White Dog wasn't too sure my plan would work. But I knew for certain the original scheme was just not going to cut it. It was one of those insistent momma moments.
Many years ago Steve bought for me a fancy gadget that bolts onto the counter edge and with a spindle and crank quickly peels, cores and slices an apple into rounds. Great in principle but I can never get the silly thing to consistently do its job. If the apple is at all irregular in shape the spring loaded peeler skips or gets stuck peeling the same spot over and over.
And so it was today. I had the patience for two attempts then called for my paring knife. White Dog looked incredulous. "You have 70 apples to peel, core, and cut," she reminded me. "Use the machine; it is much faster."
"It is NOT faster if it takes me 20 minutes of fussing to get one done," I fumed. So Steve obliged me...box of apples on the left of the little table (to which I taped a plastic garbage bag to hold peelings), paring knife in hand and tall stock pot on the right of me on the floor. Steve knew not to argue but WD continued to sigh at my shoulder. Once I was set to go, Steve headed to the grocery and left me to the task at hand.
I was most worried about Zsofia and her habit of wanting to sample everything in sight. But she was too curious to eat; she laid at my feet looking up under the tray and watching with fascination. She was rewarded with a small chunk of fruit.
Sachi was the one who wanted to lick every apple quarter I tossed in the pot. Fortunately my stock pot is too tall and at the beginning, not full enough for my Little Man to reach the apples. It frustrated him for a while but a peeling scrap to gnaw upon finally convinced him to nap on the chair. Yo, my true fruit and veggie gourmet, sat politely asking for a sample. I cut and cored half an apple and gave it to him. He returned to his place at the hearth, happy to munch his treat.
Puff did not like having to sit on the OTHER side of the stock pot unable to touch my foot with her paw. My soon sticky hands did not allow for petting so I kept up a steady conversation with her as a means of connection. Bella, under the chair, would reach out a paw from under every so often to tap the pot.
Taiko had the hardest time. First, Steve had left him in the yard too long and the Tender Heart was panicking when Candace brought him in. Then he came rushing over to bury his head in my lap only to find me behind a barricade. I quickly opened a passage that allowed him to press against my legs between the table and I as I worked. He rested contentedly, reassured, and did not care what I was doing above him.
White Dog continued to watch. I knew she was silently counting my progress. It was drudge work but I remembered a book I once read where it was believed that your attitude or mood when you cook gets infused in the food you prepare. Since these apples were for Christmas, it was important that they carry the spirit of love and care and the joy of giving...that was my focus. By the time Steve returned, I was down to seven apples remaining...and I finished well before he had unpacked things into the larder.
My reward was two-fold: White Dog's quiet, "You are awesome, momma!" and the smell of apples and spices simmering most of the afternoon.