Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rhubarb Pie

            I quite enjoy Eccles Cakes; that flaky English pastry filled with currants and a generous sprinkle of coarse demerara sugar that creates a sweet glazed crust.  I’m not entirely sure but it may be the demerara sugar that is the attraction.  One of my very favourite desserts is rhubarb pie in a short crust pastry with a generous sprinkle of coarse sugar crystal glazing the top.

            I said to Mother, “There is something about the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the sugar that I find quite delectable,” but there are times when I should just leave well enough alone. 

“You have been quite a slice of rhubarb pie yourself lately Alfred,” said Mother, tapping her silver spoon on the side of the Regency sugar bowl and looking at me rather pointedly.

I knew I was in trouble and I instinctively turtled.  Do you know what turtling is?  That is when you are abruptly faced with an unexpected danger and you reflexively try to shrink your neck and your head back into your shirt collar; and at the same time you defensively raise your shoulders.  Well I turtled, and I waited for the blow to fall.

Mother continued, “At one moment you seem all sweetness and light, and the next moment you are calling our Choir Director “Beaver Weaver.”

“But Mother,” said I, “I’m not the only one who is having difficulty with the man.  Why, just the other day our lead Alto, Ima Hatchett, was complaining about how unfair it was that she wasn’t being given better parts to sing.  Not that she is a Soprano; but that shouldn’t make a difference.  And she was quite adamant about the fact that the other ladies in the choir shouldn’t be wearing earrings when they are performing.”

Mother tapped her teaspoon on the sugar bowl once again to secure my undivided attention, “Tell me, Alfred, would it happen to be the lead Soprano’s earrings to which Miss Hatchett is referring?”

“Well, yes, probably,” Mother, I replied somewhat abashed.

Mother sat thinking for a moment and then asked, “Are the earrings gauche, or are they actually in good taste?”

“Well, even though they are diamond, they are not ostentatious,” I replied.  “Perhaps Tiffany Metro; not that I noticed.  I just thought it was a matter of principle.”

“Whose principle?” asked Mother, glaring at me.  “If I were you Alfred I would add another heaping spoonful of sugar to the rhubarb pie, and not fall in with the likes of Ima Hatchett.  Her problem is that she has never been married and obviously our Choir Director William Weaver has never given her a tumble.”

“Mother! said I.  “I am quite shocked at your suggestion.”

Mother looked across the table at me and said with a sly smile, “Take it from me, Alfred, the truth will out.  It has a way of doing that.”

 “For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.   If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:22-23).  

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