This week I began the arduous task of sorting through all my stuff before the movers come and take it all away. Yes, I know I still have until January, but time seems to fly by these days, and I don’t like to feel rushed. I plan to do a little each day over the next 12 weeks in order to ease myself into things.
I’m hoping somewhere along the way, my mind will also ease into the idea that I’m actually leaving San Diego. This has still been a daily struggle for me. Denial pops up everywhere, and usually results in tears once reality sets in again.
Last night, while going through my storage closet, I found a doll my aunt made for me when I was a kid. It’s a Cabbage Patch Kid-like doll. We could never afford the real thing, so my awesome aunt made one for me. I named her Chris after my cousin’s girlfriend at the time.
Classic kid move.
Generally I’m not one to hang on to a lot of stuff, but I was pretty stoked when I unearthed this doll.
Instinctively, the first thing I did was hug it tightly to my chest, and the wildest thing happened. It was almost as if that squeeze transported me back in time. The most familiar, comforting feeling washed over me, and I instantly felt secure. For a split second I honestly felt like my 6 year old self again.
It was such a strange, out of body experience, and I can’t really stop thinking about it.
This also got me thinking about senses, time and memories. There are so many mundane things in our lives that trigger memories and emotions. Songs are an obvious one, but food, smells, and images can all have the same effect.
The smell of Vaseline intensive care lotion will forever make me think of my mom.
Burnt toast and cornflakes cause flashing memories of my grandparent’s kitchen in Pennsylvania.
The sound of a loon call instantly takes me back to dark evenings sleeping on the screened porch of our cabin with my little brother.
For many, pie baking can be a memory trigger. Using a rolling pin for the first time, or turning one of those table top, clamp-on apple peelers are all things that pop up when I think pie. My neighbors would have us kids climb their apple tree to pick the out of reach apples, then send us home with bushels that my mom would turn into pie.
This skillet apple cheddar pie is a bit different that what my mom would make, but it’s honestly the best pie I’ve ever made so it’s a delicious win even without a specific memory in tow.
What I’m starting to see is that no matter where I go, all of these sensory induced memories will forever follow me. They live deep inside my mind and my heart. I’m sure some day I’ll be walking along in NorCal and a feeling will hit me so strongly that will instantly take me back to my glorious beachy life in San Diego.
I suppose that’s something to look forward to. Until then, I’ll happily eat this pie and flashback to other, long-forgotten moments in my life.
- 2½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoons chilled Kerrygold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 5 ounces Kerrygold aged cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
- about ⅔ cup ice water
- Combine flour, salt, shortening, butter and cheese in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, work mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add ice water, one tablespoon at a time until dough begins to come together. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Divide dough in half and roll out until each portion until you have 2 discs ½ inch larger than your skillet.
- In a large bowl combine apples, granulated sugar, boiled cider, and filling enhancer. Stir until fully combined.
- Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and place 1 piecrust in skillet over brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over piecrust, and top with remaining piecrust.Fold edges over and crimp to seal.
- Brush top of the piecrust with beaten egg and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Cut a few slits to allow steam to escape. Bake for 60-70 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Cover pie with aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking if crust gets too brown (I did not need to do this with my oven)**Be sure to place a sheet pan under the skillet in the oven to catch drips!!!**
- Cool for 30 minutes before slicing.