Peachy

June 26,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

A very good friend of mine flew in from Rochester, New York yesterday to spend a long weekend with us. I haven't seen her since 2001, when Scott and I packed up 12-month old L., the cat, houseplants, suitcases, and a high chair into our old Dodge minivan and drove south, leaving behind those graduate school days, and too many friendships. The other day I looked through an old photo album, trying to find some pictures of this friend to show the kids. I was looking for one in particular: in it my friend J. is sitting on our old couch, holding a tiny, brand-new L. in her arms. "See!" I showed it to L. "You have met her before." I know he doesn't remember--but I do, and that's what counts. I hoard the memories for my children, pulling them out from time to time, with stories attached. I haven't met my friend's two children yet, and I hope to soon. I still dream about that road trip we'll take, the four of us, back to Rochester. We'll load up the kids and the dog and some suitcases and drive north again. I imagine showing L. the hospital where he was born, and the apartment we brought him home to. I imagine taking the kids along familiar roads again, and to once-loved spots: our favorite restaurants, the towpath along the Erie Canal, the Lake Ontario beaches, the sidewalk where L. took his first steps. I'd even like to find that little corner of the woods where we sprinkled the ashes of our other cat--a mangy stray we took in for too short a time, before poor health claimed her, a year before L. was conceived. The kids know the story of the cat, and many, many other stories of a time that to them remains a mystery; the stuff of dinnertime stories, and ever-fading photos. ************ I've been racking my brain for lots of southern tastes to share with my friend during her visit. Yesterday T. and I made a trip to the Farmer's Market, where we loaded up on fresh okra, peaches, corn, string beans, and, of course, a watermelon. I made a peach pie yesterday--with fresh peaches. The first I've ever made. I love making fruit pies--I think a fresh pie is still one of my favorite desserts. I've made plenty of apple pies, even a pear pie, cherry pies, yet I have never made a fresh peach one. Fresh Peach Pie * I used a prepared pie crust--one crust for the shell, then I cut the top crust into strips for a lattice. 8 large ripe but firm peaches (I forgot to count how many I used, but I think it was close to 8) 3/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine Preheat the oven to 400. The peaches will be MUCH easier to peel if you scald them first. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water to keep nearby. While you're waiting for the water to boil, make a criss-cross mark with a knife at the base of each peach (on the pointed side). When the water has boiled, drop the peaches in and leave them for only a few minutes. Scoop them out (be careful--they'll be hot!) and place them in the bowl of ice water. Drain and peel the peaches (the skin should just fall away if you scalded them beforehand). Mix the peaches with the sugar, lemon juice, and flour. Toss well and let stand for about 5 minutes. Pour the peach mixture into the pie shell, dot the filling with butter or margarine, then top the pie with the second crust and bake for 30 minutes at 400. You might want to place a sheet of foil under the rack with the pie, to prevent the juices from burning the oven. After 30 minutes reduce the heat to 375 and cover the edges of the crust loosely with foil. PeachesReady to peelMixingReady for the crustPeachyHappy Weekend!