A positive sign of a family-friendly dish: there's
fruit in the recipe. We can exhale now that we have a reprieve from
the Picky Eater Police. Unlike our kiddie experiences with many
veggies, there's no need to hide, conceal or disguise fruit as
ingredients -- even bright indigo blueberries or fuschia-colored
raspberries -- in some of our favorite meals and
From apple cobblers and turnovers to pumpkin-filled dumplings
and pies, we love cooking and baking with fruit (and, yes, pumpkin
is a fruit). Admittedly, our efforts can be a mixed bag of trial
and error, but the learning curve is actually part of the fun.
Besides, the kids get a kick out of watching a pear, fig or plum
get peeled, diced, stewed, boiled, mashed, puréed and/or preserved
into another item that they like to eat.
They'll eagerly help us sift flour, knead and roll dough, and
laugh at our humbling kitchen mishaps. In turn, we get our own
thrill out of spying on them as they hawk the oven timer,
impatiently waiting for the beeping announcement that their work is
about to be rewarded.
Fruity recipes have a similar effect at the office, transforming
rational adults into giddy, ravenous teenagers. Whenever a
coworker, who's a pâtisserie wizard, brings her lemony cream rolls,
loaves of banana bread or cherry-almond cakes, there's a mad dash
for paper plates and plastic forks. A gleeful summoning cry echoes
down the hall like popped bubble wrap: "Donna baked!"
If only our own kitchen feats could be equally wonderful, rather
than leaving the kiddos just, well, wondering at times. We're
getting there, though, and fruit is taking the lead. Just last week
we sampled the most magnificent fruit bars that had merely a ribbon
of date paste.
Ah, yes, simple, uncomplicated fruit being reinvented as
fillings, layers, compote, sauces and such -- yet another example
of the ordinary becoming extraordinary. No wonder kids and adults
alike will stop abruptly, frozen mid-step, upon smelling a heavenly
fruit dish. When the recipe calls for fruit, in reality, we think
the fruit's calling us.