At ground level

A column about LIFE

Friendship and Apple Pie

Friends gathered again at my home this past Monday. It was a workday, but I didn’t mind. We were planning to just meet at a restaurant and have dinner, but one of them suggested my place. She said she liked my place a lot because it is “so cozy.”

With that said, how could I turn them down? I love having friends over! So on Sunday, I made apple pie – it’s actually an apple galette that I make these days. I call it a “lazy man’s apple pie.” It’s become my signature dessert, along with my strawberry pie. (I had just made six galettes a couple of weeks ago for my brother in-law’s 50th birthday celebration!)

As I peeled and sliced the apples for two pies, I thought about the first time I made pie in a farm in the Midwest. Back then I even made my pie crust from scratch. Oh, was it ever so good – better than any crust you can buy in the store today. “Never Fail Pie Crust,” my recipe is called. Indeed, it never failed me. Since then I have made hundreds of apple pies. We had several apple trees on the farm, so in the Fall, we would make dozens, freeze them, and take them out in the winter and bake them. Warm apple pie was always a delicious treat on a cold winter day when family or friends would gather in our home.

As I mixed the flour, sugar and cinnamon for the filling, I looked around my kitchen and wished it was larger. I missed my house in the Midwest. It was much, much larger than the box I live in now. When friends gathered, we had more space – a dining room, a large kitchen with signature appliances, a large deck, a family room. I missed my three-season porch! I imagined gathering there with my friends, or hanging out in our basement, which was fully finished, with yet another family room, ping-pong and billiards and another bathroom.

As I plopped the apple mixture on the crust and sprinkled streusel on top of the mixture, a feeling of inadequacy came over me. When guests come to my house we have to squeeze in the dining-living area and make do with only one tiny, old bathroom, no air-conditioner on hot days, and a very weak furnace on cold days.

As I placed the pies in the oven and washed the dishes while they baked, I fretted about not having a dishwasher and how my guests often have to help me wash the dishes.

The next day, I welcomed six friends into my home. We had an array of food – Thai pad thai, chicken satay, pineapple fried rice, curry, shrimp cocktail, even two kinds of special chicken adobo, stir fry shrimp and vegetables, a friend’s signature mango bars, and my apple and strawberry pies. The evening was dominated by so much laughter and constant shrieks. Our very loud voices filled the air. I was half expecting the neighbor at the back to knock on the door and complain, like he did when we had a similar gathering last summer and were up till 2:30 in the morning!

As I observed the laughter and the enjoyment on my friends’ faces, I realized all the things I fretted about my place didn’t matter to my friends. They really liked coming to my house, even if it is a box and just has one bathroom.

At 12:30 a.m., reluctantly, I announced that I had to shoo them away. They needed to go home since two of us had work the next day and one still had to take a couple of them home and head all the way to Benicia!

The next day they e-mailed their thanks. One friend wrote: “Rose, the ‘Grand Central station’ & hostess w/ the mostest.” I was touched.

A couple of them had these kind words to say:

“… Your place is very nice and relaxing to hang out.”

“Love your place because it’s cozy. We can all sit around your table and walang sagabal (no impediment)! And your bathroom does the job for what we need…huwag lang sabay-sabay (just as long as we don’t need to use it at the same time)! Lol!”

It really doesn’t matter how small or big your place is, as long as friends find it inviting and a comfortable place to hang out. True friends don’t care about the trimmings, especially at this age when all of us have gone through the wringer of life and realize what is important and what is not.

And the apple pies? All gone. The few pieces left were taken home in a container for someone’s lunch the next day, or for a spouse to taste.

True friendship and apple pie. It is a good combination. Of course, we had wine, too!

April 8, 2011 - Posted by | Friendship, Life |

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