Yesterday Kyle, Sabrina, Laura and Darren all came over to make mincemeat pie for Thanksgiving from scratch. It was such a lovely night.
There is no meat in most modern mincemeat pies, only dried fruits and spices. And the directions could not be simpler, "Mix all ingredients together." We peeled and chopped apples, zested and squeezed lemons, measured raisins, currants and brandy and threw everything into one giant pot placed in the middle of the table. It was like an old fashioned quilting bee, except it was pie. We stirred frequently and watched Kyle churn out batch after batch of pie crust dough, which he wrapped and stacked in the fridge, a golden tower of flaky promise.
After the larder was full of the various components of pie, Darren discovered the Steam Boat that Turner gave me and Ted for a wedding present.
It is an antique toy replica and it runs on cooking oil. It is a simplified but real steam engine. Basically, there are two tubes, one that sucks in water and one that spits out steam, which propels the boat.
There is a tiny spoon that you fill with cooking oil. Then you add a wick, light it up, position it in the boat, and off it goes. We sailed ours in a cookie tray full of water on the table. It made a small putt-putting gurgling sound which was completely mezmerizing. We turned out the lights for maximum effect. Here it is in action:
The photos are dark and mysterious, like the alchemy of propeling a boat with the very water it travels upon and the alchemy of turning fruit into the deep, rich miracle that is mincemeat pie.