October is here. I absolutely love the fall. In fact, so much so, that I get a bit offended if people aren’t in complete agreement with me of its magnificence. I love the coolness in the air and the aged, earthy smell of the blustery breezes. I love the grey, bullying clouds playing hide and seek with the warm, happy sun in the October sky. In our own front yard, our beloved Mother Maple tree creates the most vivid yellow leaves imaginable this season. And when the sunshine dances on her fading, falling leaves, well, it is breathtaking.
I truly love all things fall – bonfires, football games, homecoming parades, chili, soups, pot pies, hot cider, tea and chocolate, sweaters, fall coats, down comforters, gingerbread, custard, warm ovens, crock pots, caramel apples, hot bubble baths and lots of lots of pie…
Eat Pie, Love Life and Fall…Linda xo
I was completely humbled and elated when my former high school A.P. English teacher, Mr. Spagnuolo, walked into my cute, little pie shop. He truly looked the same to me with the exception of his unfortunate Parkinson’s disease affecting his gait and balance. His smile was sweet and tender and his voice was calming and sure, just as it was almost thirty years ago. But, his big gift, his words and his wisdom were as profound, sound and as addictive to me as they were so many years ago.
Mr. Spag, as he was fondly referred to, introduced me to the written word, our vernacular, non-fiction, fiction and classic characters, writers, poets, and other worlds; a whole beautiful utopia of how words can change people and ultimately, the way we choose to live. He taught me to examine, imagine, create, articulate, work hard, be passionate, believe and dream.
He inspired me.
He believed in me.
Truly, many people affect how we create our own life, and make no mistake we do create our own life. However, sometimes certain people carve their initials into our souls and enable us to see our potential, our gifts and our own utopia. Mr. Spag did this for me. He told me I was smart and that if I worked hard that I could accomplish much. He told me I had gifts. He told me to dream. He believed in me. I was astounded that a man of his merit thought all of this of me, little Linda McComb (Hundt.)
His years of teaching me and his few sentences literally changed my way of thinking, instead of reading and dreaming of all the other worlds, I knew that I had what it takes to create my own. And, I did, in retrospect, exactly what he taught me to. I dreamed, I created, I used my passion and gifts and I worked hard, very hard, to create the life I want and the world I want to live in, to share with my family and friends and now my customers.
I have a guest book at my shop that customers write in, expressing their feelings for the shop, email addresses etc. People are so gracious, and have written such lovely things about their experience at my bakery-café, Sweetie-licious, and I appreciate each and every comment. However, never was I more pleased when Mr. Spag wrote a few sentences down in my little red book despite his ailing hands. When I read what he wrote, it brought tears to my eyes.
Some people dream. Some make theirs come true. Hugh Spagnuolo I promise you, if I had not been blessed to have you as my English teacher all those years ago, I would not be everything I am today nor, everything I will be tomorrow.
Eat pie, inspire others… xo Linda
Oh, to can or not to can? Without fail, each year the thought of canning seems a bit overwhelming to me. Make no mistake; canning is clearly tedious work and probably a tiny bit old-fashioned for some. However, there is no comparison to the fresh flavor and self gratification of canning your very own.
I remember my mother “putting up” quarts of peaches, pickles, tomatoes and jams every year, as did my Aunt Margie and Grandma Ferrell. While visiting my grandmother I remember going down to the cellar to bring up jam for breakfast with both excitement and anxiousness. For a little girl, the cellar was indeed a damp, dark and scary place. However, once the light was turned on, my heart was happy, as I remember shelves of colorful jars of fruits, vegetables and jams aligned perfectly, showcasing their bountiful, ordered beauty. For my elder homemakers, the full pantry was not only a sense of pride and order, but also a true sense of security. For during their time, canning was a necessity to get though the poor, long Depression winters.
After buying our farmette some 15 years ago, I found myself in a “canningpolooza” quite suddenly. For the tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, raspberries, peach and apple trees are not patient fruits and vegetables. For when they are ripe and ready, so must you be. It was an adjustment to find time for it all at first, but something I had looked forward doing since watching my mother can so long ago. As years passed, it became as part of my summer traditions as planting flowers and going up north. In fact, I often canned on our week family vacation on Lake Louise! My family loved my homemade jars of joy to eat and to give away as special gifts.
My pantry isn’t as bursting as it once was, as my time at the shop keeps me from “putting up” as much as I used to. However, I am thrilled to say, that for the first time since my farm market days, I am selling my delicious herb-infused jams on-line and eventually at the store.
As for the question, to can, or not to can, my sentimental message is clear, I urge all “to can”. For the contentment of carrying on an American tradition, along with the pride and joy that canning evokes is truly priceless.
Xoxo Linda – -Eat pie, can and keep traditions.
*The charming pantry picture enclosed is of my webmaster Gail’s ” jars of joyfulness”!
Happy Birthday to one of our most beloved of culinary personalities, Julia Child!
I have very fond memories of watching Julia on our black and white television set with my mother in the late 1960's. While mommy ironed our clothes downstairs in our family rec-room, I would sometimes pretend I was Julia and cook with my play dishes and Easybake oven. Mostly though, I was fascinated with the food she made, so I watched very closely while she created her magic with roast chicken and cheese soufflés. However, she never made enough desserts for sweet-toothed me, and I would always be a tad disappointed by the end of the show... BUT because her food always looked so lovely, I never let my brothers turn the channel to Gilligan's Island!
As I look back, it clearly was her passion for food and humble, kind persona that charmed us all. As one of America's first celebrity chefs, she wasn't arrogant and full of her own pedigree, money, or social status. She was just smiling Julia, doing what she loved, sharing her gifts with others, and understanding the importance of delicious food in our lives. I think we all should be more like Julia.
Eat Pie and Love Life xoxolinda