked so that I could make sure that we were talking about the same item. When the fax came through I was amazed. My boss’ friend wanted to charge me nearly $400 more for the very same machine than this woman whom I did not know at all.
Of course, I ordered the machine from Curtis. I was extremely impressed with their prices and with their service… and was very pleased to receive a note card from them “thanking me” for my purchase. What a classy company!
This all happened many years ago… but memories like this are hard to forget. I have been a fan of Curtis ever since and will always recommend them. And to thank them for being good, honest, caring people I brought an Almond Pear Cheesecake Pie to the staff – Rod (and Donna), Cheryl, Krystal, and Alex. My sincere thanks to all of you for your emphasis on customer service. It is very much appreciated.
My neighbor’s sister Jane visits from Canada a few times each year. They are both gardeners and often spend a lot of time on some kind of garden project. In fact, recently they decided to spend a day creating a clear path between our two homes – and that meant digging up plants and moving heavy paving stones. By days end, they had created a lovely pathway – for which I am very grateful.
We did not have too much time to visit with Jane this time around and she is preparing to leave tomorrow to head home and so I decided that today’s pie would be for Jane – and her family in Canada. This makes it the second international pie! Jane promised me that she would place it in the back of her vehicle so that she would not be tempted to eat it before she gets home. This is a photo of the pie that will accompany her to British Colombia.
Tonight while shopping for apples for this pie I ran into my friend Donna. We chatted about what was going on in our lives and then she said, “You inspired me to do something.” Now of course I thought that she had decided to make a pie but that was not what she meant. Seems she was out buying local corn and decided to buy a few extra ears for her friend. However, when she got to her friend’s house, she noticed her car was not there and was turning to leave when she noticed the house where another friend used to live. That friend had long since moved away, but today there was a car in the driveway and so Donna pulled up to the house and went to the door and knocked. When the person answered she introduced herself and told the folks where she lived and then asked if they liked corn. Well, it turns out they did like corn and so Donna gave them the extra ears that she had bought.
Donna said that she had been inspired to reach out to a new neighbor and to welcome them because of my pie project. I am honored that she thinks that I did something… but all I really did was to suggest what we could do. We don’t have to move mountains to make a difference … we just need to be present with each other. And Donna took that idea and made a few new friends with a couple of ears of corn. It’s as simple, and as amazing, as that.
Today my friend Donna was returning after a busy month of traveling abroad and I thought that she might appreciate a fresh apple pie to welcome her home. I started out the day by rolling out my crust and then peeling the apples for the filling.
One of the recipes that I found while I was researching for this blog was named after someone’s grandma. Seems this grandma cooked up a syrup instead of mixing the apples with sugar, flour and cinnamon, and then poured it over the apples in the pie crust. So today I made a syrup with butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and apple juice and tossed it with the sliced apples and then arranged them in the crust. Oh, and I also tossed in a cup or so of sliced almonds.
The pie took about an hour and fifteen minutes to bake but when it came out of the oven, it really looked delicious. The apples and the almonds were lightly browned and the crust was practically perfect! I was anxious to deliver this pie for I was very pleased with how it had turned out.
Early this evening I went to Donna’s house and brought her the pie. She was delighted to receive it and asked if I was doing a fundraiser. I told her that this “project” was more along the lines of a gratitude journal with food and I left her to settle in. I hope that Donna is able to get some rest and am very grateful for her presence in the world. Friends like her are really great to have around!