Though a few weeks delayed, I feel it would violate all rules of blogging etiquette if I were to promise to compose an entry on a particular topic, and then never fulfill said promise.
There are times that I mysteriously forget that I go to college in a quaint New England town, which embraces all sorts of beautiful little traditions, including the yearly celebration of the Fall Equinox. This year Wellesley decided to conduct a musical tree tour, linking the plants that grace the college’s botantical gardens to musical numbers, performed by men and women who do not face the same challenges I do in holding a tune.
Now normally I would see an advertisement containing the words “trees” and “grass” and proceed to run towards the nearest slab of concrete. After all, my true home is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. But something about this particular ad caught my eye– perhaps it was the promise of warm, caffeinated autumn flavored beverages. Or, perhaps it was the prospect of engaging in impromptu fruit picking beneath apple and cherry trees. Regardless, I mustered up enough energy, ala my new drink of choice: anything that is sized vente, and convinced my favorite Asian, Allison, to accompany me on said Magical Mystical Tree Tour.
Of course, not being accostumed to spending time out doors and in the presence of plants, I did not wear appropriate attire. I assumed that a light fall skirt and flip flops would suffice– both in terms of warmth and protection from insects. Not surprisingly, I was wrong on both accounts. Not only did I feel the tingly sensation that precedes frost bite, but I also faced the wrath of several large scale mosquitoes, who left my legs looking like an astronomy lesson in identifying constellations.
There were perks, though. Perks that made me regret dropping Horticulture as a sophomore, and may ironically result in me auditing Horticulture as a second-semester senior in the spring. First, the ladies beneath the apple tree, who in addition to supplying crunchy Gala apples, performed a little ditty from 1942 known as “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me).” Ah, love in the 1940s– characterized by romantic rendezvous in the gardens, rather than cyber-stalking on the internet.
After Allison and I experienced the wonders of the Andrews Sisters (the performers of the aforementioned song), we journeyed onto the cherry tree, under which I was introduced to the wonders of dried cherries. Now I will be the first to admit it– I have an addiction to dried fruit, particularly mango, dates, and pineapple, and particularly those fruits when acquired from a certain Spanish market place. However, given that Europe is no longer my backyard, I have taken to indulging in the finest dried fruits Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have to offer. And now, after my encounter with dried cherries, I have a new addition to my shopping list.
The highlight of my brief encounter with nature, however, was a less healthy alternative to fruit. In fact, it was one of those moments I could imagine my grandmother sighing and then saying, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” It happened beneath the maple tree. And though I no longer can recall the specific song associated with maple, as I was introduced to the edible delight known as maple cookies, “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” played distinctly in the foreground of my mind.
The maple cookie is your standard high-glucose baked goods, but with maple syrup. And being as how said syrup is derived from trees unique to New England, it is only natural to apply the wonders of the sugary sap to my new favorite comfort food: the maple cookie.
Inspired, I adapted the recipe, or conducted an experiment of the culinary kind. Upon consulting a new adorable blog about country bumpkins, entitled “I Live on A Farm,” I came across an improved version of the cookie– maple AND peanut butter. And let me just say, I haven’t smiled this much since Starbucks came out with its whimsical holiday red cups. Happy Fallidays!