05 November 2012

to peel an apple

A challenge on a Saturday afternoon: to peel six apples for an apple crisp.

Somewhere, I'm sure, there is a machine or even a little tool for making apple peeling easier {dare I say "more appealing"?}.

We live in an age of specialized kitchen gadgets, some of them with no particular name, even. There's that plastic thing to help you poach an egg—what is that called?

Or there's an avocado slicer or an asparagus peeler or a thingamajig to make it easier to peel garlic.

To step into a kitchen store now is to step into a world where even your unknown needs are taken care of, if only you could find space for all these things in your cupboards.

But when you get down to it, what you need for cooking is what we've always had: heat, water, your hands, a spoon, and a knife. The rest is just bonus, a way to make the task easier, or, in the case of some kitchen gadgets of today, a way to make even an easy task more expensive.

I have to apple peeler, but I have a small, sharp knife and a competitive spirit.

Both of these are essential: the knife, of course, but the competitive spirit to keep this repetitive task interesting. Can I get all the skin off in one long, twirling peel?

Is this something I should be aspiring to?

I say: but of course. In practicing this skill, I get to make many apple crisps and apple crumbles and apple pies and apple tarts. To eat well of the fall's harvest—now that is an aspiration.

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