Thursday, October 14, 2010
Toilets and apple tarts
Yesterday afternoon the dripping of the valve behind the toilet finally became serious enough for my husband to tackle it with tools and new parts. We’ve been placing plastic food containers and towels beneath the pipe coming out of the wall to catch the flow and they were no longer a match. Denis can tolerate a good deal of dripping, but when I asked if we needed to set the alarm to empty it during the night, it caused a flurry of twisting and pushing at the spigot. Magically, it quit only to resume in the morning. Denis is very gifted for explaining theology conundrums, mysterious doctrines of faith, you know, that sort of thing, including movie plots and camera angles. So as things go, plumbing problems and mechanical failures are not the happy friends they are to some.
When he called me in to help, he was on his knees, pads on, reaching under the base with a pliers and a wrench. There was a new part in the tank and I was supposed to hold it in place as he bolted it down from the outside. It kept slipping from my grasp and his, too. He was grunting and saying things under his breath a little. I think he was trying to hold the vocab down so that I wouldn’t point out this was character building or he should have read his Bible today. I kept that thought to myself. Good call, right? Instead, I decided right then I’d needed to make the apple tart recipe he’d seen in the latest Food & Wine and thrust in my face last night when we were in bed and I was trying to work a Sudoku. After a good deal of effort it seems like the toilet finally got fixed. Though we can’t be sure. He says we might be sitting on a bomb that will geyser up any second. I was thinking I’ve always wanted a bidet, but I believe it’s aiming the wrong direction. I didn’t mention that either. So we’ll see.
I did go down to the kitchen to use the Honey Golds that have been sitting on the counter for a few days. They turned out to be just right for this recipe. They are sweet, crisp and hold their shape when baked. The crust was supposed to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, but this was a pressing need, so I skipped that part. It took a little longer for me to make than a pie because you need to take the time to arrange the apple slices in concentric circles, and I’m not used to such preciseness. When complete with the edges folding casually over the top it looked quite beautiful. I hoped the result would be good. I kept checking on it, turned the oven down a bit because it looked like it was getting pretty brown on the bottom and I was anxious because there was a lot of liquid in the center from the apple juice, I left it in the oven longer. Gradually it thickened and by the time it came out and set for awhile, it was moist, but not sloppy. The crust was buttery and thick and flaky and crunchy. Denis happily munched his piece and said he’d like it again sometime. But I was the one swooning. I liked it so well that this morning I made a quick trip to the coffee shop to deliver two pieces to our favorite barista. To my dismay there were three people working, but Darcy said, oh, that’s okay, I’ll eat them both myself.