My oldest daughter has been collecting a lot of acorns on our walks recently, and has amassed an impressive number. I thought to ask her what she planned on doing with all her many, many acorns, and she told me that she was planning on roasting and eating them.
Oh. Well, of course. Who doesn’t look at an acorn laying on the dirty, dirty ground and think "Hey, those squirrels may be ON to something?". But it turns out that acorns are only vaguely edible and even getting to the point of vague edibility means that you have to hull them and roast them and pulverize them, at which point my daughter lost her enthusiasm for the whole affair, and thank goodness. I like seasonal cooking probably more than the next person, but I balk at hulling acorns.
It’s unseasonably cold right now, which has thrown me into full seasonal baking mode as well as forcing me to dig the winter coats out of the attic. All summer long, I felt only the vaguest interest in cooking at all, and now it’s a constant desire to Bake Things, these things that smell like home when you come in the front door. The same force that makes the squirrel scuttle around and gather up any of the acorns my daughter missed causes me to decide that I really, really need to try making butter tarts again.
I don’t recommend making butter tarts – they’re HARD! Mine turned out all right, but I don’t have the knack of making them, really. One of my friends is BRILLIANT at making them, but she’s also the sort of person who thinks nothing of calmly baking 20 pies in one afternoon AND she works full-time. I’m a little bit in awe of her practical capability, and plan on taking her with me if I ever get shipwrecked on a desert island – she would keep me ALIVE. So should you possess her startling degree of hard-working competency, than you will probably be a butter tart making pro in no time.
The best of the lot, sadly.
The kids loved the butter tarts, even though they were kind of a flop – The Boy headed off to school this morning happily munching on one, waving goodbye to me with a sticky hand. And supper tonight should be fairly foolproof and comforting – shepherd’s pie (with a mashed sweet potato topping!) and apple crisp, the sort of thing to warm a little heart that has spend the day in the sudden autumnal chill, this weather that tells us in no uncertain terms that winter is fast upon our heels.