This is not the tattoo.
I like to brag about our neighbors because they are really the best ones a young ill-mannered couple could hope for and also because we spent some time with the worst neighbors a young couple could imagine back in the day and so I feel that we are due.
I'm sure you agree.
Also, these neighbors aren't racist assholes, so that helps.
Anyway, these awesome neighbors (who are different from the awesome neighbors who helped us schlep 3 cubic yards of dirt and mulch across the street and different still from the neighbors who gave us the best tomato cages in all the land) came by on Sunday with a surprise awesome gift.
They called this an "Apple-Warming Gift", as we have an apple tree, three years the junior of their apple tree, and ours has yet to produce a blossom.
Sure - it's only been in the ground for nary a year and we were assured that after a year of establishment we could hope for blossoms, but you know, the neighbors felt that an awesome surprise Apple-Warming Gift would help solidify our chances.
We're not too worried yet, because he's still in the 95% percentile for height, or whatever those measurements are that parents of human children use to rate their kids against other kids to decide if they're normal.
Guess what, folks - they're not! They're all backward! Aaahahah ahahhA HAHAHAH ahaha!
Kidding - I have no idea about these measurements and what they mean or don't mean about whether your child is a future idiot or will grow up to be a super scientist.
So, these nice neighbors just knocked on the door, just as normal as could be, and then proceeded to gift us the most amazing tool imaginable that I actually had imagined buying about a thousand times but could never rationalize because HELLO when am I going to need to peel, core and slice quite so many apples?
I should just tell you now that this amazing surprise gift was The Apple Machine.
Feel free to stand back to properly absorb its glory.
This is the most amazing and wonderful machine of which I am aware.
I even told Bubba that, had I somehow invented this machine before anyone else in 1864 (thank you, Google), I could immediately die and be happy and satisfied with my life because this thing is a work of pure genius and obviously something for which its inventor will be forever known, Mr David Harvey Goodell. Don't act like you don't have his name tattooed on your ass cheek because I know that you do.
And if you don't think so then I'll thank you to produce one single other invention that is more ingenius, clever, easy to use, easy to clean and so 100% god damned effective. Go ahead, try.
Here, let me save you the trouble - you're wrong. The Apple Machine is better.
I mean, obviously.
Perhaps I was so bowled over by The Apple Machine at this particular moment because as he stood there just handing this magic machine to me as though it was the most mundane thing in the whole wide world and he wasn't even sure we'd want it (WHATEVER GIVE IT!), I had a whole basket of apples just getting ready to up and die on me.
And you know I don't do waste. Noooooooo.
So, obviously, I thanked him profusely and asked on about his own The Apple Machine and the status of their 2009 Apple Crisis (their tree produces apples, on top of which some of their friends door ditched them a bushel of apples. Woe is them) and then he started to look worried, so I let him say his polite goodbyes and escape to the peace and tranquility and Finny-Free-ness of his own house.
Despite this man's utter and total niceness, I'm not sure he quite knows what to do with me and my cocktail tottering ways.
Upon his departure, I made haste to the kitchen - along the way grabbing all the apples I could carry and crying out to my Joy of Cooking book that it better gird its fucking loins because I was about to bake an apple pie for the first time in about five or so years and it was gonna be a good'un.
And, in case you can't tell, I've been rummaging around in my brain thanks to NaNoWriMo and it appears the drama and Crazy spilling out on those pages is now overflowing here. Sorry about that. Don't mind the mess.
Now, there are a few apple pie recipes in Joy, I believe they are distinguished with numbers like I and II and maybe even III, and I think I went with Apple Pie II, but I can't be certain. Basically, this is the recipe and it's unique (to my small world at least) because it calls for pre-cooking the filling rather than tossing up the apple chunks raw and throwing them and the crust in the oven for the first time together as a couple.
Seems sorta trashy doesn't it?
I thought so, so I went for the pre-cooking the filling method, which seemed more decent and restrained. And we all know how decent and restrained I am.
Shut-up, you whores, I am.
The important thing is that I got to prop up my beloved, stained copy of Joy and commence to coring, slicing and peeling of my apple pile in, like, two minutes flat, because the thing is nearly assembled and ready right there in the box.
Bless it - it doesn't even need to be plugged in. Which, obviously, since it was invented before people had two dozen three-pronged outlets in their kitchens. Or electricity in their houses. Or stilettos.
And don't you judge me - I need all of those outlets. For things. Important, electricity sucking things. Like giant food processors.
Whatever, I'm getting off track.
I'd be lying if I said this was the only picture I took of this process.
Basically, within five minutes of mounting this beauty to my countertop (also mercifully quick and effective), I had a bowl full of perfectly sliced, peeled and cored apples ready to pre-cook with some butter, sugar and cinnamon in the approved holy way.
Just look at that and try to tell me it's not amazing. JUST TRY IT, SUCKAH.
This went into the compost. To make my compost amazing.
And this went into the pie to make the pie amazing.
I think you see where this is all headed.
As though I have any fucking clue what approved holy ways really are.
And, to keep these lovers apart for just a skosh more time - to heighten the longing and desire, I can only assume - I was told by Joy to let the hot, sweet filling cool to room temp in a single layer on a sheet before pouring it into the bottom crust.
Yes, I believe I *have* heard of food porn before.
If that's not good old-fashioned proper etiquette, I just don't know what is.
Though, it's surely obvious that I have ZERO idea what proper etiquette might be. But you knew that.
Sadly, though, I didn't pay so much attention to the warning bells going off in my head as I wandered over to the sideboard to cheerfully (and naively) retrieve the apple pie crust cutter gifted to me by a certain awesome mama.
Looks pretty promising, though, doesn't it?
Now, mom, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the cuteness of this particular item, and while the cuteness has not waned for me, its effectiveness does not, how you say, put it up there in the ranks with The Apple Machine given its general ineffectiveness and ability to destroy a perfectly good pie dough.
I mean, it started off innocently enough - I was even so excited to use it that it was the third thing I grabbed after Joy and the apples - but sadly, it's true vision was not to be appreciated as I dutifully turned my perfect dough into a misshapen wad.
NOT TO FEAR, though - because it was salvageable. And some apples did make an appearance on the final product.
Just not in the way I'd originally envisioned.
And after it baked, it looked as cute and chaste as could be. For a whoring apple pie, that is.
Now, sadly, Bubba and I are still at odds over whether to deliver a thick slice of this pie to our Apple-Warming neighbors or wait until I bake another apple-something just especially for them (which could happen soon since the farmshare says we're getting apples again this week).
We probably shouldn't be having this conversation while eating the pie from the dish with one fork and his germs spewing everywhere (he has a cold) because the thought of giving them this germ-soaked masterpiece would probably feel more like a slap in the face than a proper thank you.
So, that seals it, I bake them something anew and won't let Bubba breathe near it.
Done. No repenting necessary.